Research as Climate Advocacy: Using Scholarship for Social Change

August 19th, 2020

Copy of presentation slides

A joint presentation from the Weathering Change webinar series and the Environmental Advocacy Webinar series

Research on climate change and societal response to the issue may have started in the academy, but it didn’t stop there. Advocates, whether in collaboration with scholars or on their own, have developed an extensive and varied corpus of research on climate impacts, policy responses, and approaches to build public support and political power on climate change. The Climate Advocacy Lab sits at the nexus of the climate research and advocacy, guiding conversations between sectors and equipping advocates with evidence from scholars – and other practitioners – in order to work more effectively. In this talk, Jack will discuss the value of research in guiding climate advocacy and opportunities for scholars to plug into the wider climate movement.

The first rule of effective communication is to know your audience. The more you know about your audience, the better you can understand their needs, speak to their values, and help them understand the benefits of certain policies or actions.  The Yale Program on Climate Change Communication studies the causes and consequences of public opinion and behavior, and helps governments, media, companies, and advocates communicate more effectively.  In this presentation, Eric will provide an overview of their research on public opinion of climate change and on strategies for effective communication about the issue.


Jack Zhou produces and manages the Climate Advocacy Lab’s social science-informed resources for their webinars, workshops, and other outreach. His research interests include motivated reasoning, framing effects, and political polarization. In other words, how people think about climate change, how they process information on the issue, and what gets in the way. Prior to joining the Lab, he worked as a postdoctoral associate in energy policy and survey methods. He received his B.S. from UC Berkeley and a Ph.D. from Duke University.


As the YPCCC’s Project Manager, Eric Fine supports advocacy organizations to optimize and innovate on their campaigns by leveraging public opinion research and data tools. He also collaborates with groups who are studying public perception in Latin America. Prior to YPCCC, Eric was an outdoor educator taking people on expeditions throughout the Americas and Europe. Watching glaciers recede in Patagonia over ten years inspired him to pursue a Masters of Environmental Science at Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

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