Talking Green in Europe

Lessons on re-framing the public debate on the climate crisis

Policy Brief

20/06/2022

This policy brief asks how progressive actors can communicate about the climate crisis in a way that resonates with people from different backgrounds. The brief argues that policy proposals for a just transition do not automatically garner public support, but instead must be accompanied by a re-framing of the public discourse. Drawing on the results of three surveys carried out by FEPS and its partner organisations in the UK, Ireland and Hungary in 2021 as part of the Talking Green project, this policy brief argues that an effective and inclusive framing of climate actions needs to fulfil two conditions.

The first condition is that a progressive narrative should emphasise the links between climate change and climate policies, and the lived experiences of people. Linking climate change and climate policies to more immediate concerns like healthcare, housing or energy, and improvements in quality of life more generally, emerges as a promising communication strategy. The second condition is that a progressive narrative must dispel fears that the costs of climate action will be imposed on vulnerable groups. Messages about the ‘just transition’ or ‘green jobs’ are already addressing those concerns. Progressives, however, need to ensure that those messages remain concrete and relatable.

About the Talking Green research project

‘Talking Green’ is a research project that explores perceptions of climate actions across Europe, through surveys in:

It develops an understanding of how the green transition is perceived especially by low- and middle-income people.

The collected data allow progressives to find the most effective ways to talk about climate change and develop participatory and effective policy proposals that address climate change while delivering a just transition that is aligned with people’s concerns.

This project is run by FEPS, in partnership with the Fabian Society, TASC, the Szociális Demokráciáért Intézet and the Progressive Hungary Foundation.

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