The UK Climate Change Programme and communication with local authorities

The UK Climate Change Programme and communication with local authorities Drawing on results of a 2003 survey of environmental officers in every Local Authority (LA) in England and Wales, this paper assesses the reception and response of local government to the information being provided through the UK Climate Change Programme. Over three quarters of respondents ( n = 184 ) felt they did not have access to the best information about the impacts of climate change on their areas. Although up-to-date information is freely available from a number of official Government sources, those official sources are not consulted as consistently as the media or as intensively as the internet, despite being consistently regarded as much more accurate, credible, and appropriate to LA needs. We interpret this apparent contradiction between LA officer confidence in official sources and their relatively infrequent use as a consequence, first, of technical–cognitive and practical–temporal difficulties accessing and understanding official sources of climate change information and, second, of concerns about the practical relevance of that information for the administrative functions of local government and thus for any meaningful response by LAs to climate change. Our survey recorded considerable levels of stress, cynicism, and futility among LA officials that not only complicate communication efforts but also call into question the central assumption of the UK Climate Change Programme that simply making more locally specific information about climate change impacts available will motivate appropriate action. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Global Environmental Change Elsevier

The UK Climate Change Programme and communication with local authorities

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Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 Elsevier Ltd
ISSN
0959-3780
DOI
10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2004.06.003
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Drawing on results of a 2003 survey of environmental officers in every Local Authority (LA) in England and Wales, this paper assesses the reception and response of local government to the information being provided through the UK Climate Change Programme. Over three quarters of respondents ( n = 184 ) felt they did not have access to the best information about the impacts of climate change on their areas. Although up-to-date information is freely available from a number of official Government sources, those official sources are not consulted as consistently as the media or as intensively as the internet, despite being consistently regarded as much more accurate, credible, and appropriate to LA needs. We interpret this apparent contradiction between LA officer confidence in official sources and their relatively infrequent use as a consequence, first, of technical–cognitive and practical–temporal difficulties accessing and understanding official sources of climate change information and, second, of concerns about the practical relevance of that information for the administrative functions of local government and thus for any meaningful response by LAs to climate change. Our survey recorded considerable levels of stress, cynicism, and futility among LA officials that not only complicate communication efforts but also call into question the central assumption of the UK Climate Change Programme that simply making more locally specific information about climate change impacts available will motivate appropriate action.

Journal

Global Environmental ChangeElsevier

Published: Dec 1, 2004

References

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