BOLD STATEMENTS in environmental and climate science communication
Abstract. Environmental and climate science communication often results in the production of appealing but, at times, inaccurate statements, i.e. "bold statements". Such statements are common in the media, however, in-cases, are used by scientists alike. We discuss the concept of such statements seeking to identify their origin and purpose, as well as the benefits and threats of such communication methods. By bringing bold statements in context to the paradigm of climate science communication we argue that their use is enforced by the urgent nature of climate change and that bold statements have been proven useful in raising public awareness and mobilizing the public toward positive climate action, as well as in accelerating law-/policy-making processes that follow scientific conclusions. On the other hand, we demonstrate three example cases of bold narratives in climate and environmental science communication, i.e. 1) An upcoming cooling of Europe due to the gulf stream collapsing, 2) a new island made out of garbage in the Pacific Ocean, and 3) an upcoming "apocalypse'' due to bee extinction. Through those cases, we bring up concerns that using bold statements and sacrificing scientific accuracy in the shrine of public mobilization may backfire, as the use of bold statements encompasses risks by spreading misinformation, and can lead the public to confusion and inappropriate action.
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