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Communicating Climate Jargons

 

One of the most common problems we encounter on writing about climate change is that some writers tend to drown in technical words and numbers — which no one understands. Your job is not just to present these as they are, but to translate them in such a way that people would understand them and be interested in them. How do you do that?

 

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Explain/Translate jargons

“Annex I countries”, “Ocean acidification”, and “Loss and Damage” are only some of the jargons you would encounter and write about. But would anyone without the knowledge of climate change and the UNFCCC negotiations actually understand them?

What you need to do is to simplify them. If you have an acronym, spell it out. Always ask yourself, “Will a fifth grader understand what I wrote?”

Remember your 2 C’s: Be Clear and Concise.

 

EXAMPLES

Sentence with jargons:

During the negotiations, LMDC countries insisted on differentiation.

Simplified sentence:

During the climate negotiations the Like Minded Developing Countries (LMDC), a group of developing countries that negotiate as a block inside the United Nations, insisted that developed countries should have more responsibilities than developing countries.

 

Sentence with jargons:

According to research, there is no doubt that what we are experiencing now is anthropogenic climate change.

Simplified sentence:

According to research, there is no doubt that what we are experiencing now is climate change caused by human activity.

 

Here is a list of resources you can use on how to define or explain climate change jargons:

WWF’s Jargon Buster and Acronym decoder: http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/aboutcc/how_cc_works/climate_jargon_acronyms/

Scientific American’s How to Speak Like A Climate Change Negotiator:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-to-speak-like-a-climate-change-negotiator/

BBC’s Climate Change glossary:

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-11833685

Grist’s How to Read the jargon at the Paris Climate Change talks:

http://grist.org/climate-energy/how-to-read-the-jargon-at-the-paris-climate-change-talks/

 

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You can download the PDF format of the toolkit here.

About Renee Juliene Karunungan

Renee, from the Philippines, is currently Climate Tracker's Outreach Manager. She was a Climate Tracker fellow and was named by The Guardian as one of the "Young Climate Campaigners to Watch Before the UN Paris Summit" in 2015.