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How We Decide to Get Serious about Climate Solutions: Politics, Communication, and Framing

September 25, 2020 @ 10:00 am - 1:15 pm

Climate change has evolved into a hot-button, politically charged issue whether you are on the right or left. Communicating messages across audiences is challenging not only because the threat has been politicized but because climate change is often not seen as the emergency it is.

Join the Climate Adaptation Forum and our panel of national leaders to explore climate change communication and framing efforts across the political spectrum. Our panel will answer today’s most pressing questions: How is climate change internalized by different audiences? How have the panelists succeeded in communicating messages across audiences? Does it matter whether climate is framed as a greenhouse gas emissions problem or an adaptation/resilience problem? How does the framing of climate change intersect with structural racism?

Renowned climate change journalists, communication experts, and behavioral analysts will address why more people won’t respond to the threats of climate change with urgency. Are there easy ways to implement knock-out strategic messaging and remove obstacles to ambitious action? Do most people respond to messages of danger, opportunity, injustice, or something else?

This is a can’t-miss virtual event!

View the Final Agenda


Forum Co-Chairs

David W. Cash,
Ph.D., Founding Forum Steering Committee Member
Dean, John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies
University of Massachusetts Boston
Curriculum Vitae | LinkedIn


Sarah Finnie Robinson
Founding Director, The 51 Percent Project
Senior Fellow, Institute for Sustainable Energy
Adjunct Clinical Professor, College of Communication
Boston University
Biography | LinkedIn

Kathryn Meng Elmes
, Ph.D.
Carbon Strategic Partnerships
Indigo Agriculture


Alex Papali
, Forum Steering Committee Member
Political Director
Center for Economic Democracy


Speaker Agenda

Release of the Sustainable Solutions Lab Report – Views that Matter: Race and Opinions on Climate Change of Boston Area Residents

Click to View the PowerPoint Presentation – Views that Matter Race and Opinions on Climate Change of Boston Area Residents

Lorena M. Estrada-Martinez, Ph.D., MPH
Assistant Professor of Environment and Public Health
School for the Environment
University of Massachusetts Boston



Paul Watanabe, Ph.D.
Professor of Political Science
Director of the Institute for Asian American Studies
University of Massachusetts Boston


Climate Across the Spectrum: Bare-Knuckle Politics in the Field


Moderator: Mary Skelton Roberts
Co-Director of Climate
Barr Foundation


Jacqueline Patterson
NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program


Benji Backer
President and Founder
American Conservation Coalition



Randy Abreu
Policy Director
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY)


Psychology, Semantics, and Strategy: Accelerating Response to Climate Change


Moderator: Sarah Finnie Robinson, Director, “The 51 Percent Project”, Institute for Sustainable Energy, Senior Fellow and Adjunct Clinical Professor, College of Communication, Boston University


Elke Weber, Ph.D.
Gerhard R. Andlinger Professor in Energy and the Environment
Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs
Princeton University

Click to View the PowerPoint Presentation – Weber – 9-25-20


Justin Worland
Washington D.C.-based correspondent for TIME
covering energy and the environment

Click to View the PowerPoint Presentation – Worland – 9-25-20

John Marshall
Senior Client Advisor


September 25, 2020
10:00 am - 1:15 pm


Virtual Event


Climate Adaptation Forum