The Guardian

Which works better: climate fear, or climate hope? Well, it's complicated

Communication is everything when it comes to the climate change debate – and there isn’t just one way to speak to people’s emotions
The Perito Moreno glacier in Los Glaciares national park, southern Argentina, breaks. ‘It seems the hope and fear camps of the climate debate are each seeing only part of the puzzle.’ Photograph: Ariel Molina/EPA

There’s a debate in climate circles about whether you should try to scare the living daylights out of people, or give them hope – think images of starving polar bears on melting ice caps on the one hand, and happy families on their bikes lined with flowers and solar-powered lights on the other.

The debate came to something of a head this year, after David Wallace-Wells lit up the internet with his 7,000-word, published in New York magazine. It went viral almost instantly, and soon was the best-read. But it also criticism and from more than the usual denier set.

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