Making climate information services accessible to communities: What can we learn from environmental risk communication research?

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This paper evaluates the role of socio-cultural issues in developing climate information services that are accessible and engaging to urban communities. Two public-facing city-level climate information provision initiatives in Japan are evaluated in light of theory in environmental risk communication. The first case is Fukuoka City, Kyushu, in particular increased flood and heat risk. The second case is Tomakomai City, Hokkaido, particularly municipal data provision on potential localised climate risks related to marine environmental change. Evaluation is undertaken through in-depth interviews with local-level actors (policymakers, scientists, NGOs, citizens), and field observation in each location. The paper argues that at a stage where principles and best practices on climate information service provision are still emerging, it is crucial to avoid assumptions about what communities will want to know about climate risks. The paper hence proposes principles for more appropriate climate risk communication. These include (a) identifying which institutions citizens look to for information on local weather and climate; (b) acknowledging that publics can, in appropriate contexts, be able and willing to engage with complex information on urban climate risk; and (c) considering how data-driven information services fit with the more informal ways in which people can experience environmental change.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100537
JournalUrban Climate
Early online date4 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2020



  • Climate information services
  • Japan
  • Risk communication
  • Risk governance
  • Social dimensions of climate change
  • Urban climate change

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