United Nations Foundation

Maitland Green began working with the United Nations Foundation (UNF) in 2012 to support its work in the area of climate change.
Challenge

To work alongside the UNF in supporting the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to better communicate the science behind climate change through the release of its Assessment Report 5 (AR5), in four instalments around the world during 2013-14.

Insights

During the release of the IPCC’s previous Assessment Report 4 (AR4), more than 1,000 private emails between climate change scientists were stolen and published online in what became known as “Climategate”. This was particularly damaging as sections of the emails were used by climate change sceptics to claim the planet was not warming and the process had become ‘politicised’, undermining attempts to reach a global climate treaty in Copenhagen in 2009. Science now needed to be at the heart of the UN’s communications strategy to counter these claims.

Strategy

  • Establish a global communications team based out of three regional hubs (London, New York & Sydney), covering over a dozen key geo-political centres to become firmly embedded in the global climate community.
  • Media train an army of over 150 international climate scientists to act as communications ambassadors to the launch of AR5 by putting science at the heart of the debate.
  • Launch the four instalments to AR5 at global press conferences around the world with climate scientists at the forefront.
  • Amplify the messages through creating our own digital resource, climasphere.org, the world’s climate resource, launched by US Secretary of State, John Kerry.

Outcome

Maitland Green was successful in shifting the dial amongst all key audiences following the release of AR5, which generated saturation, and overwhelmingly favourable, coverage in the media whilst marginalising the voice of climate deniers. AR5 provided the scientific underpinning for a new global agreement on climate action at the COP21 conference in Paris in 2015.