How to talk about climate change in a way that makes a difference | Foresight Dialogues

April 12, 2023 12 pm CEST | 8 pm AEST

How to talk about climate change in a way that makes a difference

Rebecca Huntley, writer and director of research at 98DegreesEast

Alessandra Mazzai, communication officer at CMCC

Climate change is no longer a topic just for scientists. As citizens’ awareness keeps raising, the biggest challenge is now to make it become action, and rapidly. How do people feel, think and act when it comes to climate change? How can communication be tailored to motivate action? 

Rebecca Huntley, one of Australia’s foremost researchers on social trends, will shed light on current available knowledge on climate change communication, drawing on disciplines such as sociology, psychology, evolutionary psychology and social trend research. She will show examples from the case of Australia, including the analysis of how the broad climate movement, using The Climate Compass audience segmentation, helped create the conditions for the 2022 Climate Election by focusing on messages capable of leveraging a more urgent climate action.

“How to talk about climate change in a way that makes a difference” is the first in a series of online events labelled Foresight Dialogues in which writers, artists, journalists, scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs discuss the role of communication, in its various forms, in accelerating the climate transition. The Foresight Dialogues series is organised in the context of the CMCC Climate Change Communication Award “Rebecca Ballestra” initiative.



Dr Rebecca Huntley is one of Australia’s foremost researchers on social trends.  She holds degrees in law and film studies and a PhD in Gender Studies.  She has led research at Essential Media and Vox Populi and was a director at Ipsos Australia. For a number of years, she ran her own research and consultancy firm working closely with climate and environment NGOs, government and business on climate change strategy and communication. She is now Director of Research at the agency 89DegreesEast. Author of numerous books including How to Talk About Climate Change in a Way that Makes a Difference (Murdoch books, 2020), Rebecca was also a broadcaster with the ABC’s RN and presented The History Listen and Drive on a Friday. She writes regularly for The Monthly and Australian Traveller Magazine and has written op eds for The Guardian and The SMH. She is the Chair of the Advisory Board of Australian Parents for Climate Action. She is a member of the Advisory Group for the Climate Solutions Centre at the Australian Museum and the Sydney Environment Institute. She has held board positions on the board of The Bell Shakespeare Company, The Whitlam Institute and The Dusseldorp Forum. She was an adjunct senior lecturer at the School of Social Sciences at The University of New South Wales. She is a registered Commonwealth marriage celebrant. She is the mother of three girls and lives in Sydney.


Alessandra Mazzai is a communication officer at the CMCC Foundation – Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change, where she writes for the digital magazine Climate Foresight and carries on climate science communication and outreach activities. She coordinates the CMCC Climate Change Communication Award “Rebecca Ballestra”. She has experience in coordinating communication activities for EU H2020 projects and in events/webinars management. From 2012 to 2017, she was responsible for communication and external relations at the International Center for Climate Governance (ICCG) and project manager at the CMCC Foundation. Previously, she worked at the Fund-Raising Office of Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM). She coauthored the books “Il clima che cambia. Non solo un problema ambientale” (Il Mulino, 2015) and “Gli impatti dei cambiamenti climatici in Italia. Fotografie dal presente per capire il futuro” (Edizioni Ca’Foscari, 2017). She has a Master in Environmental and Energy Economics and Management (MEMAE, 2009) from Bocconi University and a Master’s Degree in Communication Strategies from the University of Padua (2013).