Matthew Hibberd (University of Stirling and CMCS-LUISS) gave the opening keynote speech to the annual conference of the Public Relations Council of India in Delhi last Saturday 3rd April. The conference was titled Emerging Avenues in Specialised Communication. The address examined the challenges for climate change communications post Copenhagen and will tackle the thorny issue of public scepticism to climate change following Copenhagen and the so-called Climategate Affair. The speech argued that current UK media and public focus on three enquiries examining the University of East Anglia leaked emails (the Russell Review, the Oxburgh Review and this week’s publication of the Parliamentary Select Committee report in to Climategate) demonstrate an overly defensive and negative attitude to climate change at this present time. This is mirrored in public attitude surveys that have seen a rise in public scepticism in the past few months. Echoing eminent physicist Sir John Houghton’s recent comments, Matthew Hibberd argued that we are currently seeing climate scepticism arguments winning the PR battle and what is required by government and others is much more focus on work to bring about public behavioural changes to cut carbon emissions but also, and following publication of another parliamentary report published this week, to help prepare the UK public to adapt to climate change. The speech draws upon our ongoing research into climate change communications funded by UKIERI.
The PRCI conference brings together many of Indian’s leading business and government communication experts for talk and debate affecting India’s growing communication and media industries. The chief guest at this year’s conference was the former Union Minister and Governor of Tamil Nadu and Assam, Shri Dr Bisham Narain Singh with whom Matthew awarded prizes at the 2010 Chanakya Awards. The Department of Film, Media and Journalism were 2009 winners of the Best Business Communication School (International) when some 300 people attended the conference.
Congratulazioni al Prof. Hibberd!