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No more summaries for wonks

IPCC assessments present an unparalleled opportunity for climate science to speak directly to power. Re-thinking the summaries written for policymakers would enable scientists to communicate far more effectively with political leaders and the public.

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Figure 1: AR5 saw extensive use of infographics such as this example from the WGII Summary for Policymakers: but did they all live up to Einstein's dictum that “If you can't explain it to a six-year-old, you don't understand it yourself”?



  1. Study Shows Widespread Misconceptions about Energy and Climate Change (ECIU, 2014).

  2. IPCC Summary for Policymakers in Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis (eds Stocker, T. F. et al.) (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2013).

  3. Headline Statements from the Summary for Policymakers (IPCC Working Group I Technical Support Unit, 2013);

  4. IPCC Summary for Policymakers in Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability (eds Field, C. B. et al.) (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2014).

  5. IPCC Summary for Policymakers in Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change (eds Edenhofer, O. et al.) (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2014).

  6. IPCC Summary for Policymakers in Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report (eds Pachauri, R. K., Meyer, L. & Core Writing Team) (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2014).

  7. Working Group 3 (Climate Nexus, 2014);

  8. Climate Change: Implications for Business (CISL, 2014).

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Correspondence to Richard Black.

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Black, R. No more summaries for wonks. Nature Clim Change 5, 282–284 (2015).

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