A comparison of government communication of climate change in Hong Kong and United Kingdom

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As leaders of civil society, governments have a prime responsibility to communicate climate change information in order to motivate their citizens to mitigate and adapt. This study compares the approaches of the United Kingdom (UK) and Hong Kong (HK) governments. Although different in size and population, the UK and HK have similar climate change agendas to communicate to similarly educated and prosperous populations. The study finds that whilst both governments use similar means: policy, education, campaigns, internet and social media, these have different characteristics, with different emphases in their climate change message. The UK’s top-down approach is more prominent in its legally binding policy and well-defined programmes for adaptation and risk assessment. HK has more effectively embedded climate change education across the school curricula, and has a more centralized and consistently branded campaign, with widespread use of visual language to connect the public to the problem. HK frames climate change as a science-society problem, and has a greater focus on self-responsibility and bottom-up behavioral change. Thus, the UK and HK governments have polarized approaches to motivating their citizens into climate action. Moving forwards, both governments should consider best practice elements of the other to develop their communication of climate change.


Original languageEnglish
JournalWeather, Climate, and Society
Early online date4 Mar 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Mar 2021