That keystone section in the carefully parsed language in last week’s Paris landmark climate change accord leads to this assertion:
The historic Paris accord presents an epic opportunity for nations and the private sector implementing the accord to apply this central sociological discipline: Policy/action/two-way communication is the essence of successful public relations (literally, “relations with the public”).
The Paris statement on transparency reads:
“In order to build mutual trust and confidence and to promote effective implementation, an enhanced transparency framework for action and support, with built-in flexibility which takes into account Parties’ different capacities and builds upon collective experience is established.”
That commitment, with the many other seminal agreements in the accord, is critical on three levels: The trust for effective implementation that will come from monitoring, verifying and reporting; the sharing of creative methods to reduce emissions; and the vital need for long term public support in countries around the world.
At the governance level, each signatory nation will have to address this agenda in its “public relations, writ large” communications. They must be steadfast in addressing this “fundamental change in the geopolitics of climate change”.
In the private sector, companies and investors must act on “a signal to industry to go green in an era of carbon reduction“. Of course, many have already manifested this commitment www.c4cbusinessforum.org . Such commitments for business action — and communication — can be seen as derivative of Arthur Page Society’s “The Authentic Enterprise” 2007 (sic) study “to examine the evolving role of the senior communication executive in 21st century business”.
It is not hyperbolic to say that the nations of the world have genuinely pledged to address the existential challenge of climate change. However, it is also not an exaggeration to acknowledge that so universal a commitment bares within it the challenges — dangers — of prospective lack of faith, inadequate resources and diversion by other macro needs and failings.
A global dialogue on implementation has begun. At many levels of society, public relations experts have a rare opportunity — and obligation — to participate in that discourse.