Assessing the accessibility of information about the climate crisis. A comparative analysis
Green digital accessibility
Access to clear and scientifically verified information is crucial to understand the scale of the challenge of the climate crisis. Individuals and key decision makers need information that is accessible and easy to understand in order to make informed decisions and change their behaviours to minimise damage to the environment. In 2022, Google announced its collaboration with the United Nations to provide scientifically verified and easy to understand information panels and visuals on the causes and effects of climate change (UN 2022). While their use of Plain Language, a language variation that falls under the umbrella term of Easy to Understand, makes the information accessible to the general non-expert reader, people with cognitive, intellectual disabilities or reading difficulties might still have difficulty parsing through the meaning of these panels and visuals. Taking this as our starting point, in this paper we will assess the main access barriers to information about the climate crisis using the examples of London's Environment Strategy Executive Report in Easy Language (2018), the Northern Ireland Discussion Document on Northern Ireland Climate Change Bill (2020) and the Easy News´section on climate change from the website United Response (2021). We will analyse the communication strategies and language style used in each of these different examples. Finally, we will conclude this paper by offering recommendations on how to create material on the climate crisis in Easy Language.