Wikipedia:WikiProject Climate change/Style guide

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This page is a style guide for content related to Climate Change, developed by the editors of Wikipedia:WikiProject Climate change. These are recommendations, to help develop greater consistency across climate related content. If you would like to contribute to the style guide or want to ask a question, consider communicating on the WikiProject talk page

Writing about climate change[edit]


We recommend talking about climate change in the general structure of climate change knowledge outlined by the IPCC reports:

This "Outline for articles" proposed below follows the IPCC suggestion of treating causes, impacts, then mitigation.


Communications experts have developed a number of guidelines for effective climate communication tactics (tactics which reach the broadest number of people, and help them identify ways to participate in climate action). Generally, these guidelines recommend that climate communicators (that includes Wikipedia editors), focus on doing several things (check out this article for further reading):

  • Being clear about the science, and using scientific evidence when talking about the causes and effects of climate change. Try to focus on communicating this information with clear, factual information, language that demystifies scientific concepts for a general audience, and clear attribution of opinions or interpretations.
  • Focusing on connecting climate change with people's lives and local contexts -- though the core articles describe by the WikiProject as Top importance are important for representing the scientific consensus on the issues, its also really important to write climate change into other aspects of peoples lives from improving the Category:Climate change by country and region articles, to the actual articles about the locations, to highlighting climate change in other parts of their lives.
  • Connecting with emotionally compelling and timely information-- such as breaking news, direct impacts on humans of climate change, talking about the individual activists, politicians or scientists involved in addressing climate change, etc.
  • Focusing on solutions -- climate change communications studies has found that a lot of individuals resist addressing climate change because of a number of both cognitive and social barriers. Solution oriented communication helps overcome those barriers, by helping individuals understand the possibilities for climate mitigation and climate adaptation. Identifying how others are taking action to address the issues, recommendations by scientists for addressing the challenges, or policy made by governments can help individuals connect what they are reading with actions that others are taking.

If you are looking for tactics for contributing to Wikipedia that both follow Wikipedia's commitment to Verifiability and Neutral Point of View we recommend checking out our recommended task for editing about climate change.

Using excerpts[edit]

Many of the articles related to Climate Change are interconnected subtopics that are often highlighted in multiple parts of Wikipedia. Consider using the template {{Excerpt}} to reduce the redundancy of updating information in these multiple locations. {{Excerpt}} transcludes the lead section or any section of choosing on another article -- thus if that section is updated in the original article, it will be automatically updated in the article that it used in. Please only excerpt sections or leads, not individual paragraphs. For some examples, see the tracking category: Category:Articles with excerpts. Excerpts can also get broken, check if any of our articles are in this category of broken excerpts: Category:Articles_with_broken_excerpts

A presentation about the pros and cons of using excerpts was given by User:Sophivorus at Wikimania 2021 and is available here. You can also ask questions about them or suggest improvements to the script here.

Let's say you want to transcribe the first three paragraphs of the lead of ocean acidification, but not the lead's image, to a section on "ocean acidification" within Effects of climate change on oceans. Then all you have to do is to put at the right place within the article Effects of climate change on oceans this command while using source editor: {{excerpt|Ocean acidification|paragraphs=1-3|file=no}}

For further explanations on how to use excerpts, see here: {{Excerpt}}. For example, you can include just a particular paragraph of the lead (or for example the first two paragraphs; use the command "paragraphs=1,2"). You can also make the excerpt more visible with using the command "indicator=yes", although some authors find it draws too much attention to it.

Note that leads don't always contain sources, and may repeat information in the target article. The excerpt function is not recommended to be included in articles that have been rated as FA (featured article) or GA (good article), because people watchlisting these articles will not get notified when something is changed in the article from where the excerpt is taken. Those people tend to feel responsible for keeping the quality of FA and GA articles high and therefore might be opposed to using excerpts for that reason.

Outline for articles about specific countries or geographies[edit]

A proposed outline for articles on climate change in specific geographies, including countries or sub-national states is shown below (for example articles in Category:Climate change in the United States by state, Category:Climate change by country). Use only those subheadings where you have relevant information. Ideally, complete articles will eventually offer information on all subheadings.

"Short description" line[edit]

Do include the Wikipedia "short description" line at the top of the article page. The short description of a Wikipedia article is a concise explanation of the scope of the page (see WP:SHORTDES for more details). This can be done in source editor by adding this template (for the example of Kenya):

{{Short description|Emissions, impacts and responses of Kenya related to climate change}}


  • This should be about 4 paragraphs long and be a good summary of the entire article, using information from each of the following Headings. See also WP:Lead for more information about leads.

Greenhouse gas emissions[edit]

  • Consider creating a sub-article on "Greenhouse gas emissions by XX" if you are finding that this section is getting too big for this overview article. See Category:Greenhouse_gas_emissions_by_country to know which countries already have those sub-articles.

Energy consumption[edit]


Fossil fuel production[edit]

  • Include here also exports

Industrial emissions[edit]


  • Might include here other land use changes; might also add further categories or "other".

Impacts on the natural environment[edit]

Temperature and weather changes[edit]

  • Add information on observed and predicted temperatures; Extreme weather events such as bushfires, heat waves, droughts

Sea level rise[edit]

  • Only applicable if the country has a coast line

Water resources[edit]


  • Coastal (esp. Mangroves, seagrasses, etc)
  • Mountains
  • Forests
  • (Add others if relevant)


  • Plant life
  • Animal life
  • Fungi & others

Impacts on people[edit]

Economic impacts[edit]

  • Agriculture and food production
  • Fisheries
  • Tourism
  • Infrastructure
  • (Add others if relevant)

Health impacts[edit]

  • You may included here health impacts from Heat waves, different disease transmission, air pollution/smog (if the latter is related to climate change)

Impacts on housing (if relevant)[edit]

  • You might include here impacts on type of housing in cities and rural environments, required changes to type of housing

Impacts on migration (if relevant)[edit]

  • You might include here how climate change might have impacted migration of people

Impacts on indigenous peoples (if relevant)[edit]

Impacts on disadvantaged groups (if relevant)[edit]

  • Information on how climate change affects disadvantaged groups (e.g. women, elderly, youth, migrants, people with disabilities) could be added here.


  • Check if the country already has a separate article on "Greenhouse gas emissions by XX". If so, then link to that article or use the excerpt function. Leave an overview on mitigation policies here and point the reader to the other article for more details. See Category:Greenhouse_gas_emissions_by_country. Consider creating a sub-article on "Greenhouse gas emissions by XX" if you are finding that this section is getting too big for this overview article.

Mitigation approaches[edit]

  • Not needed or keep it brief if this information is included in the sub-article "Greenhouse gas emissions by XX"

Policies and legislation to achieve mitigation[edit]

  • Not needed or keep it brief if this information is included in the sub-article "Greenhouse gas emissions by XX"
  • Should include the country's Nationally Determined Contribution


Adaptation approaches[edit]

Policies and legislation to achieve adaptation[edit]

Mitigation and adaptation (alternative option to keep it together)[edit]

  • You might also choose to treat "mitigation and adaptation" together in one section instead of two separate sections.
  • Include here legislation, local ordinances, policies, international participation/Regional networks, alliances / groups, participation in treaty bodies


Policies and legislation[edit]

International cooperation[edit]

  • This section might be relevant for developing countries if there are receiving funds for climate change adaptation projects for example.

Society and culture[edit]


  • You may include public responses such as: citizen action, NGO initiatives, Protests /grassroots, public opinion surveys, lawsuits

Private sector efforts[edit]

  • You may include private sector efforts, for example information on Green jobs, sustainable energy industry, technical innovation/Research, investment


Arts and media[edit]

Historical aspects (optional)[edit]

Statistics (optional)[edit]

  • If there are large tables that have not yet been moved to a sub-article, they could go here. See example of Climate change in Canada of what might go into this section.

Climate change by state, region or territory (optional)[edit]

See also[edit]

  • Include "Energy in..." and "Environment in..." articles if they exist


  • Make sure to include National climate change assessments or plans as references if they exist

External links (optional)[edit]