Promoting pro-environmental action in climate change deniers

Bain, Paul G. and Hornsey, Matthew J. and Bongiorno, Renata and Jeffries, Carla (2012) Promoting pro-environmental action in climate change deniers. Nature Climate Change, 2 (8). pp. 600-603. ISSN 1758-678X

Abstract

A sizeable (and growing) proportion of the public in Western democracies deny the existence of anthropogenic climate change. It is commonly assumed that convincing deniers that climate change is real is necessary for them to act pro-environmentally. However, the likelihood of ‘conversion’ using scientific evidence is limited because these attitudes increasingly reflect ideological positions. An alternative approach is to identify outcomes of mitigation efforts that deniers find important. People have strong interests in the welfare of their society, so deniers may act in ways supporting mitigation efforts where they believe these efforts will have positive societal effects. In Study 1, climate change deniers(N=155) intended to act more pro-environmentally where they thought climate change action would create a society where people are more considerate and caring, and where there is greater economic/technological development. Study 2 (N=347) replicated this experimentally, showing that framing climate change action as increasing consideration for others, or improving economic/technological development, led to greater pro-environmental action intentions than a frame emphasizing avoiding the risks of climate change. To motivate deniers’
pro-environmental actions, communication should focus on how mitigation efforts can promote a better society, rather than focusing on the reality of climate change and averting its risks.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Letter published online 17 June 2012 ; Corrected online 04 July 2012 http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v2/n8/full/nclimate1636.html. Published version includes Supplementary material. Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Psychology
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2013 07:33
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2017 00:50
Uncontrolled Keywords: climate change; motivation; change action
Fields of Research : 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170113 Social and Community Psychology
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960311 Social Impacts of Climate Change and Variability
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1532
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/23147

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