Promoting pro-environmental action in climate change deniers

Paul G. Bain, Matthew J. Hornsey, Renata Bongiorno, Carla Jeffries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

178 Citations (Scopus)

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 ĝ€conversionĝ 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 deniersĝ 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)600-603
Number of pages4
JournalNature Climate Change
Volume2
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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