Highlights from recent research on the science of climate change communication:
A growing number of Americans believe the climate is changing (Borick, Rabe, & Mills, 2015).
- Conservative republicans like clean energy. They especially like solar panels, because solar panels allow homeowners to disconnect from a central power grid (Echelon Insights, 2015).
When communities feel they control their own destiny, they are are more likely to take steps to prepare for climate change. Advocates should craft public education campaigns that reinforce this feeling (Thaker, Maibach, Leiserowitz, Zhao, & Howe, 2015).
Data from 24 countries show that speaking about the secondary benefits of dealing with climate change (e.g. the potential for scientific and economic advancement) can, in some cases, move people to action just as effectively as persuading them that climate change poses a threat (Bain et al., 2015).
Explaining how frames operate cane reduce their ability to shape opinions (Baumer, Polletta, Pierski, & Gay, 2015). (Consider the terms "American oil" and "dirty energy." These are two different ways to frame oil. Each brings different associations to mind.)
Consumers care just as much about the environmental impact of their energy use as they do about the cost of their energy. This holds true regardless of income (DeCicco, Yan, Keusch, Muñoz, & Neidert, 2015).
Climate scientists could project a range of impacts at a fixed point in time (e.g. "The sea will rise three to five feet by 2050.") They could also project a specific impact at an uncertain time (e.g. "The sea will rise by three feet between 2030 and 2050.") It's better to do the latter. People will feel more concerned and will be more likely to support climate action (Ballard & Lewandowsky, 2015).
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