Is it worth trying to “reframe” climate change? Probably not.

| March 17, 2017 | Leave a Comment

Item Link: Read Article

Media Type: News / Op - Ed

Date of Publication: February 27, 2017

Year of Publication: 2017

Publisher: Vox Media

Author(s): David Roberts

Categories: , , ,

Spurring technological innovation. Reducing local air pollution. Improving national security. Meeting a religious or moral imperative.

Climate scientists, campaigners, and policymakers have ventured to “frame” climate change mitigation in varied ways. But does “reframing” actually work to get people’s attention and incite public passion?

David Roberts reports on a letter to Nature Climate Change written by researchers Thomas Bernauer and Liam F. McGrath in 2016. Both authors are political scientists at Switzerland’s Center for Comparative International studies. They performed an experimental study to see how participants reacted to texts that framed climate change mitigation in four different ways: climate risk reduction, economic co-benefits, community building, and health benefits. “The researchers found that different framings had no consistent or statistically significant effects on subjects’ willingness to support climate action.”

The evidence suggests that “the frames that reach people and actually make a difference are a) resonant with their existing dispositions and affiliations, b) delivered by a trusted source, and c) repeated often enough to penetrate the pervasive information buzz.” What does that mean for the community trying to promote public interest in climate change action? Bernauer and McGrath suggest, “‘policymakers should keep a strong focus on climate risk reduction as the dominant justification.'”

Read David Roberts’s full article here via Vox.com, and find the letter from Bernauer and McGrath via Nature.com.

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