A sizeable (and growing) proportion of the public in Western democracies deny the existence of anthropogenic climate change12. It is commonly assumed that convincing deniers that climate change is real is necessary for them to act pro-environmentally34. However, the likelihood of ‘conversion’ using scientific evidence is limited because these attitudes increasingly reflect ideological positions56. 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.


09/25/2012 2:58pm

This is an article that is deserving of publicity. I only wish they mentioned specific examples of how the environmentally conscious activities lead to more harmony and better economics. I have some ideas, but their thoughts would have been great to read. I was just at the GreenGov conference and one of the keynote speakers was Dan Kreeger, Executive Director of the Association for Climate Change Officers. His speech was right along the lines of this article. He gave a convincing argument for environmental awareness, none of which had to do with the environment. Jobs, economic security and lowering costs were main points. I really like this attitude: "this is what environmentally conscious actions can do for you."


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