Drawing Attention to Global Climate Change Decreases Support for War
Pyszczynski, T., Motyl, M., Vail, K. E., Hirschberger, G., Arndt, J., & Kesebir, P. (2012). Drawing attention to global climate change decreases support for war. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology
15 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2012
Date Written: October 1, 2012
Three studies showed that focus on the shared human threat of global climate change can encourage peaceful coexistence and discourage support for war in the face of existential threat. In Study 1, mortality salience (MS) increased Americans’ support for international peace-building after imagining the consequences of global climate change, but not after imagining a localized catastrophe. Conversely, in Study 2, MS increased Americans’ support for war against Iran after imagining a localized catastrophe, but imagining global climate change completely eliminated this effect. Study 3 was conducted among Arab citizens of Israel during the January 2009 Israeli invasion of Gaza. For those high in perceptions of shared humanity, MS increased support for peaceful coexistence with Israeli Jews after imagining global climate change but not a localized catastrophe that would affect both Muslims and Jews. Taken together, these studies suggest that reminders of global climate change short-circuit the increased support for violence that often occurs in response to existential threat and increase support for peaceful reconciliation.
Keywords: global climate change, terror management theory, existential anxiety, peace psychology, intergroup conflict, intergroup violence
JEL Classification: D74, H56
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation