Towards a New Model for Communicating Climate Change
In S. Cohen, J. Higham, P. Peeters and S. Gössling (eds.), Understanding and Governing Sustainable Tourism Mobility: Psychological and Behavioural Approaches (pp. 243-275), Routledge: Taylor and Francis Group, 2014
58 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2013 Last revised: 11 Feb 2014
Date Written: 2014
While nearly 20 years of public communication about climate change has undoubtedly raised international awareness and concern, large-scale behavioural change has not followed. The aim of the current paper is therefore twofold, namely; (a) to provide an extensive review of the theoretical and empirical evidence on which past and current climate change campaigns are based and (b) to advance a new communication model. With regard to the former, it is argued that the evolution of public climate change campaigns can be delineated according to the following typology; (1) 'the cognitive-analytical type', (2) the 'affective-experiential type' and (3) 'the social-normative type.' In addition, three major explanations are offered for the relative ineffectiveness of past campaigns: (a) while human behaviour is often the result of complexly integrated behavioural processes, most public climate change campaigns ought to be, but are unfortunately not, designed in an integrative manner, (b) public campaigns do not pay sufficient attention to the psychological determinants of the behaviours that they are trying to change and (c) often fail to make the climate change context explicit. Based on these shortcomings, an integrated conceptual framework is advanced to guide the design of future public interventions and to help narrow the gap between communicating climate change and changing individual behaviour.
Keywords: Climate Change Communication, Behavioural Change, Persuasive Communication
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