Engaging Diverse Audiences with Climate Change: Message Strategies for Global Warming's Six Americas

33 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2014

See all articles by Connie Roser-Renouf

Connie Roser-Renouf

George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication

Neil Stenhouse

George Mason University - Center for Climate Change Communication

Justin Rolfe-Redding

George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication

Edward W. Maibach

George Mason University - Center for Climate Change Communication

Anthony Leiserowitz

Yale University

Date Written: March 17, 2014

Abstract

Global climate change – a threat of potentially unprecedented magnitude – is viewed from a variety of perspectives by Americans, with some dismissing the danger, some entirely unaware of its significance, and still others highly concerned and motivated to take action. Understanding the sources of these diverse perspectives is key to effective audience engagement: Messages that ignore the cultural and political underpinnings of people's views on climate change are less likely to succeed.

In this chapter, we describe Global Warming’s Six Americas – six unique audience segments that view and respond to the issue in distinct ways. We describe the beliefs and characteristics of each group and discuss methods of effectively communicating with them in light of: (1) the pro- or counter-attitudinal nature of messages on the issue for each group; (2) their willingness to exert the cognitive effort necessary to process information on the issue; (3) their propensity for counter-arguing, motivated reasoning and message distortion; and (4) the communication content they say they most desire and, hence, would be most likely to process and accept.

Keywords: climate change communication, global warming's Six Americas

Suggested Citation

Roser-Renouf, Connie and Stenhouse, Neil and Rolfe-Redding, Justin and Maibach, Edward W. and Leiserowitz, Anthony, Engaging Diverse Audiences with Climate Change: Message Strategies for Global Warming's Six Americas (March 17, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2410650 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2410650

Connie Roser-Renouf (Contact Author)

George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Neil Stenhouse

George Mason University - Center for Climate Change Communication ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Justin Rolfe-Redding

George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Edward W. Maibach

George Mason University - Center for Climate Change Communication ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Anthony Leiserowitz

Yale University ( email )

New Haven, CT 06520
United States

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