Simple Re-framing Unlikely to Boost Public Support for Climate Policy

Nature Climate Change, 2016, DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE2948

Posted: 4 Dec 2017 Last revised: 11 Dec 2017

Date Written: March 7, 2016

Abstract

Ambitious policies for limiting climate change require strong public support. However, the public’s appetite for such policies, as observed in most countries, is rather limited. One possibility for enhancing public support could be to shift the main justification in the public policy discourse on greenhouse gas mitigation from benefits of reducing climate change risks (the conventional justification) to other types of benefit. Technological innovation, green jobs, community building and health benefits are widely discussed candidates. The intuition is that reframing greenhouse gas mitigation efforts and their benefits in such terms could make them more personally relevant as well as more emotionally engaging and appealing to citizens. On the basis of results from two survey-embedded experiments (combined N = 1,675), and in contrast to some earlier studies, we conclude that simple reframing of climate policy is unlikely to increase public support, and outline reasons for this finding. As the added value of other justifications remains unclear at best and potentially nil, sticking to climate risk reduction as the dominant justification seems worthwhile.

Suggested Citation

Bernauer, Thomas and McGrath, Liam, Simple Re-framing Unlikely to Boost Public Support for Climate Policy (March 7, 2016). Nature Climate Change, 2016, DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE2948. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3080258

Thomas Bernauer (Contact Author)

ETH Zurich ( email )

Center for Comparative and International Studies
Building IFW, office 45.1, Haldeneggsteig 4
Zurich 8092, 8092
Switzerland
+41 44 632 6466 (Phone)
+41 44 632 1289 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ib.ethz.ch

Liam McGrath

University of Essex ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester, CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

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