Belief in Climate Change Depends on How You Frame the Solutions

SONY DSCWith so much evidence showing that climate change is a reality, why do some some groups still deny that it exists? A new Duke University study helps explain why conservatives and liberals disagree so strongly on certain issues: people evaluate the evidence of problems based on whether the solutions align with their political beliefs.
The message is clear. To engage people on climate issues, we need to avoid framing the issue in partisan terms, and instead show how climate solutions benefit everyone.
Certain values are important to the vast majority of Americans, regardless of their political beliefs. They want a strong, healthy economy, so we should explain how climate solutions are good for business. They want the best for their families, so we should emphasize how climate solutions will prevent health problems (and save money as a result). They believe everyone should have access to clean air, clean water, and natural spaces, so we should show how fighting climate change will protect those rights.
For more inspiration on how to steer climate messages towards American attitudes and priorities, take a look at our recent report, American Climate Values 2014: Psychographic and Demographic Insights.

Denying Problems When We Don’t Like the Solutions

DURHAM, NC – There may be a scientific answer for why conservatives and liberals disagree so vehemently over the existence of issues like climate change and specific types of crime.
A new study from Duke University finds that people will evaluate scientific evidence based on whether they view its policy implications as politically desirable. If they don’t, then they tend to deny the problem even exists.
“Logically, the proposed solution to a problem, such as an increase in government regulation or an extension of the free market, should not influence one’s belief in the problem. However, we find it does,” said co-author Troy Campbell, a Ph.D. candidate at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. “The cure can be more immediately threatening than the problem.”
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Image credit: thebarrowboy/Flickr via CC


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