Want to Inspire Climate Action? Talk About Solutions, Not Science
Would a better understanding of climate science help convince people that climate change is real? According to a new Yale study, maybe not. The study found (not surprisingly) that subjects were split along partisan lines about their belief in human-caused climate change. However, this divide stayed the same even when the respondents’ climate literacy increased. In fact, the more literate they were, the more polarized their beliefs were.
“Republicans and Democrats alike already understand that climate scientists have shown we face huge risks from global warming,” said Professor Dan Kahan, the lead researcher in the study. “Just telling people that over and over misses the point.”
So what does that mean for climate communicators? Rather than merely emphasizing the scientific data, we should focus on solutions and local impacts. People may disagree about the existence of climate change, but they can agree that steps should be taken to address the threat of rising seas and extreme weather. They can agree on the benefits of energy independence and job creation. It’s all a matter of finding common ground.
Yale Law School
Deep public divisions over climate change are unrelated to differences in how well ordinary citizens understand scientific evidence on global warming, according to a new study published by Professor Dan Kahan.
In fact, members of the public who score the highest on a climate-science literacy test are the most politically polarized on whether human activity is causing global temperatures to rise.
These were the principal findings of a Yale-led study published recently in the journal Advances in Political Psychology.
In the study, a nationally representative sample of 2,000 U.S. adults completed a test measuring their knowledge of prevailing scientific consensus on the causes and consequences of climate change. They also indicated whether they believed that human activity is responsible for global temperature increases in recent decades.