Would it be better to not talk about climate change? The impact of climate change and air pollution frames on support for regulating power plant emissions

P. Sol Hart, Lauren Feldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined how utilizing different frames to contextualize negative impacts of power plant emissions influenced belief in those impacts and support for policies to regulate emissions. Using a U.S. national YouGov sample (n = 1000), we examined how discussing emissions in terms of climate change or air pollution, and in terms of health or environmental impacts, influenced individuals with different partisan affiliations. The analysis utilized a moderated-mediation model, with belief in negative impacts of power plant emissions as the mediator, support for government action as the dependent variable, and political party as a moderator of the link from the message frame to belief. This analysis revealed that using a climate change frame relative to an air pollution frame lowered policy support both directly and indirectly via belief in negative impacts, with the strongest indirect effect observed for Republicans. There were no effects of discussing environmental versus health impacts. The results suggest that communicators may be more successful in increasing support for mitigating carbon pollution from power plants by focusing on non-climate change oriented risks that the pollution poses, rather than linking the pollution to climate change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Volume60
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Framing
  • Motivated reasoning
  • Public opinion

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