Using the COVID-19 economic crisis to frame climate change as a secondary issue reduces mitigation support

Ecker, Ullrich K.H. and Butler, Lucy H. and Cooke, John and Hurlstone, Mark John and Kurz, Tim and Lewandowsky, Stephan (2020) Using the COVID-19 economic crisis to frame climate change as a secondary issue reduces mitigation support. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 70. p. 101464. ISSN 0272-4944

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The COVID-19 pandemic has understandably dominated public discourse, crowding out other important issues such as climate change. Currently, if climate change enters the arena of public debate, it primarily does so in direct relation to the pandemic. In two experiments, we investigated (1) whether portraying the response to the COVID-19 threat as a “trial run” for future climate action would increase climate-change concern and mitigation support, and (2) whether portraying climate change as a concern that needs to take a “back seat” while focus lies on economic recovery would decrease climate-change concern and mitigation support. We found no support for the effectiveness of a trial-run frame in either experiment. In Experiment 1, we found that a back-seat frame reduced participants’ support for mitigative action. In Experiment 2, the back-seat framing reduced both climate-change concern and mitigation support; a combined inoculation and refutation was able to offset the drop in climate concern but not the reduction in mitigation support.

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Journal Article
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Journal of Environmental Psychology
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This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Environmental Psychology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Environmental Psychology, 70, 2020 DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2020.101464
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09 Jul 2020 16:05
Last Modified:
16 Oct 2023 12:50