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

Authors
  • Ecker, Ullrich K H1
  • Butler, Lucy H1
  • Cook, John2
  • Hurlstone, Mark J1, 3
  • Kurz, Tim1, 4
  • Lewandowsky, Stephan5, 1
  • 1 School of Psychological Science, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Hwy, Perth, 6009, Australia. , (Australia)
  • 2 Center for Climate Change Communication, George Mason University, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, VA, 22030, USA.
  • 3 Department of Psychology, Lancaster University, Bailrigg, Lancaster LA1 4YW, UK.
  • 4 Department of Psychology, University of Bath, 10 West, Claverton Down, Bath BA2 7AY, UK.
  • 5 School of Psychological Science, University of Bristol, 12a Priory Rd, Bristol, BS8 1TU, UK.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of environmental psychology
Publication Date
Aug 01, 2020
Volume
70
Pages
101464–101464
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2020.101464
PMID: 32834341
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

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. © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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