Calling Climate Change a 'Crisis' May Not Do What You Think

URL: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10584-021-03219-5

Focusing on and using terms like "climate emergency" and "climate crisis" can backfire if they increase fear, decrease efficacy beliefs and hope, and reduce news credibility.


This study experimentally examined how using the terms "climate emergency," "climate crisis," or "climate change" in Twitter-based news stories influences public engagement with climate change and news perceptions, as well as whether the effects depend on the focus of the news (i.e., on climate impacts, actions, or both impacts and actions) and on participants' political ideology. Results showed no effect of terminology on climate change engagement; however, "climate emergency" reduced perceived news credibility and newsworthiness compared to "climate change." Both climate engagement and news perceptions were more consistently affected by the focus of the stories: news about climate impacts increased fear, decreased efficacy beliefs and hope, and reduced news credibility compared to news about climate actions. No interactions with political ideology were found. (American data)

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Topics: Environment:, Climate change mitigation, Climate change adaptation
Location: US
Resource Type: strategies and interventions, consumer research
Publisher: Springer
Date Last Updated: 2022-01-24 09:20:56

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