Is this climate porn? How does climate change communication affect our perceptions and behaviour?

TitleIs this climate porn? How does climate change communication affect our perceptions and behaviour?
Publication TypeTyndall Working Paper
SeriesTyndall Centre Working Papers
Tyndall Consortium Institution

UEA

Secondary TitleTyndall Centre Working Paper 98
Keywordsbehaviour, climate change communication, Perceptions
AuthorsLowe, T.
Year of Publication2006
Abstract

There is growing concern that the social construction of the issue of climate change and its amplification by normative communication channels may be acting to distance or even remove much of the lay public from a point at which they feel they can take action. This paper discusses the extent to which such representations are imbued by the public psyche and, importantly, the extent to which such messages are likely to effect behavioural change. Evidence is presented from a controlled experiment which explores whether a filmic experience may promote a greater individual reaction to the potential dangers from climate change than simply reading a compendium of scientific information detailing the causes and potential effects of human induced climate change. Results suggest that although the public harbours deep concerns about the effect climate change is having or may have, there is a disconnect between this and the actual sacrifices we are willing to make. Popular reporting of climate change in the style of environmental ‘science fiction’ appears not to be a catalyst for change; rather it creates a nagging concern, the solution to which is felt to be beyond the reach of the ordinary person.

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