Handbook of U.S. Environmental Policy
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Handbook of U.S. Environmental Policy

Edited by David M. Konisky

A comprehensive analysis of diverse areas of scholarly research on U.S. environmental policy and politics, this Handbook looks at the key ideas, theoretical frameworks, empirical findings and methodological approaches to the topic. Leading environmental policy scholars emphasize areas of emerging research and opportunities for future enquiry.
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Chapter 25: Communication for a sustainable climate

Connie Roser-Renouf, Edward Maibach and Anthony Leiserowitz


Within the field of climate change communication, a rapidly growing body of research seeks to identify the drivers of sustainable energy consumption, support for mitigation policies, and climate activism. Physical context and socio-economic status (SES) explain much of the variance in energy consumption, but research has identified five key beliefs that underlie policy support and activism: climate change is real, human-caused, harmful, solvable, and scientists agree on its reality and human-causation. Some studies find that issue engagement increases through personal experience with extreme weather and exposure to weather reports and messages on health impacts. Message frames consistent with conservatives’ values have been shown to reduce political polarization and increase conservatives’ acceptance of climate science. A useful method of targeting the diverse climate audiences in the U.S. is Global Warming’s Six Americas, which suggests the type of content that engages and activates different audiences, and the types of messages most likely to attract their attention.

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