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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The effects of framing on support for political action on climate change Schittecatte, Gabrielle


The scientific community has come to a consensus that immediate action is necessary to arrest the deleterious effects posed by anthropogenic climate change. However, widespread public support for climate mitigation policies has been seriously lacking. The literature has identified that the way climate change is being communicated and individual characteristics both pose barriers to increased support for political action on climate change. This study investigates the potential role of sociological and psychological factors affecting an individual’s support for political action on climate change. This study also evaluates how various climate change frames are perceived by different individuals, and how that perception may alter political support for climate change action. To do so individuals’ values and worldviews are assessed and related to their perception of economic and moral frames are more effective at stimulating people to support the fossil fuel divestment campaign that is sweeping across North America. The sample for this study was students from four research-based Canadian universities. Data was collected via an online survey hosted by FluidSurveys.com. Univariate and OLS multiple regressions were used to analyze the data. This study found that framing climate change as a moral issue was more effective at motivating support for political action than framing that climate change as an economic issue. It was also discovered that environmental and communitarian worldviews play a role in a person’s support for political action on climate change. These findings provide insight into how best to communicate the risks of climate change to enhance support for political action, and specifically the fossil free divestment campaign. Our findings also shed light on which worldviews should be targeted to by communication to foster support for climate action.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada