Emotional signatures of climate policy support

Emotional signatures of climate policy support

Reducing the risks of climate change will require public support for the enactment of effective policies. Our most recent research, “Emotional Signatures of Climate Policy Support” published in PLOS Climate, investigates how people’s emotions about climate change are tied to their support for particular climate policies.

Thinking about climate change and the actions necessary to deal with it can, understandably, generate strong emotions. Prior research has shown that strongly felt emotions are associated with stronger support for climate policy. Our current research shows that particular emotions are most associated with support for different types of climate policy.

Specifically, we found that in comparison to other policy options: people who are more fearful of climate change are more likely to support regulatory policies (e.g., regulation of carbon dioxide emissions as a pollutant); people who feel more guilt are more likely to support personally costly policies (e.g., cap and trade, when informed that it may raise household energy costs); and people who feel more hopeful are more likely to support proactive policies (e.g., generating renewable energy on public land).

This research can help policy advocates consider how best to align the emotional tone of their appeals with the specific policies they seek to implement.

The open-access article, which contains many additional insights, is available here.