Climate Change Appeals May Be More Effective When They’re Pessimistic

There’s no getting around the fact that climate change is an existential crisis of the highest order — but how best to communicate that threat is unclear. Too much pessimism and people become paralysed with anxiety, pushing thoughts about the crisis away altogether. Too much optimism, on the other hand, can lead to complacency — if things are going to be okay, why would we feel the need to engage with what’s going on?

This tension is explored in a new study published in Humanities and Social Sciences Communications. The team finds that climate change appeals with pessimistic endings may actually boost people’s beliefs that it is a problem and that they can do something to combat it. Continue reading →

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