Emotions predict policy support

Why it matters how people feel about climate change

Susie Wang, Zoe Leviston, Mark Hurlstone, Carmen Lawrence, Iain Walker

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    9 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Current research shows that emotions can motivate climate engagement and action, but precisely how has received scant attention. We propose that strong emotional responses to climate change result from perceiving one's “objects of care” as threatened by climate change, which motivates caring about climate change itself, and in turn predicts behaviour. In two studies, we find that climate scientists (N = 44) experience greater emotional intensity about climate change than do students (N = 94) and the general population (N = 205), and that patterns of emotional responses explain differences in support for climate change policy. Scientists tied their emotional responses to concern about consequences of climate change to future generations and the planet, as well as personal identities associated with responsibility to act. Our findings suggest that “objects of care” that link people to climate change may be crucial to understanding why some people feel more strongly about the issue than others, and how emotions can prompt action.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)25-40
    Number of pages16
    JournalGlobal Environmental Change
    Volume50
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018

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    Cite this

    Wang, Susie ; Leviston, Zoe ; Hurlstone, Mark ; Lawrence, Carmen ; Walker, Iain. / Emotions predict policy support : Why it matters how people feel about climate change. In: Global Environmental Change. 2018 ; Vol. 50. pp. 25-40.
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    Emotions predict policy support : Why it matters how people feel about climate change. / Wang, Susie; Leviston, Zoe; Hurlstone, Mark; Lawrence, Carmen; Walker, Iain.

    In: Global Environmental Change, Vol. 50, 01.05.2018, p. 25-40.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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