The differential impact of climate interventions along the political divide in 60 countries

Michael Berkebile-Weinberg, Danielle Goldwert, Kimberly C. Doell, Jay J. Van Bavel, Madalina Vlasceanu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A major barrier to climate change mitigation is the political polarization of climate change beliefs. In a global experiment conducted in 60 countries (N = 51,224), we assess the differential impact of eleven climate interventions across the ideological divide. At baseline, we find political polarization of climate change beliefs and policy support globally, with people who reported being liberal believing and supporting climate policy more than those who reported being conservative (Cohen’s d = 0.35 and 0.27, respectively). However, we find no evidence for a statistically significant difference between these groups in their engagement in a behavioral tree planting task. This conceptual-behavioral polarization incongruence results from self-identified conservatives acting despite not believing, rather than self-identified liberals not acting on their beliefs. We also find three interventions (emphasizing effective collective actions, writing a letter to a future generation member, and writing a letter from the future self) boost climate beliefs and policy support across the ideological spectrum, and one intervention (emphasizing scientific consensus) stimulates the climate action of people identifying as liberal. None of the interventions tested show evidence for a statistically significant boost in climate action for self-identified conservatives. We discuss implications for practitioners deploying targeted climate interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3885
JournalNature communications
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy

Cite this