Engaging the Public on Climate Change

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Framing as Strategic Communication: Putting Research into Practice

Engaging the Public on Climate Change

@MCNisbetMatthew C. NisbetAssociate ProfessorNortheastern University

Telling Stories about a Super Wicked Problem

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Framing Judgments and Decisions:Environmental and Regulatory Problem?

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Framing Judgments and Decisions:Energy Innovation & Resilience Problem?

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Audience Segmentation and Public Perceptions@MCNisbet

Blind spot for gas and oil prices. States and cities where we live, we depend considerably less on low gas prices. Earn more money, therefore absorb volatility in gas prices, we dont directly depend on gas for our profession or jobs, and we drive considerably less. MA 8,000, VT 11,000 ME 10,000 DC 5,700, MS 13K, OK 12K5In Depth Interviews w/ 70 subjects by Segment@MCNisbet

Maibach, E., Nisbet, M.C. et al. (2010). BMC Public Health 10: 299.

Blind spot for gas and oil prices. States and cities where we live, we depend considerably less on low gas prices. Earn more money, therefore absorb volatility in gas prices, we dont directly depend on gas for our profession or jobs, and we drive considerably less. MA 8,000, VT 11,000 ME 10,000 DC 5,700, MS 13K, OK 12K6Segment 4-6:Sentence Specific Reaction to Essay@MCNisbetMaibach, E., Nisbet, M.C. et al. (2010). BMC Public Health 10: 299.

Blind spot for gas and oil prices. States and cities where we live, we depend considerably less on low gas prices. Earn more money, therefore absorb volatility in gas prices, we dont directly depend on gas for our profession or jobs, and we drive considerably less. MA 8,000, VT 11,000 ME 10,000 DC 5,700, MS 13K, OK 12K7Provoking Anger Across Audience Segments:Identifying Boomerang Effects@MCNisbet

Myers, T., Nisbet, M.C., Maibach, E.W., & Leiserowitz, A. (2012). Climatic Change.

Energy Resilience and Climate DisruptionWarmer, Wetter Future with More Extremes@MCNisbet

Blind spot for gas and oil prices. States and cities where we live, we depend considerably less on low gas prices. Earn more money, therefore absorb volatility in gas prices, we dont directly depend on gas for our profession or jobs, and we drive considerably less. MA 8,000, VT 11,000 ME 10,000 DC 5,700, MS 13K, OK 12K9Engaging A Broader Public Via Energy Resilience@MCNisbetSources: MA Dept of Energy Resources; Boston Globe

* Natural gas provides 70% of MA electricity and heats nearly half the homes. Approximately 30% of homes heated with oil.Blind spot for gas and oil prices. States and cities where we live, we depend considerably less on low gas prices. Earn more money, therefore absorb volatility in gas prices, we dont directly depend on gas for our profession or jobs, and we drive considerably less. MA 8,000, VT 11,000 ME 10,000 DC 5,700, MS 13K, OK 12K10Will Oil Prices Triple in Next Five Years?@MCNisbetNisbet, Maibach, & Leiserowitz (2011). American Journal of Public Health.

Oil Price Spikes and Risk to Economy?@MCNisbetNisbet, Maibach, & Leiserowitz (2011). American Journal of Public Health.

Oil Price Spikes and Risk to Public Health?@MCNisbet

Nisbet, Maibach, & Leiserowitz (2011). American Journal of Public Health.

Framing Drives Elite DecisionsThe Design to Win Report (2007)

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A cap on carbon outputand an accompanying market for emissions permitswill prompt a sea change that washes over the entire global economy.

The good news is that we already have the technology and know-how to achieve these carbon reductionsoften at a cost savings.

Climate change, unlike a lot of large-scale problems, is actually one that is solvable. It is also one where we know what we need to do. We have the best data in the world on how to prevent climate change. Everything was ranked by magnitude, location and sector. Its a systematic approach to problem solving. Hal Harvey, NY Times profile

Who Is a Public Intellectual?

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Nisbet 20141) Write for and engage a broader public on matters of popular concern, rather than narrowly targeting an expert audience and emphasizing the more technical details of a debate.

2) Specialize in the synthesis of complex, interdisciplinary areas of research, engaging in deductive analysis across cases and events, working from the top down, drawing connections, making inferences, and offering judgments.

3) Argue on behalf of causes and policies, serving in the role of social critic, advocate, or activist. Public Intellectuals and Wicked Problems:Creating a Common Language and Outlook

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Promote a common storyline about climate change, defining who or what is to blame, what should be done, and what action would mean for the future.

Discourses informally guide the decisions of advocates, funders, journalists, and governmental officials.

Define which experts or views might be mainstream versus what might be contrarian or out of bounds.

Once assumptions and authorities established, costly in terms of human mental labor to re-examine what has finally come to be taken for granted.

Other public intellectuals are needed to disturb the canonical peace and defamiliarize the obvious by identifying the flaws in conventional wisdom and by offering alternative renderings of a problem.

Building a Climate Justice Movement

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Our economic model is at war with life on Earth. We cant change the laws of nature, but we can change our growth economy. And thats why climate change is not just a disaster, its also our best chance to demand and build a better world.

A New Model for Climate Advocacy:Diversifying Policy and Technology Options

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Kahan et al 2007Pielke 2007Investing in Disruptive Ideas & Coalitions

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Further Readingwww.climateshiftproject.org/studies

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