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Shaping Climate Attitudes

By Taciano Milfont

People are more likely to support climate change mitigation when they are first confronted with the local adaptations that will be required.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Mitigation and adaptation are the main strategies to tackle climate change. Mitigation refers to actions to reduce the magnitude of long-term climate change, while adaptation refers to actions to respond and adjust to climate change impacts.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has long emphasised the interrelationship between mitigation and adaptation to counter the effects of human action on the climate, yet discussions around climate change adaptation have been slow compared to discussions on the mitigation of emissions.

The stronger focus on climate change mitigation has emerged from fears that highlighting the impacts may distract attention from reducing emissions. However, recent social science research has shown that discussing adaptation may actually increase people’s willingness to mitigate emissions.

One study conducted in Oregon, USA, observed an increased interest in mitigation action after residents discussed strategies to increase resilience to climate change impacts. Another US study showed that action-focused conversation with the community about the impacts of sea-level rise in Richmond (Virginia) and Tampa (Florida) yielded mitigation support, even among climate change deniers.

Expanding on these qualitative studies, we conducted an experiment, now published in Global Environmental Change (...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.