climate change communication

Is Adaptation a back door to Mitigation?

How do we talk about climate change in way that resonates strongly with a broad swath of citizens regardless of personal circumstances and political ideology?  Some research suggests that framing climate change in terms of local impacts and focusing on actions related to adaptation rather than mitigation could have advantages.  Impacts that are less distant/smaller scale and efforts that focus on ways people can adapt might feel more concrete and easier to imagine.  This series of studies experimentally tests whether such framings are effective at garnering support for action on climate change, particularly among individuals less concerned about the issue. 

Project Team

Kim Wolske (University of Chicago) 

Jason Duvall (University of Michigan)

What do Carbon Dioxide Removal technologies mean for Mitigation support?

Carbon dioxide reduction (CDR) technologies work by removing CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it in a variety of forms, e.g., as biomass, in deep saline aquifers, or as ultra-low emission fuels, with the ultimate goals of increasing negative emissions and achieving a net reduction in atmospheric CO2 concentrations.  While there is growing interest in the use of these climate engineering technologies as part of a larger strategy to address greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, it is unknown if these measures will reduce or augment the public’s support for mitigation measures already in place, e.g., policies to promote renewable energy sources and reduce dependence on fossil fuels, industry-level emission standards, or reductions in individual and household-level energy consumption. The "risk salience" hypothesis suggests that learning about CDR, a highly uncertain and arguably drastic approach to climate change, will increase the salience and perceived risk of climate change, thereby strengthening support for traditional mitigation policies. In contrast, the "risk compensation" hypothesis argues that learning about CDR will dampen the perceived threat of climate change and thus reduce support for mitigation. This line of research uses a series of survey-based experiments to test under what conditions either of these hypotheses hold true.

Project Team

Victoria Campbell-Arvai (University of Michigan)

P. Sol Hart (University of Michigan)

Kaitlin T. Raimi (University of Michigan)

Kim Wolske (University of Chicago) 


University of Michigan Energy Institute, Beyond Carbon Neutral initiative

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© 2017 Kim Wolske

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Kim Wolske

Harris Public Policy, University of Chicago

1307 E 60th St.

Chicago, IL 60637