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MSU Study: Climate change denial messaging works


Attacking the science behind climate change effectively sways public opinion, according to a recent studyby Michigan State University researchers.

MSU associate professor and sociologist Aaron McCright led the study of 1600 US adults.

McCright says messages that frame climate change as a public health or national security threat, or even through a “positive” frame like economic opportunity or religious obligation, seem to fall flat.

“None of those seemed to be effective in getting people to increase their belief in climate change, their concern about climate change, and their support for taking action,” McCright said.

On the other hand, “Some message that says climate change is a hoax, scientists can’t agree…that does seem to be consistently effective in getting people to be more skeptical that climate change is happening.”

Furthermore, McCright says the climate denial message seems to sway opinion across the political spectrum. But the effect is much greater among self-identified conservatives.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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