Metaphors for the War (or Race) Against Climate Change
Despite overwhelming scientific consensus, millions of Americans fail to view climate change as a pressing threat. How can we address this disconnect between science and public opinion? In the present study, we investigated the role of metaphorical framing in shaping attitudes toward climate change. Participants read a brief article that metaphorically described US efforts to reduce carbon emissions as a war or race against climate change, or non-metaphorically described it as the issue of climate change. We further manipulated whether these emission-reduction goals emphasized the relatively near or distant future. We found that, compared to the race frame, the war metaphor made people perceive more urgency and risk surrounding climate change and express a greater willingness to increase conservation behavior, irrespective of the time horizon. Those who read the non-metaphorical report tended to respond in between these two extremes. We discuss the implications of these findings for climate communications.
Flusberg, Stephen J., Teenie Matlock, and Paul Thibodeau. 2017. "Metaphors for the War (Or Race) Against Climate Change." Environmental Communication 11(6): 769-783.
Taylor & Francis
Change, Framing, Metaphor, Reasoning, Communications