A Research Agenda for Climate Change Communication and Public Opinion: The Role of Consensus Messaging and Beyond (WP-19-28)
Robin Bayes, Toby Bolsen, and James DruckmanResponse to human-induced climate change is among the most pressing problems facing humanity. The fact that climate change has been accelerated by human activity enjoys a rare scientific consensus. This consensus, however, has not been fully endorsed by the general population, particularly in the United States. These skeptical beliefs create a major hurdle for climate mitigation and adaptation policy, particularly in societies where policy and law are created in response to public opinion. In this paper, the authors review many of the studies that have been done on the impact of communicating the scientific consensus to the general public. They discuss ongoing debates about these studies, but more importantly, they highlight complementary areas that they believe should define future research on climate change communications.