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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Communicating Climate Change Risk: A Content Analysis of IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers

1
Strategic Communication Group, Wageningen University, 6700 EW Wageningen, The Netherlands
2
Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences & Food Systems Program, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, USA
3
Wageningen Environmental Research, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
4
Water Systems and Global Change Group, Wageningen University, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 4861; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124861
Received: 13 May 2020 / Revised: 9 June 2020 / Accepted: 12 June 2020 / Published: 15 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Cognitive Psychology of Environmental Sustainability)
This study investigated the effectiveness of climate change risk communication in terms of its theoretical potential to stimulate recipients’ awareness and behavioral change. We selected the summary for policy makers (SPM) of the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report in order to conduct a content analysis; the extended parallel process model and construal level theory served as conceptual lenses to perform the analysis. Specifically, we evaluated to what extent the SPM included informational elements of threat, efficacy and psychological distance related to climate change. The results showed that threat information was prominently present, but efficacy information was less frequently included, and when it was, more often in the latter parts of the SPM. With respect to construal level it was found that in the IPCC report concrete representations were used only sparingly. Theoretical relevance and implications for climate change risk communication with key audiences are discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; risk communication; psychological distance; threat appraisal; efficacy; global warming; content analysis climate change; risk communication; psychological distance; threat appraisal; efficacy; global warming; content analysis
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MDPI and ACS Style

Poortvliet, P.M.; Niles, M.T.; Veraart, J.A.; Werners, S.E.; Korporaal, F.C.; Mulder, B.C. Communicating Climate Change Risk: A Content Analysis of IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers. Sustainability 2020, 12, 4861. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124861

AMA Style

Poortvliet PM, Niles MT, Veraart JA, Werners SE, Korporaal FC, Mulder BC. Communicating Climate Change Risk: A Content Analysis of IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers. Sustainability. 2020; 12(12):4861. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124861

Chicago/Turabian Style

Poortvliet, P. M.; Niles, Meredith T.; Veraart, Jeroen A.; Werners, Saskia E.; Korporaal, Fiona C.; Mulder, Bob C. 2020. "Communicating Climate Change Risk: A Content Analysis of IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers" Sustainability 12, no. 12: 4861. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124861

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