Climate conversations: Seeking a common starting point

Hunter Gehlbach, Carly Robinson, Christine Vriesema
Within the United States, bipartisan progress on climate change has essentially come to a standstill. Conservatives frequently doubt the findings of climate science; liberals frequently disbelieve that any rational human can doubt the scientific consensus on climate change. The issue has become so politically noxious, it has essentially foreclosed discussion between liberals and conservatives. Given the impotence of past strategies to catalyze productive conversations, we explore a different
more » ... roach. First, we demonstrate that participants on both sides of the political divide actually agree about a variety of scientific findings, in disciplines ranging from medicine to astronomy. Through a cognitive dissonance intervention, we then show that conservative participants who first acknowledge these contributions of science generally subsequently report significantly higher rates of believing in climate science, specifically. We view this evidence as an encouraging proof-of-concept for how an inclusive climate conversation might be initiated between liberals and conservatives.
doi:10.17605/ fatcat:og4z2q6nqbfovotbwtllkqhsja