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A recent global study led by researchers at New York University has found that despite long-standing differences between liberals and conservatives on climate change beliefs and related policies, both groups tend to take similar action to combat climate change. The study involved 50,000 participants from 60 countries and revealed that conservatives are willing to take action to address climate change, even if they do not fully believe in it. The researchers also identified effective interventions that can boost beliefs in climate change and policy support among both liberals and conservatives.

One important finding of the study is that conservatives are more likely to take action on climate change despite their beliefs, while liberals tend to align with conservatives in taking action. This suggests a disconnect between beliefs and behaviors among conservatives in environmental matters. The study also found that certain interventions can be effective in altering beliefs and policy support across ideological divides. For example, framing climate change actions as beneficial for ideologically consistent reasons may be more effective in spurring action among conservatives.

Despite the overall positive impact of interventions on both liberals and conservatives, the study’s authors caution that the effectiveness of interventions was not uniform across all participants. For instance, framing certain actions as a climate change solution could backfire and decrease conservatives’ engagement. Informing conservatives about the concerns of a majority of Americans regarding the climate crisis led to them planting fewer trees. Therefore, interventions aimed at increasing conservatives’ pro-environmental behaviors should not involve their climate change beliefs.

The study’s findings have significant implications for policymakers and climate activists in their efforts to influence public opinion on climate change and related policies. By identifying interventions that are effective in boosting beliefs in climate change and policy support among both liberals and conservatives, policymakers can tailor their communication strategies to effectively reach both groups. The study highlights the importance of understanding the nuances of different interventions and their impact on different ideological groups.

The researchers conducted experiments involving participants from various countries to assess their beliefs in climate change, support for related policies, and engagement with actions aimed at addressing climate change. Participants were exposed to different interventions before being asked related questions to test their impact. The interventions included emphasizing scientific consensus on climate change, touting the effectiveness of collective action, writing a letter to a future generation member, and writing a letter from the future self.

Overall, the study found that interventions such as emphasizing effective collective actions, writing a letter to a future generation member, and writing a letter from the future self were effective in boosting climate beliefs and policy support among both liberals and conservatives. Different interventions were found to be more effective in increasing awareness and action among liberals and conservatives, allowing practitioners and policymakers to use these results to administer the most effective interventions for their target audience. The study’s authors include researchers from New York University, the University of Vienna, and other institutions, highlighting the collaborative nature of the research.

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