From Physorg and the “if we can just figure out how to conceal the taste with sugar” movement.
Context is king when advocating for renewable energy policies, according to political science professor
June 30, 2017 by Sonia Fernandez
Credit: University of California – Santa Barbara
The first rule of advocating for climate change-related legislation is: You do not talk about “climate change.” The term has become so polarizing that its mere mention can cause reasonable people to draw seemingly immutable lines in the political sand.
“In some ways, it functions as what we would call a ‘dog-whistle’,” said UC Santa Barbara political science professor Leah Stokes, referring to a term or statement that while innocent-sounding enough to most people, encodes deeper and more specific meanings to certain audiences. And it’s true: For many conservatives, the idea of enacting climate change-related renewable energy policies is fraught with fears of economic loss and major lifestyle changes. For many liberals, on the other hand, not enacting such policies is fraught with fears of economic loss and major lifestyle changes. It’s a tug-of-war that began at the start of the century and continues today.
“Trump is president right now and therefore we’re really unlikely to see new federal laws trying to support climate change legislation or renewable energy policy, or dealing with environmental problems,” Stokes said. States will likely become the leaders in pursuing renewable energy policy to maintain progress and deal with potentially damaging environmental effects, such as sea level rise and air quality problems, she said. But levels of support for action vary across the nation, and the challenge will be to avoid triggering knee-jerk reactions that are less about the issue and more about partisanship.
“We try to understand what kinds of messages would work with the public and how that would translate into more states actually doing something about these issues,” said Stokes, who with Christopher Warshaw of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology conducted research into how people connect (or not) with the hot-button issues related to climate change, such as renewable energy legislation. Their study, “Renewable Energy Policy Design and Framing Influence Public Support in the United States,” is published in the journal Nature Energy.
The good news from the results of their repeated survey experiment: Public support for renewable energy in the U.S. is very strong. According to their baseline figures, the vast majority of people in the country support renewable energy portfolios in their states, in which a certain amount of the states’ electricity comes from a renewable source . The results are what you might expect: States with an abundance of renewable resources—California, Hawaii, New Mexico and Iowa, for instance—top the list and have actual renewable energy policies in play, while the southern and mountain states tend to have little support, and no renewable energy policies.
HT\ reader gnomish