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Threat and Anxiety in the Climate Debate:An Agent-Based Model to investigate Climate Scepticism and Pro-Environmental Behaviour

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posted on 10.07.2019 by Marie Lisa Kapeller, Georg Jäger
How people react to threatening information such as climate change is a complicated matter. While people with a high environmental self-identity tend to react approach-motivated by engaging in pro-environmental behaviour, people of low environmental self-identity may exhibit proximal defence behaviour, by avoiding and distracting themselves from potentially threatening stimuli caused by identified anxious thoughts and circumstances. This psychological theory has recently been tested in experimental studies in which the results suggest that the promotion of climate change information can also backfire. Based on these findings, we propose an agent-based model to address influences on anxiety and correlated pro-environmental actions in relation to societal attitudes of climate change scepticism and environmental self-identity.

Funding

MLK receives a student grant of of the University of Graz, Austria, and the Steiermärkischen Sparkassen.

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Declaration of conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Corresponding author email

marie.kapeller@uni-graz.at

Lead author country

Austria

Lead author job role

PhD Student

Lead author institution

1Institute of Systems Sciences, Innovation and Sustainability Research, University of Graz

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