Right and left-wing views: A story of disagreement on environmental issues but agreement on solutions

Lalot, Fanny and Büttner, Christiane M. and Özkeçeci, Hilal and Abrams, Dominic. (2022) Right and left-wing views: A story of disagreement on environmental issues but agreement on solutions. Translational Issues in Psychological Science, 8 (4). pp. 503-517.

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Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/93821/

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Environmental issues are often presented as becoming increasingly polarised with the deepening of a political gap between left-wing (or liberal) and right-wing (or conservative) citizens. Going beyond the most investigated single issue of climate change, we look at prioritisation of multiple environmental issues across the political spectrum. We additionally investigate which environmental modes of action individuals evaluate as most effective, depending on political orientation. We finally aim to identify psychological attributes that make environmental issues and actions more likely to be prioritised by both sides of the political spectrum. Amongst a representative UK sample (Study 1, N = 1,147) results highlight an important political divide on several issues, most notably climate change, but also agreement on other issues. Comparison of the issues most selected by the left and the right reveals differential prioritisation associated with perceived psychological distance (Study 2, N = 207). Crucially, however, results show a broad consensus regarding modes of action. Across the political spectrum, respondents evaluate strong actions (i.e., compulsory, loss-framed, and challenging economic growth principles) as more effective, which might speak to the public's newest and accelerating urgency of tackling environmental issues. There are important implications for policy makers: if the aim is to achieve cross-political commitment to policies and action on environmental issues, then persuasive discourse should focus on modes of action rather than the prioritisation of particular issues. Given that the public recognises the need for ambitious actions, policy makers could seize this opportunity to propose forward strong (and objectively effective) action.
Faculties and Departments:07 Faculty of Psychology > Departement Psychologie > Society & Choice > Sozialpsychologie (Greifeneder)
UniBasel Contributors:Büttner, Christiane M and Lalot, Fanny
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:American Psychological Association
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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edoc DOI:
Last Modified:06 Mar 2023 10:03
Deposited On:06 Mar 2023 10:03

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