Motivating people to take action on climate change, regardless of their existing beliefs, can be done by communicating the social benefits of acting in a climate-friendly way, according to researchers.

Communicating development benefits (such as economic and scientific advancement) and the benevolence benefits (such as a more moral and caring community) helped to motivate people to act in a similar degree as if believing climate change is important. These findings contrast with research suggesting that action on climate change is prevented by ideological beliefs, however they note most previous research has focused on the Western world, while the new study includes participants from 24 countries, spanning all inhabited continents.

Researchers surveyed 6,196 university students on what the future of their country would look like if climate change mitigation was successful.

Original research paper published in Nature Climate Change on September 29, 2015.

Names and affiliations of selected author

Paul Bain, School of Psychology and Counselling, Queensland University of Technology, Australia