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Nature Energy (2022)
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Effective communication can help increase bipartisan support for renewable energy. Prior research suggests that support for renewable energy may be determined, in part, by which of its benefits are emphasized. Here we use a three-stage, longitudinal experiment (N = 2,891) to compare the immediate and over-time effects of three informational frames of renewable energy’s benefits (cost savings, economy boost and global warming mitigation). We tested each message’s effects on US Democrats’ and Republicans’ beliefs about and support for renewable energy, and we compared the longevity of these effects over a period of three weeks. We find that cost savings was the most effective frame—both in terms of immediate effect size on beliefs and in the longevity of those effects—with negligible differences between political groups. The durability of all effects exhibited a consistent pattern: an initial steep drop in effect size followed by a plateau.
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The datasets used for this study (all three time points) are available on the Open Science Framework (https://osf.io/6cf93/) as Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) data files (.sav). Alternative data formats are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.
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This study was supported by the Energy Foundation, Heising–Simons Foundation, 11th Hour Project and the MacArthur Foundation. The authors thank N. Kirsch for assisting with the literature review. The design and analyses of study were greatly improved by ideas and insights from A. Coppock and M. Ballew.
Department of Communication, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, USA
Abel Gustafson
Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, Yale School of the Environment, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA
Matthew H. Goldberg, Karine Lacroix, Seth A. Rosenthal & Anthony Leiserowitz
McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA
Parrish Bergquist
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A.G. conceptualized the study and methodology. M.H.G., P.B., K.L., S.A.R. and A.L. advised on the study’s concept, design, measures and stimuli. A.G. and M.H.G. collected the data. A.G., M.H.G. and P.B. analysed the data. A.G. wrote the original draft, with contributions and revisions from M.H.G., P.B., K.L., S.A.R. and A.L. A.L. obtained funding for the project.
Correspondence to Abel Gustafson.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Nature Energy thanks the anonymous reviewers for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
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Gustafson, A., Goldberg, M.H., Bergquist, P. et al. The durable, bipartisan effects of emphasizing the cost savings of renewable energy. Nat Energy (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41560-022-01099-2
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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41560-022-01099-2
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