Study: Psychological Interventions Do Not Work on Climate Skeptics

by Eric Worrall at

The study authors suggest “top down interventions” will be required.

‘Doom and gloom’ don’t change stubborn climate change denial

By Dan Holmes
Friday February 9, 2024

Climate change denial remains difficult to challenge despite the scientific consensus and availability of information.

new behavioural science study suggests this means governments need to put more attention to “top-down” approaches to addressing climate change.

While some did change behaviour, this varied based on country, initial climate beliefs, and which outcome was being measured. For instance, “doom and gloom” climate communications made people more likely to share climate information, but less likely to plant trees.

“Negative emotion induction intervention appeared to backfire on policy support among participants with low initial climate beliefs,” they said.

“These results suggest that climate scientists should carefully consider the differential effects of the prevalent fear-inducing writing styles on different pro-climate outcomes.”

“Top-down change might need to be prioritised to achieve the emissions reduction necessary to stay within safe planetary limits for human civilisation.