Framing of Geoengineering Affects Support for Climate Change Mitigation

Kaitlin T. Raimi*, Alexander Maki, David A Dana, Michael P. Vandenbergh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The growing recognition that climate change mitigation alone will be inadequate has led scientists and policymakers to discuss climate geoengineering. An experiment with a US sample found, contrary to previous research, that reading about geoengineering did not reduce conservatives’ skepticism about the existence of anthropogenic climate change. Moreover, depending on how it is framed, geoengineering can reduce support for mitigation among both conservatives and non-conservatives. When geoengineering is framed as a major solution, people worry less about climate change, leading to reduced mitigation support. When framed as disastrous, people perceived geoengineering as riskier, also leading to a decrease in mitigation support. A more moderate framing of geoengineering as a partial solution is less susceptible to moral hazard effects. Overall, results suggest that geoengineering will not lessen political polarization over anthropogenic climate change, and could undercut support for mitigation efforts. Instead, framing geoengineering as a small piece to solving a big puzzle seems to be the best strategy to weaken this potential moral hazard.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-319
Number of pages20
JournalEnvironmental Communication
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 3 2019


  • Climate change
  • geoengineering
  • mitigation support
  • moral hazard
  • risk compensation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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