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Do Source cues or frames matter? Convincing the public about the veracity of climate science

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Social Science Quarterly

Published online on


["Social Science Quarterly, EarlyView. ", "\nAbstract\n\nObjective\nA significant portion ofthe American public does not accept the current overwhelming scientific consensus about the anthropogenic causality of climate change. This issue has been politicized and is now highly partisan. Because the military is the most trusted public institution in the United States, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the government agency with primary oversight of climate policy, we test whether source cues from these entities, as well as threat frames centered on either national security or the economy, influence the willingness of people to believe climate change is human‐caused.\n\n\nMethods\nWe conduct a post‐test controlled experiment to test the comparative effects of varying both source cue and frame.\n\n\nResults\nWe find that the U.S. Military source cue generally produced a weaker belief that climate change is human‐caused, for both Democrats and Republicans, while the EPA had a more positive influence.\n\n\nConclusion\nThe results suggest the limitations of national security framing and point to the importance of neutral, non‐partisan source cues, especially in appeals directed at Republicans.\n\n"]