Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.


Fear and hope in climate messages

Scientists often expect fear of climate change and its impacts to motivate public support of climate policies. A study suggests that climate change deniers don't respond to this, but that positive appeals can change their views.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Belief in human cause of global warming, by political ideology and self-reported understanding of global warming over the years 2001–2010.


  1. McCright, A. M. & Dunlap, R. E. Sociol. Q. 52, 155–194 (2011).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Weber, E. U. & Stern, P. C. Am. Psychol. 66, 315–328 (2011).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Gardner, G. T. & Stern, P. C. Environmental Problems and Human Behavior (Allyn & Bacon, 1996).

    Google Scholar 

  4. National Research Council Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change New Tools for Environmental Protection: Education, Information, and Voluntary Measures (Natl Acad. Press, 2002).

  5. Bain, P. G., Hornsey, M. J., Bongiorno, R. & Jeffries, C. Nature Clim. Change 2, 600–603 10.1038/nclimate1532(2012).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Brechin, S. R. in Routledge Handbook of Climate Change and Society (ed. Lever-Tracy, C.) 179–209 (Routledge, 2010).

    Google Scholar 

  7. Witte, K. & Allen, M. Health Educ. Behav. 27, 591–615 (2000).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Dunlap, R. E. & McCright, A. M. in Routledge Handbook of Climate Change and Society (ed. Lever-Tracy, C.) 240–260 (Routledge, 2010).

    Google Scholar 

  9. Stern, P. C., Dietz, T., Abel, T., Guagnano, G. A. & Kalof, L. Human Ecol. Rev. 6, 81–97 (1999).

    Google Scholar 

  10. Dietz, T., Fitzgerald, A. & Shwom, R. Annu. Rev. Environ. Resources 30, 335–372 (2005).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Paul C. Stern.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Stern, P. Fear and hope in climate messages. Nature Clim Change 2, 572–573 (2012).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing