Researchers at UiB are collaborating with colleagues at L'Université catholique de Louvain i Belgia and L'Université Clermont Auvergne in France, on the project Overcoming Obstacles and Disincentives to Climate Change Mitigation: A cross-cutting approach by human and social sciences. Through the combination of linguistics, psychology and anthropology, this project has the aim of improving our knowledge of what stands in the way of changing attitudes and patterns of behaviour in the face of climate change. Another main objective is to use these findings to develop communication strategies that may contribute to removing these obstacles, thereby laying the groundwork for emissions reductions.
This research project is a collaboration between l'Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium), l'Université Clermont Auvergne (France) and the University of Bergen. It has the theoretical and transformative aim to improve the scientific understanding of obstacles and disincentives to climate change (CC) mitigation and to understand how multimodal devices can operate on them, through the interdisciplinary collaboration between linguistics and social psychological approaches. The project will provide a practical tool in the form of an open-source research toolbox proposing advice, models and resources to public authorities and concerned citizen on CC communication strategies.
Firstly, the project will focus on a semiotic and rhetoric approach of on-line discourses, aimed at identifying the signs of obstacles and difficulties concerning CC verbal and visual contents. We will specifically focus on the interaction between image and text, by analyzing manually and automatically a corpus of messages from Twitter and Reddit and videos and images from Youtube and Instagram.
Secondly, through linguistic and discursive analyses of survey discourse (i.e. answers to open-ended questions) and of social media (Twitter), combining narrative and polyphonic perspectives, the aimis to contribute to an innovative understanding of European citizens’ opinions about obstacles versus opportunities to reducing GHG emissions and thus to the CC mitigation.
Thirdly, the project seeks to examine how and why individuals can remain indifferent, skeptical to the risks of CC and what interventions might be done in order to convert apathy into action. Firstly, social psychological factors that determine individual engagement in pro-environmental behaviours will be examined. Secondly, the effects of the climate change threat will be examined on individual behaviours and responses.
The methods will combine qualitative as well as quantitative surveys and laboratory experiments.