Society For Risk Analysis Annual Meeting 2017

Session Schedule & Abstracts

* Disclaimer: All presentations represent the views of the authors, and not the organizations that support their research. Please apply the standard disclaimer that any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations in abstracts, posters, and presentations at the meeting are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other organization or agency. Meeting attendees and authors should be aware that this disclaimer is intended to apply to all abstracts contained in this document. Authors who wish to emphasize this disclaimer should do so in their presentation or poster. In an effort to make the abstracts as concise as possible and easy for meeting participants to read, the abstracts have been formatted such that they exclude references to papers, affiliations, and/or funding sources. Authors who wish to provide attendees with this information should do so in their presentation or poster.

Common abbreviations

Climate Change Communication II

Room: Salon B   3:30 pm–5:10 pm

Chair(s): Christopher Clarke

Sponsored by Risk Communication Specialty Group

W4-B.1  3:30 pm  Public support for the climate change policies, from party support point of view. AOYAGI M*; National Institute for Environmental Studies

Abstract: In this paper, we discuss about the people’s support for climate change policies in Japan, risk perception, media exposure and public’s political party support. The effects of political party support on climate change policy support has been reported in many countries, especially in the US, but hardly in Japan. We use our public opinion data with evaluation results of national political parties’ policy proposals done by climate change NGOs in Japan during National Election in 2016. Our data is 2016 public opinion survey data carried out by authors from mid-June to early July, a few weeks before the Japanese National Diet Election. 3000 respondents were drawn from the Basic Residents Register. Effective responses were 1640(54.7%). Our results show that 94% of people chose options of “the weather is changing,” and 63% chose “very much+very” anxious about the climate change or global warming. 88% chose “climate change is caused by “partly +mainly +completely” human activity. 72% felt personal responsibility for climate change prevention. 79% support Paris accord. For party support, as of the a few weeks before the election, only 24% of respondents chose “not yet decided”, and 42% chose five in “democrat-conservative” zero to ten scale. This is not surprising, as Japanese political parties are not well differentiated, especially for the climate change policy. NGOs which are active in climate change policy making, such as WWF Japan and Kiko-Net listed up each party’s policy agenda on that national election. According to their analysis, neither conservative nor democratic party were more likely to make aggressive climate change policy proposal. Some parties are more aggressive to the anti-nuclear policies but they were not necessarily tied with climate change policy. Thus, it would be safe to say that there is no differentiated policy proposal by each political party, this makes Japanese public’s partisan dichotomy difficult on climate change policy support.

W4-B.2  3:50 pm  Does learning about carbon dioxide removal (CDR) strategies alter support for climate mitigation? The role of tradeoffs, trust in technology, and beliefs about tampering with nature. Campbell-Arvai VEA*, Hart PS, Raimi KT, Wolsje KS; University of Michigan

Abstract: Many believe that carbon dioxide removal (CDR) strategies provide our best chance at meeting the temperature and greenhouse gas emission targets set out in the Paris Agreement. Others caution, however, that a reliance on ‘carbon negative’ technologies and processes may only serve to dampen concern about climate change and lessen motivation to engage in actions that can reduce or eliminate anthropogenic carbon emissions. Our previous research provides some evidence for this risk compensatory effect. In that study we found that learning about certain carbon dioxide removal strategies indirectly reduces support for mitigation policies by reducing the perceived threat of climate change. This was true for participants who read about CDR in general, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, or direct air capture; this pattern was more pronounced among political conservatives than liberals, although in some cases was partially offset by positive direct effects. Learning about reforestation had no indirect effects on mitigation support through perceived threat, although this form of CDR was found to directly increase support among conservatives. We build on this research by presenting study participants with a more detailed accounting of the tradeoffs associated with each of these CDR technologies and approaches (in the form of a simulated news story). As past research suggests that support for carbon dioxide reduction strategies may be strongest among those who prefer technological solutions over lifestyle changes, and may be weakest among those who express concern about human interference with nature and natural processes, these items (trust in technology and tampering with nature) are included in our study as potential moderators of the relationship between learning about CDR, climate risk perceptions, and mitigation policy support. Implications for climate change communications and the development of policies to address climate change are discussed.

W4-B.3  4:10 pm  Challenges in communicating the slow onset crisis of climate change. Hathaway JH*; George Mason University

Abstract: Climate change is one of the most important societal challenges we face. Absent significant near-term reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, we risk large-scale, irreversible damage to planetary systems, with severe consequences for the inhabitants of the earth. Yet Americans are not taking action commensurate with these risks. Climate change communication involves several specific barriers which, in the aggregate, make communicating the risks of continued inaction uniquely challenging. Two theoretical lenses hold promise for understanding the communication barriers to responding to climate change. The CAUSE Model for Risk Communication (Rowan, 1991, 1994; Rowan et al., 2008; 2009) was developed in recognition of five fundamental challenges and goals of risk communication, each of which is indicated in the acronym “CAUSE.” First, communicators need a way of creating confidence in the messengers. Second, effective communication about the slow-onset risks of climate change must address the lack of awareness of the immediacy and proximity of the problem. Third, because climate change is an unprecedented threat involving technical, political, and legal questions, practitioners need to foster understanding of what the phenomenon means to individuals, their families, their communities, and society at large. In addition, cultural theory contributes to explaining why we are beset with a lack of satisfaction with not just response options but whether there is a problem at all. Finally, risk communicators need strategies to stimulate enactment of behavioral, structural, and institutional response options. In this paper, I describe the obstacles to communicating those hazards, drawing on existing research and interviews conducted with a small group of climate change communication practitioners. I suggest next steps for further research and hypothesis testing about ways to increase confidence in messengers, awareness, understanding, and satisfaction with both the analysis of the crisis and potential response options, and enactment of those options.

W4-B.4  4:30 pm  The unquestioned assumption of equivalence in farmer perceptions of weather and climate change risks. Findlater KM*, Kandlikar K, Satterfield T, Donner SD; University of British Columbia

Abstract: The literature on climate resilience emphasizes that climate-adaptive planning should be mainstreamed into existing decision-making processes as a matter of risk management best practice. However, it is often assumed that commercial farmers have done so already, intuitively treating climate change risks as an equivalent, long-term extension of risks stemming from weather and climate variability. In fact, there is only tangential evidence that they perceive and respond to these categories of risk similarly. A small but growing number of in-depth case studies suggests that they do not. This paper seeks to quantitatively test the proposition that farmers treat the two risks as equivalent. Using a risk ranking exercise in a national survey of South African commercial grain farmers – a group with the demonstrated incentive, capacity and willingness to adapt to climate change – we found that weather and climate change were not perceived similarly. Individual farmers tended to prioritize one over the other, but the risk that they prioritized varied; similar proportions of farmers selected each risk as a high priority and not the other. In ordinal regression, the ranks of the two risks were driven by different demographics, farm characteristics and farming practices. These differences were often amplified when we analyzed the distance between the weather and climate change ranks using multivariate linear regression. The findings suggest that the assumption of equivalence between weather and climate change risks is inaccurate, at best. This suggests a major, unrecognized risk communication challenge for climate scientists and policymakers. Farmers will have difficulty mainstreaming climate change adaptation under risk communication regimes that assume the integration of weather and climate change in decision-making. They are therefore less likely than previously thought to respond to climate change risks rationally and proactively in transforming their farming practices.

W4-B.5  4:30 pm  Effectiveness of a serious game to encourage adequate protective behaviour in case of a freight train accident involving hazardous chemicals. Kuttschreuter M*, Jong-Kamphuis N; University of Twente
Risk Communication

Abstract: The likelihood of a railway accident involving the transportation of hazardous substances might be small, but its consequences can be enormous. As it takes some time for the emergency service to arrive on site, individuals who happen to be close to the accident site are left on their own to decide on appropriate responses. This calls for an effective risk communication strategy to enable those nearby to take well informed decisions in case of such an emergency. To this end a prototype of a serious game was developed. The game aimed to make individuals aware of the hazards of a railroad accident involving hazardous substances and to encourage adequate behaviour in case of an accident. In the game, a serious accident with a freight train transporting hazardous chemicals takes place. The player happens to be walking close to the track and faces a number of dilemma’s that involve a choice between staying at a safe distance versus approaching the train, e.g. in an attempt to try to warn or rescue other people. The research objective was to examine the effectiveness of playing the serious game. A two-group posttest-only randomized experiment was conducted. Participants were students at the University of Twente (n=181) who participated to earn credits and had no special interest in railroad safety issues. Results indicated that the game affected risk perception, self-reliance and the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s actions. After playing the game, the participants perceived the likelihood of an accident involving hazardous substances to be higher and its consequences more severe. They also considered themselves more able to take appropriate actions and they were more willing to take responsibility for their own personal safety. Implications for the use of serious games in risk communication will be discussed.

[back to schedule]