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Title: It’s How You Say It: Frames of Climate Change Discourse in Germany and the United Kingdom
Authors: Lukasiewicz, Anna
Advisors: Scovronick, Nathan
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2015
Abstract: Influencing public opinion on a national level regarding climate change could facilitate legislative action through public pressure. Yet, relatively little research has concerned the role of public opinion on the issue. In this thesis, I apply theories about framing, public opinion, and public pressure to climate change discourse in Germany and the United Kingdom from 1990-2010. I predict that a country’s frames for climate change discourse affect national greenhouse gas emissions, and that the United Kingdom’s public health frame would be correlated with greater proportional greenhouse gas emissions reductions. I argue that climate change frames are largely developed when an event increases the environment’s salience in public opinion. This suggests that fundamental changes in discourse require a discrete impetus but have the potential to promote salience where there was none. In order to prove this, I analyze frames in public climate change discourse for their character, origins, and impact on federal policy and greenhouse gas emissions, and evaluate emissions reductions in both countries. I find that both Germany’s utilitarian and the United Kingdom’s public health frames likely contributed to their emissions reductions. Germany’s economic perspective is correlated with more effective policy, but demonstrating causality is beyond the scope of the study.
Extent: 65 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Woodrow Wilson School, 1929-2016

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