What messaging increases the political salience of climate change among ordinary Africans? While a growing body of scientific evidence indicates that the continent will face intensifying climate-related challenges, including rising temperatures and extreme weather events, there is relatively little understanding of the factors shaping the preferences of ordinary citizens toward exercising environmental rights or demanding policy action. It remains unknown whether the theoretical or empirical insights largely focused on public attitudes in advanced industrialized democracies hold under the realities in which most Africans live. To explore the factors that might increase the salience of climate change among Africans, we will conduct survey experiments that explore several dimensions of climate change messaging: 1) the identity of the
messenger, 2) the framing of the nature of the problem (its scale, root, causes, consequences, morality, and how it relates to Africans’ positionality), as well as 3) how Africans are portrayed visually in climate change narratives. By varying these dimensions, we aim to identify the effectiveness of standard approaches that both activists and policymakers already implement on the ground. In doing so, this study seeks to contribute to research on climate change communication and policymaking in disproportionately affected regions

Leonardo Arriola

Associate Professor at University of California, Berkeley and Affiliated Senior Researcher