Environmental frames are widely used in an effort to increase public support for energy sources in the sustainable energy transition. Research suggests that environmental frames are most effective when they are congruent with people's biospheric values. Yet, this value-congruence account has been mainly tested for promoting behaviors, policies or products that have clear environmental benefits. But what if they do not? For example, what if energy sources are promoted as green but are not seen as such by the public? We extend the value-congruence account by proposing that besides the congruence between the frames and biospheric values, it is important to consider how much the products themselves are congruent with environmental frames and biospheric values. We tested this novel value-frame-product account by evaluating the effectiveness of environmental frames (versus financial frames) on the acceptability of energy sources that are typically seen as high, moderate, and low in environmental friendliness, and depending on how strongly people endorse biospheric values. Overall, the results supported none of the congruence accounts, suggesting that matching frames (and products) with people's values might be less effective in enhancing acceptability of products than previously thought. Instead, environmental framing increased the acceptability of all energy sources, independent of people's biospheric values and the perceived environmental friendliness of those energy sources. Moreover, highly environmentally friendly energy sources were more acceptable and evaluated more positively, especially among people who strongly endorsed biospheric values. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of our study.
- public acceptability of energy sources
- environmental frames
- biospheric values
- perceived environmental friendliness
- perceived impact of energy sources
- SAVING ELECTRICITY
- SHALE GAS