Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Science Proves Conservatives Won't Buy Energy-Efficient Products. Period.

As we bid farewell to our series on "Stupid Conservative Signs (," today's article has to be filed in our "Conservatives Are Stupid (" category also, as we discover how "Conservatives Hate Conservation: Studies Prove They’ll Reject Products Labeled As ‘Energy-Efficient,’" a piece by Lorraine Devon Wilke at -- but judge for yourselves, as "Climate research nearly unanimous on human causes, survey finds: Of more than 4,000 academic papers published over 20 years, 97.1% agreed that climate change is anthropogenic."

But on to today's post from Addicting Info:

"Have you ever noticed the phenomenon where, once someone notices you’re waiting for their parking spot, they actually get slower about pulling out? It has an official name, that phenomenon: “territorial defense.” A study done by R. Barry Ruback and Daniel Juieng back in 1997 found that people will get territorial even when that parking space has no continued value to them, sometimes out of a primal desire to assert control against perceived intrusions or feeling ‘rushed’ out of their spot.

"I bring this up because a new, non-related study by Dena M. Gromet, Howard Kunreuther, and Richard P. Larrick has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, on how political ideology affects attitudes and choices about energy efficiency, and there appears to be an element of “territorial defense” in their findings. One of the most obvious is that the promoting of energy-efficient products and services on the basis of their environmental benefits actually turned conservatives off from picking those products.
"This research demonstrates how promoting the environment can negatively affect adoption of energy efficiency in the United States because of the political polarization surrounding environmental issues. Study 1 demonstrated that more politically conservative individuals were less in favor of investment in energy-efficient technology than were those who were more politically liberal. This finding was driven primarily by the lessened psychological value that more conservative individuals placed on reducing carbon emissions. Study 2 showed that this difference has consequences: In a real-choice context, more conservative individuals were less likely to purchase a more expensive energy-efficient light bulb when it was labeled with an environmental message than when it was unlabeled. These results highlight the importance of taking into account psychological value-based considerations in the individual adoption of energy-efficient technology in the United States and beyond. [Emphasis added]
"In other words, in “territorial defense” of their climate change denying political agenda, conservatives are less likely to use a product if it’s labeled as energy-saving, making the perverse point that, either 'we don’t need no stinking energy-saving stuff because we’ve got our denial party-line to rely on,' OR 'our stance is right, yours is wrong; we’re definitely NOT buying into yours, so we will not be buying these damn efficiency light bulbs, thank you.'

"Either option is a counterproductive display of territorial defense: rather than potentially saving energy if, for no other reason than to … well … save energy and save money, conservatives will shun an efficiency product out of sheer obstinance and/or in defense of their political 'territory.'

"But conservatives’ antipathy for conservation (odd, isn’t it?) doesn’t stop with the Academy of Sciences study; another done by two University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) economists, Dora Costa and Matthew Kahn, has discovered similar findings. From 'Not So Conservative When It Comes to Saving Energy' in Scientific American:

"Costa and Kahn merged utility data from 80,000 homes with corresponding voter registration and donation records. The economists found that a Democratic household with green bona fides — paying for electricity from renewable sources, donating to environmental groups and living in a neighborhood of fellow liberals — will reduce its consumption by 3 percent in response to feedback.

"Meanwhile, a Republican household that doesn’t adhere to environmental behaviors will actually increase its consumption by 1 percent. The households that received home energy reports reduced their consumption by about 2 percent overall, but the Republican subset of this group reduced their energy use by 0.4 percent. [...]

"The economists speculate that some conservatives may react angrily at being told to save energy, while others may realize their energy use is lower than average and increase it to match perceived norms. Other tactics may be needed to get conservatives to conserve. [Emphasis added]

"So it seems political affiliation has much to do with the size of one’s carbon footprint. In fact, political leaders of the conservative stripe have been loud and clear in their opposition to moving the country in a greener direction. Back in 2011, Mother Jones ran a story about Michele Bachmann‘s fixation on the 2007 law that required manufacturers to develop energy-efficient light bulbs. Rather than get on-board with any useful effort to develop products and technology that could save energy resources (additionally saving customers money), Bachmann, instead, jumped on the bandwagon of those pushing against the new law, making her opposition part of her ongoing political platform. From the 2011 piece:
"Bachmann sees the law as an affront to American values. 'I think Thomas Edison did a pretty patriotic thing for this country by inventing the lightbulb,' she told a New Hampshire audience in March. 'And I think darn well, you New Hampshirites, if you want to buy Thomas Edison’s wonderful invention, you should be able to!' 
"In reality, no one’s stopping New Hampshirites (or anyone else, for that matter) from buying any kind of lightbulb they please—even the incandescent variety that Bachmann warns will be outlawed unless we pass the Better Use of Light Bulbs (BULB) Act that she supported. (BULB would repeal the energy-efficiency rules.) But Bachmann’s crusade is about much more than energy-conserving bulbs: The Minnesota congresswoman is part of a movement that considers “sustainability” an existential threat to the United States, one with far-reaching consequences for education, transportation, and family values. [NOTE: the BULB Act did not pass.]
"How odd that of all things considered an 'existential threat,' conservatives perceive 'sustainability' as one of them, a view clearly in service to their political unwillingness to see climate change as having a human component, or even, perhaps, something to be concerned about whoever or whatever caused it.

"It might be easy to dismiss this matter as just another area where liberals and conservatives clash, but the real-world ramifications – of millions of right-leaning Americans eschewing conservation methods, products and usage recommendations – have an impact on that real world., a site dedicated to environmental news and commentary, made note that just last month the Energy Department found that “rules requiring utilities to use renewable energy were under attack in over half the states they exist in.” Conservatives are pushing hard against any economic or legislative action that butts up against their unwillingness to embrace environmental concerns that contradict their view of climate change. Again, even at the expense of issues that may directly impact them. Politics trumps logic on this one.

"What seems clear, in response to the miasma of fear-mongering and denial from the right, is that the message of efficiency needs to be couched in some less obvious way in order to get the public to choose the better product without realizing they’re doing it … much like mom disguising carrots to get junior to think something good for him is actually good! How this translates in the grown-up world (though some of this behavior hardly seems to meet the standard), is in the use of advertising that avoids triggering the 'territorial defense' response. For example, the EPA’s Energy Star labels might need to take a backseat in sacrifice to the greater good (hide those carrots!), with businesses and environmentalists focused on finding the right 'language' to communicate their message more benignly.

Dena Gromet from the National Sciences study makes the point:
“There’s not going to be a one-size-fits-all message that will appeal equally. It’s important to know the market you’re appealing to; there are some messages you may want to avoid.”
"Want to get a message across to conservatives? You’ll have to speak their language. A Stanford University study suggests that 'reframing the messaging in terms of preserving the "purity" of the natural world resonated morally with conservatives.' As do environmental messages that focus on jobs, the economy, cost-savings, and energy independence. Just don’t say “green,” whatever you do!

2"It seems silly, in a way, and a little bit troubling, that we’re obliged to manipulate the urgent message of conservation with tricks and tactics of a toddler’s mom, but the mission statement is too important to get petulant about how to achieve it. For now the priority is moving the message forward, so tell them those carrots are really candy and hope the sweetness convinces them to swallow."

Follow Lorraine Devon Wilke on Twitter, Facebook and Rock+Paper+Music; for her archive at Addicting info click here; details .and links to her other work:

A few key phrase in the article, ("Want to get a message across to conservatives? You’ll have to speak their language. A Stanford University study suggests that 'reframing the messaging in terms of preserving the "purity" of the natural world resonated morally with conservatives,') tell us NO THANKS, we've already seen how they communicate! ( AND AND

But we fear for the lives and safety of our Conservative Sheeplets as they are becoming as responsible as their masters to increase the spectre of mass extinction through man-made global warming.  Be careful Sheeplets, you may be joining your leadership as they run for their lives with hordes of people chasing them down the streets for their crimes against humanity!


"Stupidity is a talent for misconception."

Edgar Allan Poe


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