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Rebecca Colvin

Australian National University

Based in


Bec Colvin is a social scientist and senior lecturer with the Resources, Environment & Development Group at the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy. Bec researches the social and political dimensions of contentious issues associated with climate policy and energy transition. Her research is focused on understanding the complexity of how different people and groups engage with social, policy, and political conflict about climate and energy issues, particularly through the theoretical lens of the social identity approach. She has explored conflict about wind energy, coal seam gas, coal, and climate policy and energy transition more broadly, in settings ranging from the public sphere through to local communities.

Bec is lead investigator on a 2022-2025 Australian Research Council funded Discovery Project that that seeks to understand the influence of ‘unconventional advocates’ – like farmers, business people, and political conservatives – on public opinion about climate policy, and holds a 2023-2026 Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award that aims to identify ways to establish constructive and community-led dialogue on regional futures in coal-producing areas.

At the Crawford School of Public Policy, Bec teaches courses on the role and practice of communication in climate and environmental policy, quantitative social research methods, independent research on climate policy, and is Co-Convener of the Master of Climate Change and Convenor of the Graduate Certificate of Climate Policy. Bec is on the editorial board of leading journal Environmental Research Letters, and is a regular contributor to the media on issues to do with climate and energy.

Focus areas of expertise

Climate policy and politics Communications research Public opinion Social movements

How to Connect



Burnard, A. & Colvin, R. M. 2022. Storylines of Geoengineering in the Australian Media: An Analysis of Online Coverage 2006–2018. Environmental Communication, DOI: 10.1080/17524032.2022.2141290.

Colvin, RM & Przybyszewski, E 2022, ‘Local residents’ policy preferences in an energy contested region – The Upper Hunter, Australia’, Energy Policy, vol. 162, pp. 112776.

Sin-ampol, P, Daniell, KA & Colvin, RM 2022, ‘Social Identities and Unequal Vulnerabilities under Structural Transition to Community-based Flood Risk Governance in the Yom River Basin’. In: A Drogoul, EE, LHT Phuong & S Lagrée (eds.) Inequalities and environmental changes in the Mekong River Basin. France: AFD Editions.

Colvin, RM & Przybyszewski, E 2022, ‘Local residents’ policy preferences in an energy contested region – The Upper Hunter, Australia’, Energy Policy, vol. 162, pp. 112776.

Karcher, DB, Cvitanovic, C, van Putten, IE, Colvin, R M, Armitage, D, Aswani, S, Ballesteros, M, Ban, NC, Barragán-Paladines, MJ, Bednarek, A, Bell, JD, Brooks, CM, Daw, TM, de la Cruz-Modino, R, Francis, TB, Fulton, EA, Hobday, AJ, Holcer, D, Hudson, C, Jennerjahn, TC, Kinney, A, Knol-Kauffman, M, Löf, MF, Lopes, PFM, Mackelworth, PC, McQuatters-Gollop, A, Muhl, E-K, Neihapi, P, Pascual-Fernández, JJ, Posner, SM, Runhaar, H, Sainsbury, K, Sander, G, Steenbergen, DJ, Tuda, PM, Whiteman, E & Zhang, J 2022 Lessons from bright-spots for advancing knowledge exchange at the interface of marine science and policy. Journal of Environmental Management, 314, 114994.

Colvin, R.M. & Jotzo, F. 2021, ‘Australian voters’ attitudes to climate action and their social-political determinants‘, PLOS ONE, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. e0248268.

Karcher, D. B., Cvitanovic, C., Colvin, R. M., van Putten, I. E. & Reed, M. S. 2021. Is this what success looks like? Mismatches between the aims, claims, and evidence used to demonstrate impact from knowledge exchange processes at the interface of environmental science and policy. Environmental Science & Policy, 125, 202-218.

Schenuit, F, Colvin, R.M., Fridahl, M, McMullin, B, Reisinger, A, Sanchez, DL, Smith, SM, Torvanger, A, Wreford, A & Geden, O 2021, ‘Carbon Dioxide Removal policy in the making: Assessing developments in 9 OECD cases’, Frontiers in Climate, DOI: 10.3389/fclim.2021.638805.

Witt, B, Althor, G, Colvin, R.M., Witt, KJ, Gillespie, N, McCrea, R, Lacey, J & Faulkner, T 2021, ‘How environmental values influence trust and beliefs about societal oversight and need for regulation of the Australian cattle industry’, Environmental Research Letters.

Harker-Schuch, I., Lade, S., Mills, F. & Colvin, R.M. 2020, ‘Opinions of 12 to 13-year-olds in Austria and Australia on the concern, cause and imminence of climate change’, Ambio,

Badullovich, N., Grant, W., Colvin, R.M. 2020. Framing climate change for effective communication: A systematic map. Environmental Research Letters, DOI:


Rebecca M. Colvin, G. Bradd Witt, & Justine Lacey. 2020. “Power, perspective, and privilege: The challenge of translating stakeholder theory from business management to environmental and natural resource management,” Journal of Environmental Management (October 2020).

Inez Harker-Schuch, Steven Lade, Franklin Mills, & Rebecca M. Colvin. 2020. “Opinions of 12 to 13-year-olds in Austria and Australia on the concern, cause and imminence of climate change,” Ambio (September 2020).

Rebecca M. Colvin. 2020. “Social identity in the energy transition: an analysis of the “Stop Adani Convoy” to explore social-political conflict in Australia,” Energy Research & Social Science (August 2020).

Nicholas Badullovich, Will J. Grant, & Rebecca M. Colvin. 2020. “Framing climate change for effective communication: A systematic map,” Environmental Research Letters  (July 2020).

Rebecca M. Colvin, Steven Crimp, Sophie Lewis, & Stuart Mark Howden. “Implications of Climate Change for Future Disasters.” In Natural Hazards and Disaster Justice: Challenges for Australia and Its Neighbours, London, United Kingdom: Palgrave Macmillan  (January 2020).

Rebecca M. Colvin, G. Bradd Witt,  Justine Lacey, & Rod McCrea. “The role of conflict framing and social identity in public opinion about land use change: An experimental test in the Australian context,” 

Environmental Policy and Governance 30, 84-98 (January 2020).

Rebecca M. Colvin et al. 2019. “Learning from the climate change debate to avoid politicisation and polarisation on negative emissions,Environmental Communication (July 2019).

Christopher Cvitanovic, Stuart Mark Howden, Rebecca M. Colvin, Albert Norström, Alison M. Meadow, & P. F. E. Addison. 2019. “Maximising the benefits of participatory climate adaptation research by understanding and managing the associated challenges and risks,” Environmental Science & Policy (April 2019).

Glenn Althor, Simon Mahood, G. Bradd Witt, Rebecca M. Colvin, & James E. M. Watson. 2018. “Large-scale environmental degradation results in inequitable impacts to already impoverished communities: A case study from the floating villages of Cambodia,” Ambio (February 2018).

Justine Lacey, Stuart Mark Howden, Christopher Cvitanovic, & Rebecca M. Colvin. 2017. “Understanding and managing trust at the climate science–policy interface,” Nature Climate Change (December 2017).

Rebecca M. Colvin, G. Bradd Witt, & Justine Lacey. 2015. “The social identity approach to understanding socio-political conflict in environmental and natural resources management,” Global Environmental Change (September 2015).