Cognitive and Behavioral Challenges in Responding to Climate Change

by Sam Peterson

A serious increase in the rate of climate change began almost two centuries ago with the inception of fossil fuel combustion, and global warming became a focal point in media coverage more than twenty years ago, yet no industrialized or developing nation has sufficiently reduced greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), or adequately educated its populace to the dangers of rapidly fluctuating global temperatures. Norgaard examines worldwide response, or lack thereof, to climate change in a Development Economics background paper for the 2010 World Development Report for the World Bank and finds that citizens generally do care about climate change, but a systemic and systematic psychological routine of denial and widespread misinformation hinder the public response. Continue reading