Leveraging social science to generate lasting engagement with climate change solutions

Action on climate change is urgently needed. Mitigating climate change requires swift action on all levels, from individuals, communities, and governments. Because it is a problem driven by the activities of people, and the resources on which they depend, solutions must therefore revolve around the actions and demands of people. Thus, there is a need to engage in social climate science.

Although previous research has led to significant progress in the understanding of how to effectively communicate the existence and seriousness of climate change—and how to motivate people to behave in ways that help mitigate it—relatively little research has investigated the factors that lead to enduring change. In this perspective, Matthew H. Goldberg and colleagues highlighted three promising areas of research that can inform efforts to answer the question of how to generate enduring change—deep engagement, general mental models, and social norms—and propose a research agenda aimed at generating enduring motivation to act on climate change.

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