"People’s willingness to believe in climate change varies greatly, as does
their willingness to engage in pro-environmental behaviour, such as energy
conservation. We tried to understand the psychological factors behind these
differences in our recent study.
The problem of climate change presents a social dilemma, one which sets up a
conflict between cooperating for the common good and acting in one’s individual
For instance, if all fishermen abide by fishing quotas, it is good for
everyone. If one fisherman exceeds the quota while everyone else abides by it,
then that individual is better off at the expense of others.
But if it is individually rational for one to exceed the quota, then it is
rational for everyone to do so, resulting in the rapid depletion of fish stock.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is costly. If other countries reduce while
one does not, the latter is better off at the expense of the others. But if
everyone acts to maximise their own self-interest we get greater pollution and
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics