Published online by Cambridge University Press: 14 August 2020
The behavioral sciences were there at the beginning of the systematic study of climate change. However, in the ensuing quarter century, they largely faded from view, during which time public discourse and policy evolved without them. That disengagement and the recent reengagement suggest lessons for the future role of the behavioral sciences in climate science and policy. Looking forward, the greatest promise lies in projects that make behavioral science integral to climate science by: (1) translating behavioral results into the quantitative estimates that climate analyses need; (2) making climate research more relevant to climate-related decisions; and (3) treating the analytical process as a behavioral enterprise, potentially subject to imperfection and improvement. Such collaborations could afford the behavioral sciences more central roles in setting climate-related policies, as well as implementing them. They require, and may motivate, changes in academic priorities.