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Making behavioral science integral to climate science and action

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 August 2020

BARUCH FISCHHOFF*
Affiliation:
Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Institute for Politics and Strategy, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
*
*Correspondence to: Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Institute for Politics and Strategy, Carnegie Mellon University, Porter Hall 223E, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA15213, USA. E-mail: baruch@cmu.edu

Abstract

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.

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Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press

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