A contribution co-authored by Dr Irene Lorenzoni is featured in the 30th anniversary issue of Global Environmental Change. Progress in understanding and overcoming barriers to public engagement with climate change is one of ten invited commentaries from authors among the highest cited papers from the journal over the period 2001-2019. It follows up on the 2007 publication Barriers perceived to engaging with climate change among the UK public and their policy implications and the new commentary reflects on research published over the past decade and a half on engagement with climate change, from diverse disciplines and perspectives.
The commentary calls for more work to
- Identify and operationalise drivers of public engagement and behaviour change across a range of contexts
- Identify when to undertake interventions and how to effectively combine infrastructural, economic, educational, social and other measures to maximise behavioural change
- Explore how leaders, champions, messengers and media can help reshape social norms towards more sustainable futures.
- Explore how younger generations understand climate change, deal with climate anxiety and participate in societal transformation.
The commentary concludes that the focus for researchers should be on testing novel interventions to mobilise society and reshape lifestyles, and for policy-makers to work with publics to apply such interventions in fair and effective ways to tackle climate change while also addressing wider social goals.