Benjamin Orlove | Columbia Climate School | April 21, 2021

In the past few years, terms like “climate crisis” and “climate emergency,” which convey the urgency of climate change, have grown commonplace—increasing in use over tenfold. On the one hand, this is intuitive: climate change is a serious problem, and the global community continues to underinvest in both mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the effects we’re already seeing. On the other hand, though, it’s not clear that people will make better climate decisions when they feel more climate urgency.

When people make decisions under time constraints, opposing forces are at work: more urgency can be focusing, but it can also be distracting. No doubt you’ve experienced both feelings as you’ve approached a deadline. In the context of climate change, which wins out? In other words, if people feel that climate change is more urgent, will they be more likely to take more and better climate action, or will they enter a state of mind that makes them less effective?

Originally published by Columbia Climate School. Read the full article here