Cooperation in social dilemmas: How can psychology help to meet climate change goals?
New R., Savulescu J., Faber NS.
Effectively managing shared natural resources is essential to protecting and improving our physical environment. This cannot be done without cooperation at international, national and local levels. Bringing together research on social dilemmas from the laboratory and the field gives us hope that we can work together to make a difference: we are social beings not ruled purely by economic motives, but influenced by our social context. Two significant insights from psychology that can help us to fight climate change are the roles of social norms and shared identities. We draw attention to environmentally friendly behaviour as the norm for people we identify with; and promote shared identities at local, national, and global levels in different contexts. While these processes could work for and against the climate change cause – e.g., local needs can conflict with global ones - we make recommendations for policymakers to harness their effects in specific ways.