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FEP Working Papers #5 - Climate Change From Perception To Action

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By Annamaria LAMMEL

Member of the leading authors of the 5th IPCC report. Senior Lecturer in psychology (University Paris8).

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Changement climatique: de la perception à l'action


Is it still possible to deny climate change? This is a phenomenon that has mobilized the world’s most important institutions, decision-makers, scientists, industrialists and bankers, entire societies as well as individuals. Its man-made origins are more and more evident each day, yet people remain disconnected from such a perception, both individually and as groups.

It is therefore unproductive to think that we can inspire people to take action against climate change when their representation of the phenomenon does not entail a full and proper perception of its risks and dangers.

This paper addresses this concern and proposes to show how the study of human perceptions and representations can provide the key to a better understanding of climate-related problems.

To do so, we will explain the need (I) to overcome the obstacles to understanding this complex phenomenon; (II) to encourage a fuller awareness of climate risk; (III) and finally, to develop an ethic that encourages people to take action against climate change.