Behaviour change to address climate change

Lorraine Whitmarsh, Wouter Poortinga, Stuart Capstick

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

103 Citations (SciVal)
414 Downloads (Pure)


Addressing climate change requires profound behaviour change, not only in consumer action, but also in action as members of communities and organisations, and as citizens who can influence policies. However, while many behavioural models exist to explain and predict mitigation and adaptation behaviours, we argue that their utility in establishing meaningful change is limited due to their being too reductive, individualistic, linear, deliberative and blind to environmental impact. This has led to a focus on suboptimal intervention strategies, particularly informational approaches. Addressing the climate crisis requires a focus on high-impact behaviours and high-emitting groups; interdisciplinary interventions that address the multiple drivers, barriers and contexts of behaviour; and timing to ensure interventions are targeted to moments of change when habits are weaker.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-81
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychology
Early online date14 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge support from the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) through the Centre for Climate Change & Social Transformations (CAST). Grant Ref: ES/S012257/1.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Behaviour change
  • Climate change
  • Psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Behaviour change to address climate change'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this