COP21 and Business as Usual

The prominence effect has important implications for how the global community deals with the issue of climate change. Scott Slovic recently published an article in the journal Environment that examines how the prominence effect plays a role in decision making to combat climate change. After the Paris Agreement, nations continue to emit large amounts of CO2. The prominence effect explains why we don’t adhere to stated values, such as reducing CO2 levels. According to the prominence effect, when a stated value conflicts with another value that is more prominent in our imaginings, the more prominent value will win out. Scott Slovic notes that the effects of climate change are serious, but they are diffuse and long-term. The lack of psychological prominence means that other concerns such as near-term economic growth and stability will be favored in decision making. This is worrisome with regard to climate change, because the long-term effects could be dire, and to island nations and costal communities, even catastrophic.

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The full citation to the article is: Slovic, S. (2016, July/August). COP21 and business as usual. Environment, 58(4), 48–52. doi: 10.1080/00139157.2016.1186446