Cognitive Barriers to Environmental Action: Problems and Solutions

Cognitive Barriers to Environmental Action: Problems and Solutions

January 23, 2011 18:13

Cognitive Barriers to Environmental Action: Problems and Solutions

Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers

We highlight three cognitive barriers that impede sound individual decision making that have particular relevance to behaviors impacting the environment. First, despite claiming that they want to leave the world in good condition for future generations, people intuitively discount the future to a greater degree than can be rationally defended. Second, positive illusions lead us to conclude that energy problems do not exist or are not severe enough to merit action. Third, we interpret events in a self-serving manner, a tendency that causes us to expect others to do more than we do to solve energy problems. We then propose ways in which these biases could actually be used to our advantage in steering ourselves toward better judgment. Finally, we outline the key questions on the research frontier from the behavioral decision-making perspective and debunk the myth that behavioral and neoclassical economic perspectives need be in conflict.

+ Full Paper (PDF)

Source:[DocuTicker] Newsletter 165, Jan. 25, 2011

NRC Report Examines Hidden Costs of Energy

"October 19, 2009 — A new report from the National Research Council examines "hidden" costs of energy production and use — such as the the health impacts of air pollution — that are not reflected in market prices of coal or oil. The quantifiable damages alone were an estimated $120 billion in the U.S. in 2005, a number that reflects primarily health damages caused by air pollution from electricity generation and motor vehicle transportation."

Source: National Academies Newsletter;

Energy Economics databases — two new resources

The Library has subscriptions to Global Insights and EIU ( Economist Intelligence Unit). These services cover economic issues worldwide, by region, or country. There is data, economic and financial analysis, forecasting and marketing intelligence for various sectors of the economy. Energy is now a segment in each.

These databases can be found listed under the “Articles and Databases. Global Insight is a monolithic heading, whereas EIU, lists various sectors separately.
The EIU market sector databases are brand new and are currently listed under “New & Featured Databases”.

The Economist” (London), the highly respected and popular periodical, is also published by EIU. Similar to Global Insight, EIU contains news of critical issues, reports and briefings, and data and market analyses.