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The Cognitive Dimension of Climate Policy

Last modified Monday, April 28, 2008 04:00 PM

How do we change people's thinking in order to marshall support for a meaningful and enduring climate policy?

Addressing the climate crisis requires strategies that promote public understanding and lasting support for sound policy that will endure for decades even in the face of repeated attacks. At the Rockridge Institute we explore political cognition – the frames, values, worldviews, and modes of thought that shape political understanding – to build a platform for effective solutions.

Coming Soon: A Full Report on the Cognitive Dimension of Climate Policy and Additional Articles

Satellite Image of Hurricane Katrina

Climate Policy:

Comparing Climate Proposals: A Case Study in Cognitive Policy (also available as a PDF)

  • This analysis of Lieberman-Warner and Cap and Dividend reveals the importance of human cognition in the policy-making process.

How Conservatives Have Duped Us in the Global Warming Fight

  • A strategic idea advanced by conservatives is hindering efforts of progressives to solve the climate crisis.

Why We Are Losing the Global Warming Battle

  • Solving the climate crisis requires that we cultivate a new commonsense.

The Key Ideas Behind the Sky Trust

  • Revealing the underlying ideas and assumptions behind policy proposals is necessary for finding effective solutions.

Responding to Our Energy Challenges:

Energy Crisis Won't "Wait for the Market"

  • Central to addressing the climate crisis is the way markets are understood.

Debating Energy as if Communities Mattered

  • At the heart of our energy debate is the need for livable communities. This idea has been absent for too long, impoverishing the debate considerably.

The Coming Biofuels Disaster

  • Biofuels are not the clear solution they seem to be. They do not meet the "livability" criterion for any sustainable solution to our energy woes.

Shifting the Climate of Security

  • The climate crisis can help shift the meaning of security to encompass a broad array of progressive concerns.

Climate in the News:

Beyond Extreme: The Illusion of a New Climate Centrism

  • Getting our labels right is important to the environmental movement. This article clarifies some of the confusion between labels and ideology in media coverage of the climate debate.

The 'Feel Good' Approach to Climate Distortion

  • A number of rhetorical tactics to mislead the public are explored to reveal the importance of self-knowledge in citizen action.

Bush's Trade Barriers to Climate Success

  • Narratives trump facts. This article explores the narrative used by President Bush to capture media attention without changing his position on global warming in any genuine way.

When Climate Message is Strong, Attack the Messenger!

  • Al Gore's credibility is bound to the framing of messages by the media. This article reveals the rhetorical tricks intended to spread doubt about his message by attacking his character.

Climate and the Psychology of Loss

  • Fear is often used to deter the public from taking action. This article presents a well-known psychological mechanism to reveal how feelings of loss emerge through crafted language.

The Environmental Movement:

How Can We Make 'Green' an Identity?

  • Narratives shape our perceptions of environmentalism and hold the key to making "green" a popular identity.

Fads, Frames, and the Environment

  • The environmental movement is here to stay. It just needs to overcome a few faulty frames to really go mainstream.

Ways to Get Involved:

Media Contact:

Please contact Joe Brewer for inquiries about this initiative.

What's Next
While the Rockridge Institute closed in April 2008, the Institute's staff remain committed to fulfilling the progressive vision it advocated and are available for consultations, trainings, and speaking engagements.

Find out more.

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