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Revisiting the Psychology of Denial Concerning Low-Carbon Behaviors: From Moral Disengagement to Generating Social Change

1
Chair of Sustainability Science and Applied Geography, University of Greifswald, 17487 Greifswald, Germany
2
School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 935; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12030935
Received: 4 December 2019 / Revised: 13 January 2020 / Accepted: 25 January 2020 / Published: 27 January 2020
This paper reassesses the scope for shifting high-carbon personal behaviors in the light of prevailing insufficient political and regulatory action. Our previous research has shown that citizens regard such behavioral shifts as extremely daunting and create a number of psychological denial mechanisms that draw attention to the inaction of others, including governments. Further theoretical insights and relevant new findings have been attained from a more recent survey of more than 1000 German residents. This reveals that direct denial of anthropogenic climate change is replaced by a denial of responsibility for individual climate action. Ways of moral disengagement play a more dominant role, such as the diffusion and displacement of responsibility, although a majority is aware of—and very much concerned about—the climate crisis. More attention needs to be given for further reinterpretation of the role of moral disengagement to single out adequate strategies for different individuals and groups of people, such as making role models more visible to encourage social learning that could accelerate further necessary moral and behavioral transformations. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; behavior change; denial; emotions; low-carbon behavior; moral disengagement; collective action; responsibility; self-efficacy climate change; behavior change; denial; emotions; low-carbon behavior; moral disengagement; collective action; responsibility; self-efficacy
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MDPI and ACS Style

Stoll-Kleemann, S.; O’Riordan, T. Revisiting the Psychology of Denial Concerning Low-Carbon Behaviors: From Moral Disengagement to Generating Social Change. Sustainability 2020, 12, 935. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12030935

AMA Style

Stoll-Kleemann S, O’Riordan T. Revisiting the Psychology of Denial Concerning Low-Carbon Behaviors: From Moral Disengagement to Generating Social Change. Sustainability. 2020; 12(3):935. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12030935

Chicago/Turabian Style

Stoll-Kleemann, Susanne, and Tim O’Riordan. 2020. "Revisiting the Psychology of Denial Concerning Low-Carbon Behaviors: From Moral Disengagement to Generating Social Change" Sustainability 12, no. 3: 935. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12030935

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