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Climate Psychology and Environmental Policies

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Hazards and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 May 2021) | Viewed by 587

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
Faculty of Technology, Policy, and Management, Department: Multi-Actor Systems, Delft University of Technology, P.O. Box 1015, 2600 GA Delft, the Netherlands
Interests: behavioral science; public management; social influence; cognitive biases; environmental policy; technology; nudging; framing; energy transition; social innovation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Associate Professor, Department of Management in the Built Environment, Faculty of Architecture and Built Environment, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands
Interests: building energy efficiency; housing energy renovation; behavioral change; supply chain integration for prefabrication; process & social innovation; transaction costs; market barriers; energy transition
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Global warming is one of the greatest challenges of our times. Scientists regard anthropogenic greenhouse gases—those resulting from human-induced sources—as the main contributor. So, we humans must change our behavior in the short term to mitigate the effects of global warming in the long term. However, despite the efforts of politicians, policymakers, and activists, climate action lies behind.

Traditionally, technological, financial, and institutional barriers have been identified as important hindrances to climate action. However, over the years, research has indicated that psychological barriers are also playing a defining role, and different schools of thought from psychology, behavioral economics, and new institutional economics try to explain these barriers in terms of biases, heuristics, hassles, and transaction costs (e.g., de Vries, 2020; de Vries et al., 2019; Ebrahimigharehbaghi & Qian et al., 2019, 2020; Gifford, 2011; Hoppe & de Vries, 2019; Huijts et al., 2019).

Policymakers that aim to motivate climate action could benefit from an in-depth investigation and holistic overview of these overlooked psychological barriers. Stated differently, climate psychology has the potential to improve compliance with environmental policies in order to increase sustainable behavior (e.g., de Vries, 2020; Qian et al 2019). However, empirical, systematic research into the exact nature of climate psychology and the effectiveness of interventions that make use of them are lacking (e.g., de Vries et al., 2019; Ebrahimigharehbaghi & Qian et al., 2019, 2020).

In short, we consider climate psychology as a promising upcoming scientific field with a strong societal and policy impact that has not yet reached its potential.

This Special Issue seeks to explore and further conceptualize and define the phenomenon of climate psychology—particularly in relation to environmental policies. We invite authors from different disciplines to contribute to this Issue. All types of articles are welcome.

Dr. Gerdien de Vries
Dr. Queena K. Qian
Guest Editors



  1. de Vries, G. (2020). Public communication as a tool to implement environmental policies. Social Issues and Policy Review, 14, 244—272.
  2. de Vries, G., Rietkerk, M. & Kooger, R. (2019). The hassle factor as a psychological barrier to a green home. Journal of Consumer Policy, 1-8.
  3. Ebrahimigharehbaghi, S., Qian, Q.K., Meijer, F.M., & Visscher, H.J. (2019). Unravelling Dutch homeowners' behaviour towards energy efficiency renovations: What drives and hinders their decision-making? Energy Policy, 129, 546-561.
  4. Ebrahimigharehbaghi, S., Qian, Q.K., Meijer, F.M., & Visscher, H.J. (2020), Transaction costs as a barrier in the renovation decision-making process: A study of homeowners in the Netherlands, Energy and Buildings, 215, 109849.
  5. Gifford, R. (2011). The dragons of inaction: psychological barriers that limit climate change mitigation and adaptation. American Psychologist, 66, 290-302.
  6. Hoppe, T., & de Vries, G. (2019). Social innovation and the energy transition. Sustainability, 11, 141.
  7. Huijts, N.M., de Vries, G., &  Molin, E.J. (2019). A positive shift in the public acceptability of a low-carbon energy project after implementation: The case of a hydrogen fuel station. Sustainability, 11, 2220.
  8. Jia, L., Qian, Q.K., Meijer, F.M., & Visscher, H.J. (2020), Stakeholders’ risk perception: A perspective for proactive risk management in residential building energy retrofits in China. Sustainability, 12, 2832.

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Climate change
  • Climate inaction
  • Behavioural insights
  • Sustainable behavior
  • Transaction costs
  • Cognitive biases
  • Environmental policies

Published Papers

There is no accepted submissions to this special issue at this moment.
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