British attitudes to global warming – how to change behaviours

Free seminar at University of Surrey on 19 June at 13.00, in Room 45B AZ 04

For Family, Health and Home

The manifold forms of climate change denial in British Civil Society, and what they tell about how we might swiftly change behaviour

Dr Jonathan Rowson
Director, RSA Social Brain Centre
A forthcoming report from RSA’s Social Brain Centre will reveal the full spectrum of climate change denial in the UK, based on questions designed for a nationally representative survey conducted by Yougov. The results indicate that while about a fifth of the adult population deny the facts of anthropogenic climate change, about three quarters ignore the implications of these facts in one way or another (emotional, personal, practical and pragmatic denial) with only a relatively tiny group that can be said to be free of denial, living their lives as if they fully accepted the implications of Climate Change.
The research questions tried to understand the scope for improving communication and motivating behaviour change with this range of perspectives in mind. In his talk Dr Rowson will try to integrate some of these findings with his perspective on behaviour change, which includes reflections on the values modes/common cause debate, a fresh perspective on the rebound effect from the adult development literature, and some proposals for action research projects designed to link climate action more directly to the population’s concern for family, health and home.
For seminar enquiries please contact Claire Livingston, the Administrative Co-ordinator of SLRG. There is no cost to attend this seminar but please let Claire know if you plan to attend.


 Dr Jonathan Rowson is Director of The Social Brain Centre at The Royal Society of Arts. He has a wide range of policy and social science research experience and is particularly fascinated by how we might address the manifold challenges posed by climate change. Jonathan holds a first class degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from Oxford University, an Ed.M from Harvard University in Mind, Brain and Education, and an ESRC funded PhD from Bristol University. His Doctoral thesis is an inter-disciplinary and multi-method examination of the concept of wisdom, including a detailed analysis of the challenge of overcoming the psycho-social constraints that prevent people becoming ‘wiser’. A chess Grandmaster, Jonathan was British Champion for three consecutive years 2004-6. He writes a weekly column for the Herald, Scotland’s national newspaper.