Behavioral sciences in the latest IPCC report on the Mitigation of Climate Change

The latest IPCC report on the Mitigation of Climate Change has a lot of meat in it for those engaged in human-centered design, behavioral change strategies, and behavioral sciences.

The term “choice architecture” is mentioned 26 times, “behavioural change” 80 times, “nudge” and “nudging” 52 times, and “behavioural” 284 times.

Most of the mentions are in chapter 5 of the full report entitled “Demand, services and social aspects of mitigation” of which you can find the table of contents on page 753 of the pdf.

With its 2913 pages, the document is a heavy chunk to read, but Adele Peters of Fast Company gives us a vert good introductory framing in Fast Company, based also on her interview with behavioral science advisor Mindy Hernandez, who leads the World Resources Institute’s Living Lab for Equitable Climate Action.

The IPCC report estimates that “comprehensive demand-side strategies” across all sectors could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% to 70% globally by 2050. The report suggests multiple types of interventions, from nudging consumers to eat more sustainably or buy more repairable, durable products, to redesigning infrastructure to help people shift from cars to biking or public transit.