Climate change and moral judgement

Journal name:
Nature Climate Change
Year published:
Published online


Converging evidence from the behavioural and brain sciences suggests that the human moral judgement system is not well equipped to identify climate change — a complex, large-scale and unintentionally caused phenomenon — as an important moral imperative. As climate change fails to generate strong moral intuitions, it does not motivate an urgent need for action in the way that other moral imperatives do. We review six reasons why climate change poses significant challenges to our moral judgement system and describe six strategies that communicators might use to confront these challenges. Enhancing moral intuitions about climate change may motivate greater support for ameliorative actions and policies.


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  1. Department of Psychology, 1277 University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403-1227, USA

    • Ezra M. Markowitz &
    • Azim F. Shariff
  2. Environmental Studies Program, 5223 University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403-5223, USA

    • Ezra M. Markowitz

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