Psychological issues underlie much climate inaction and scepticism. Climate change can be perceived as psychologically distant, uncertain, and complicated.  It can be profoundly threatening and requires extensive change to our way of doing things.  It requires taking personal responsibility and prioritising long-term well-being over short term gains. 


Psychological science offers tools to address these challenges. These include:

  • The importance of communicating via local, trusted messengers. When people engage in local solutions in their community, they often feel a greater ability to make a difference and more optimism about the future.
  • Rather than a demoralising emphasis on an overwhelming problem, we must stress accessible, actionable solutions that make people feel empowered.
  • We must draw on people’s need to belong to create a shared vision for action and a set of social norms that guide behaviour. People are social creatures, and align our behaviour with others around us.
  • We know climate change harms mental health, both through general ecoanxiety and more severe harms in response to living through climate-related disasters.  Addressing climate change through behavioural insights is vital for mental health especially for young people who are particularly concerned about climate change.

Psychology and climate change resources


Climate change and psychology glossary. Here >


EFPA Psychology and Climate Change Hub. Here >



Visit EFPA newsroom for news on European psychology and climate change 




Commission sets out key steps for managing climate risks to protect people and prosperity. Here >

The Global Psychology Alliance publishes a population climate action framework. Here >

UN Geneva event “Emotions – A missing link towards delivering the SDGs and long-term sustainability?" Here >

Upcoming events

Visit Events for upcoming events on European psychology and climate change.