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Psychologist/Economist Per Espen Stoknes Offers Persuasion Tips to Climate Change Activists

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Per Espen Stoknes is a Norwegian psychologist, economist, consultant and author who joins us from Oslo to share his advice for winning the debate over climate change.Stoknes’ new book is What We Think About When We Try Not to Think About Global Warming: Toward a New Psychology of Climate Action. Here is an 8-minute animation based on the book, and here‘s a recent article on it in the Financial Times.

The conversation opens with discussion of President Obama’s new EPA rules on emissions from coal-fired power plants, and Stoknes suggests ways to build consensus in social media and other media.  He notes that only 13% of Americans are really aware and active on climate issues, and that most people have tuned out from “doom and gloom” messages.  Stoknes shares PBC’s frustration with Obama’s years of delay on a Keystone pipeline decision.

We discuss California Gov. Jerry Brown’s strong statements at the recent Vatican conference, which seem contradicted by Brown’s silence as a business partner plans to ship Utah coal to Asia through the port of Oakland, and by Brown’s unwillingness to regulate or stop fracking here.

Using these examples, Stoknes offers tips on how to frame the message and deliver it.  He explains how to counter “the 5 D’s”: Distance, Doom, Dissonance, Denial and iDentity with a positive vision of the world that has properly addressed human contributions to climate change.