‘It’s very tough, if one doesn’t know about the scientific basis, to cope with the pace of data around such a ‘complicated, fraught issue,’ he said. ‘There’s a superfluity of information – so I guess what most people would do, understandably, is to go back to the question of: who do I trust?’
Likierman – whose own research analyses the subject of judgement in corporate decision-making – connected these problems of information and trust to a range of cognitive biases identified by academic psychologists, including:
- Confirmation bias: cherry-picking data or trusting intermediary authorities according to one’s existing beliefs
- Proximity bias: over-valuing our immediate surroundings when forming judgements, and under-valuing information from geographically distant locations
- Scepticism of ‘motivated information’ offered by emotionally-charged communicators
Christopher Caldwell, CEO of United Renewables and the host of Conversations on Climate, responded by asking Professor Likierman where he saw ‘optimism’ in humanity’s efforts to overcome these biases.
‘There’s the intergenerational issue. It’s all very well for us, but what about the children and grandchildren?
‘The actions you take now are lagged. My sense is that’s the route through which one can appeal, in a way that doesn’t conflict with popular biases,’ answered Professor Likierman.
United Renewables – a full-lifecycle developer of green energy projects in the UK – is committing its own resources to addressing climate communication, by partnering with the London Business School to create the Conversations on Climate podcast. The series invites leading thinkers to explain and challenge existing environmental narratives, with previous guests including Professor Michael Jacobides and Ramez Nasser.
The latest episode will be released on Friday 1st July 2022. The full video of the interview will be available on the United Renewables website along with all previous episodes.
Contact details for news release
Company: United Renewables
Contact: Isabella Hawke