Panel discussion: Behavioural climate policy in the global community

Green nudges and other forms of behavioural climate policy can be cost-effective methods to help citizens and communities make climate-friendly choices. This panel brings together scientists and ethicists to discuss how these steering instruments work and what are their effects and limitations.

The panel is chaired by Jarno Tuominen. The panellists are Professor Till Grüne-Yanoff, Professor Kai Ruggeri, Nils Sandman, and Polaris Koi.

Koi, Sandman and Tuominen are Senior Researchers in the Nudging for Climate research consortium, which is part of Finland’s Strategic Research programme. Nils Sandman explains what climate nudges are and introduces the Nudging for Climate research project. The project investigates the viability of nudges to help communities move to climate-friendly transport, and to fortify forests as carbon sinks.

Professor Till Grüne-Yanoff discusses different types of behavioural policy interventions, especially nudges and boosts. Nudges harness existing biases, while boosts foster competences. This has important implications for their effectiveness, persistence and spill-over effects, as well as for their moral acceptability. Grüne-Yanoff describes an experimental design to test these implications for energy conservation in a Swedish student dormitory.

Professor Kai Ruggeri discusses economic inequality, which is a major complication for addressing individual behaviour when it comes to climate change. In short, some green choices are a realistic choice only for healthy and wealthy people, whereas other green policies may backfire for low-income groups. Ruggeri discusses how to address this complication in future climate policy.

Polaris Koi explores whether behavioural insights can help resolve climate change as a problem of global collective action. Behavioural policy has traditionally focused on the local impacts of the policy, but the climate crisis requires a global perspective that goes beyond interventions in the Global North and addresses geographic differences in world health, wealth, and education.