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Climate Change and Conflict: Motivational Approaches to Understanding Conflict Over Environmental Issues
Keywords: Climate Change; Conflict Resolution; Social Psychology; Motivation; Policy
Abstract: Climate change exacerbates social conflict between nations, within nations, across generations, and across individuals. This symposium examines how social conflict impedes enactment of climate policy and how policy makers and practitioners might manage such conflict. Van Boven examines how polarization in the US between Democratic and Republican citizens toward climate policy largely reflects false norms of partisan opposition. Sherman reviews the use of self-affirmation to reduce intergroup biases, which illustrates the role of self-threat in perpetuating conflict over climate policy. Pearson shows how salient economic inequality increases equity concerns to motivate efforts to combat climate change. Wade-Benzoni examines the inherent conflict between current and future generations in negotiating sustainability issues and shows that inducing legacy motivations increases concern for intergenerational beneficence. These papers illustrate the intertwined nature of conflict and climate change and draw on social psychological insights to suggest potential motivational approaches to reduce barriers to conflict resolution.