Study aims to bring human behavior into climate change projections

Research using computer models suggests that public attitudes can have a measurable impact on global warming.

Madhur  Anand of the University of Guelph has just published a study that's among the first to try to bring human behaviour into climate change projections.

She and her colleagues found that greenhouse gas emissions are likely to fall if three social factors are present.

There has to be broad public discussion about the issue, people have to feel as if they face some risk, and the cost of reducing that risk has to be reasonable.

The model suggests new social norms will come into force if those three factors are in play.

Anand says that makes it increasingly possible the globe could stay within the one-and-a-half degrees of warming that scientists recommend.

She says most major changes in society haven't happened because of government policies or penalties, but because of public pressure.