Risk Perception of Political Leadership

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Award Year: 
Principal Investigator: 
Yoon Ah Shin, SESYNC Postdoctoral Fellow
Brian Beckage, Collaborating Mentor
Katherine Lacasse, Collaborating Mentor

The current project Putting people into climate models: A multi-model approach to integrating human behavior and climate change, led by Drs Brian Beckage and Katherine Lacasse, aims to develop an expanded integrated climate-social model. This model will include a range of human behavior theories and economic feedback, and will be integrated into a system dynamics implementation of an Earth systems model to examine multiple state variables and processes beyond greenhouse gas emissions. Integration of a public policy perspective into this current project is essential to promote people’s behavioral changes in a practical way for the long-term social environmental system. Public policy drives a collective behavioral change in a society by stimulating people’s motivations and intentions for certain purposeful behaviors. Particularly reflected in the Paris Agreement, a voluntary agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), political leadership plays a critical role in policy adoptions and implementations. The political leadership’s decisions for climate change policy are substantially determined by their risk perception toward the climate change risk. As a representative of a national authority, the risk perception of political leadership is critical and can be analyzed by examining international political norms, national industrial interests, and citizens’ opinions, rather than objective scientific information about the future impact of global climate change. As a continuation to expand the Climate Social Model, my future research will address the following question: how the risk perception of political leadership plays a critical role in driving a collective action to mitigate or exacerbate climate change risk.

Associated SESYNC Researcher(s): 
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