The Seven Dimensions of Climate Change: Introducing a new way to think, talk, and act

The Seven Dimensions of Climate Change: Introducing a new way to think, talk, and act

Category: Guides and Reports

Source: The RSA and COIN

Author(s): Jonathan Rowson, Adam Corner

Year: 2015


In this discussion document, produced to provoke feedback ahead of a final report later this year, we argue that climate change is best understood as a challenge with seven dimensions:

  • In Science we need a new social contract between scientists and society; moving away from a hands off view of just giving the facts towards deeper engagement with communication and policy.
  • With Behaviour we need to face up to ‘stealth denial’ – the fact that the majority of those who understand the problem intellectually don’t live as though they do.
  • From Technology we need deep decarbonisation at scale – we need more and better tools to decarbonise energy, and as quickly as possible.
  • Our Democracy needs to overcome the governance trap – people expect the government to act but government thinks people don’t care about the issue enough; and collective action problems generally prevail.
  • Our Economy needs to invest in the future; which is mostly about sending money away from fossil fuels towards renewables, but may also be about rethinking economic growth models.
  • In Law we need a constraint on extraction at a global level i.e. a legal mechanism to keep fossil fuels in the ground, but we need to be mindful of the financial impact of that (‘carbon bubble’).
  • Throughout our Culture: we need to break ‘climate silence’ and normalise discussions on the issue; moving away from whether it’s happening to what we’re doing about it.

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