ARB Research Seminar

This page updated July 23, 2013

The Hard Work of Making It Easy: Facilitating Climate-Smart Behavior

Susanne Moser, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz and Susanne Moser Research & Consulting

January 13, 2009
Cal EPA Headquarters, 1001 "I" Street, Sacramento, CA



There are those who champion technological innovation and those who advocate changing people’s values as the ultimate solutions to the climate change problem. Ironically, meetings of technology experts typically end with a call on people to change their values (and thus, by implication, their behaviors), while meetings of behavioral experts typically end with calls on policy and technology experts to give people the “right” technologies. Which perspective will prove to be “right” remains to be seen. Both perspectives, however, represent downstream and upstream attempts to intervene in, and change, what people actually do and how they impact the environment.

This presentation will offer both theoretical insights on human behavior and behavior change from diverse and multidisciplinary scientific disciplines as well as practical insights from various outreach campaigns aimed at affecting energy and climate-relevant behavior. From these experiences, the presentation will distill some guiding principles that can inform programs aimed at behavior change; it will also address how a fuller understanding of behavior change helps to design communication and outreach efforts that effectively support intended program goals.

Speaker Biography

Susanne C. Moser, Ph.D., is director and principal researcher of Susanne Moser Research & Consulting in Santa Cruz, California and a research associate at the Institute for Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz. Previously, she served as a research scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado; was a research fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, worked for the Heinz Center in Washington, DC; and served as staff scientist for climate change at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Dr. Moser's current work focuses on adaptation to climate change, resilience, decision support, and effective climate change communication in support of social change. Dr. Moser is a geographer by training (Ph.D. 1997, Clark University), with social science research interests over the last 15 years in the causes, vulnerability, impacts, and adaptive responses to climate change, especially with regard to coastal areas, human health, and forest-reliant communities. Dr. Moser is particularly interested in the effective communication between science, decision-makers and the public.

Dr. Moser contributed to Working Group II of the Nobel prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report, and has advised former Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Project on climate change communication. Dr. Moser is a GECHS Research Associate and co-editor with Lisa Dilling (University of Colorado-Boulder) on a ground-breaking 2007 anthology on climate change communication, called Creating a Climate for Change: Communicating Climate Change and Facilitating Social Change (Cambridge University Press). Dr. Moser's work has been recognized through fellowships in the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program, the UCAR Leadership Academy, Kavli Frontiers of Science Program, and the Donella Meadows Leadership Program.

For a complete listing of the ARB Research Seminars and the related documentation
for the seminars please view the Main Seminars web page