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Speaker announcement | Feb 8 4:30pm | Michael Vandenbergh speaks on private sector's role on cli

Michael Vandenbergh, Beyond Politics on climate change

Can we steer around government gridlock and get to our destination of reversing climate change? If we cannot rely on government, what institutions have the power and influence to make a difference?

"Michael Vandenbergh has a unique interdisciplinary perspective on addressing climate change with his expertise in the law and having worked with climate scientists, psychologists, and sociologists. With this experience, Vandenbergh is able to critique and provide lesson from these different fields to provide a needed view of climate change mitigation, not directed by government, but by businesses and households."

-Janet Swim, Professor of Psychology, Penn State University

About Michael Vandenbergh's Work

Authors Michael Vandenbergh and Jonathan Gilligan propose and demonstrate in their new book, Beyond Politics, that the world can buy time, “bypassing government gridlock on climate change," including bypassing aversion to government interventions, by looking to responses by corporations, colleges, advocacy groups, religious organizations, and households. Learn more about Michael, his research interests, courses and publications.

As initiatives like We Mean Business Coalition, with 658 companies with a combined market cap of over $15 trillion in assets, have demonstrated, private companies can be leaders in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and addressing climate change. There are critics of corporate climate efforts (like this research out of Australia) saying they don't go far enough, the investments are short-lived, and are often not science-based. However, as Vandenbergh argues, "the future is a low-carbon economy and that is what businesses understand" and many are putting their wallet where their mouth is.

However, a realistic account of means to climate change mitigation needs realistic assessments of social contexts and human behavioral tendencies.

Therefore, in his talk at Penn State, Vandenbergh will highlight:

  • the contributions that the social sciences can offer to strengthen the private sector’s role

  • research on "solutions messaging"

  • new approaches to accounting for positive and negative spillover effects

  • how to target behaviors likely to both matter and be changeable

  • how to overcome barriers to behavioral policy approaches while attending to inter- and intra-generational justice.

Mark your calendar. Put a reminder on your phone. Write it on your hand. Post-it note on your desk. Bring a's Thursday, February 8 at 4:30pm Room 124 Business Building. No registration or RSVP necessary.

Co-sponsored by Penn State’s Sustainability Institute, Penn State Department of Psychology, and the Smeal College of Business


Authors Michael Vandenbergh and Jonathan Gilligan provide the rationale and brief overview of their new book Beyond Politics

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