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The prospects for Paris: behavioral insights into unconditional cooperation on climate change

David McEvoy, Todd Cherry

Recent survey evidence from the United States suggests that most Americans support domestic policies to address climate change, and this support is not conditional on other countries’ commitment levels. The finding is somewhat perplexing because climate change is by definition a collective problem that requires a collective response. However, the question of why Americans support unconditional climate initiatives has not been addressed. We present survey evidence that shows a willingness to act alone is not the result of misunderstanding the collective nature of the climate problem, but rather people are driven by notions of responsibility, morality and global leadership.

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