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Andlinger Center Events

Seminar: Gregg Sparkman, Andlinger Center

Date: May 19, 2021

Time: 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Location: Virtual seminar

“Progress on the ‘Wicked’ Problem: Overcoming Behavioral and Decision Making Hurdles to Address Climate Change and Decarbonize Society”

The Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment has partnered with the Irving Institute for Energy & Society at Dartmouth to bring you conversations with early-career energy researchers. On Wednesday, May 19 at 12 p.m., Gregg Sparkman, postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University’s Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, presents his recent research as part of the New Energy: Conversations with Early-Career Energy Researchers series.

About the Talk
Climate change has been aptly described as a “wicked” problem from a behavioral science standpoint as it thwarts key heuristics in our decision making and demands substantial change. One prominent challenge involves how to motivate people to adopt novel sustainable behaviors, technologies, and policy attitudes that go against current norms. In his talk, Dr. Sparkman will discuss a novel approach to this problem: shifting people’s attention away from current norms and onto changes in norms over time (“dynamic norm information”) can motivate people to abandon current norms and adopt more sustainable alternatives. He also investigates a second major challenge: how do we ensure people consistently act across important climate domains, including both behavior and policy support? Past research warns that sustainable behavior may “negatively spill over” and lead people to reduce support for important decarbonization policies. In this talk, Dr. Sparkman will discuss under what (limited) circumstances this occurs, and how achieve “positive spillover” instead so that sustainable actions actually increase decarbonization policy support.

About the Series
New Energy: Conversations with Early-Career Energy Researchers is a multi-university series featuring graduate, post-doctoral, and other early-career researchers sharing their discoveries and perspectives on energy-related topics. From policy to analysis to emerging research, this bi-weekly series will give anyone interested in energy the opportunity to learn from the rising stars in the field. Learn more about the series and the collaborating institutions here.