Message from the Director, Mark Lubell

The mission of the Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior (CEPB) is scientific analysis of the interactions among policy institutions, human behavior, and political decisions in the context of environmental and natural resource conflicts. Through developing and testing theoretical models from social science, CEPB seeks to derive practical lessons that can be used to improve environmental policy.

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Three Hard Questions about Network Science

By Mark Lubell - Posted on 20 September 2013

I just returned from a nice junket to beautiful (at least in the fall…) Maine where I gave talks at Bowdoin College and University of Maine. Both institutions were impressive for different reasons, and I met a lot of fun people. The Q&A periods of the talks highlighted three important and hard questions about network science that all of us should think about how to answer.

Nudging environmental behavior

By Michael Levy - Posted on 13 September 2013

Would this grocery cart, outfitted with a reflection of your face, make you buy more produce? Recent research suggests it would.

Psychology Matters

We are remarkably social creatures, evolutionarily tuned to our local environments to an extent we rarely appreciate. Change someone’s environment, you changed their behavior.

Policies that ignore the nuances of human psychology, that assume Homo sapiens and Homo economicus are roughly the same beast, will never reach their hoped-for level of impact.

On the other hand, policy makers who engage with behavioral science will find low-cost, low-opposition measures that are often jaw-droppingly effective.

Nudging

Nudging environmental behavior

By Michael Levy - Posted on 12 September 2013

Would this grocery cart, outfitted with a reflection of your face, make you buy more produce? Recent research suggests it would.

Psychology Matters

We are remarkably social creatures, evolutionarily tuned to our local environments to an extent we rarely appreciate. Change someone’s environment, you changed their behavior.

Policies that ignore the nuances of human psychology, that assume Homo sapiens and Homo economicus are roughly the same beast, will never reach their hoped-for level of impact.

On the other hand, policy makers who engage with behavioral science will find low-cost, low-opposition measures that are often jaw-droppingly effective.

Farmers and Climate Change Policy

By Mark Lubell - Posted on 11 September 2013

It is nice to have the Center's research reach a broader audience. In this case, the research on climate change and agriculture headed by Meredith Niles. Check out the Capital Public Radio interview
here
.

Governing Everest: Tragedy of the Commons at the Top of the World

By Mark Lubell - Posted on 19 June 2013

Lines up to four hours. Piles of garbage and human waste. Dead bodies by the side of the route. Fights between climbing groups. Welcome to Mt. Everest in 2013, and a tragedy of the commons at the top of the world.

A recent article by National Geographic highlights the increasing crowds and environmental problems on Everest. I've never climbed Everest(and don't plan to...), and I'm betting that Elinor Ostrom and Garret Hardin have not climbed there either. But Everest highlights core issues in environmental governance that they would surely recognize.

New Zealand Media Highlights Climate Change and Agriculture Project

By Meredith Niles - Posted on 06 June 2013

Two recent media articles have highlighted the climate change and agriculture project in New Zealand. Today the New Zealand Dominion Post- a Wellington, policy-oriented newspaper, published an article titled, "Rules Worry More than Droughts-Study", highlighting survey results from the Hawke's Bay and Marlborough New Zealand studies. The research found, in part, that New Zealand farmers, just like California farmers, are most concerned about climate related risks from government regulations and economic impacts than biophysical impacts related to water and temperature. Yesterday, Radio New Zealand ran a radio interview with Meredith Niles, the PhD student conducting the research study.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/8766649/Rules-worry-more-than-dr...

http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ruralnews/audio/2557676/mid... (Interview begins at 2:20)

New Policy Briefs Highlight Existing and Future Farmer Practices to Mitigate and Adapt to Climate Change

By Meredith Niles - Posted on 23 April 2013

Today the Center is pleased to release two new policy briefs from the Agriculture and Climate Change Project. The briefs focus on understanding the climate change adaptation and mitigation practices that farmers in New Zealand have already adopted and are likely to adopt in the future. The data comes from a series of interviews and a telephone survey conducted in Hawke's Bay and Marlborough, New Zealand in the Autumn of 2012.

Climate Smart Agriculture: Lessons from a Six-Year Old Kid

By Mark Lubell - Posted on 20 March 2013

We're in the middle of the climate-smart agriculture conference here at UC Davis, which is the third of a series of international conferences focused on how agriculture will adapt to climate change. I have met fascinating people from all over the world involved in important research and on-the-ground actions. It has been gratifying to see lots of people mentioning the importance of social science analysis of decision-making, policy and governance. In the spirit of the conference, I thought I might ask my six-year old son about water and farming. The conversation was enlightening to some of the themes of the conference:

Me: If you were a farmer growing crops with rain, what would you do if the rain stopped?

Son: I would take a bunch of watering cans and fill them up and use them on the plants.

Me: Where would you get the water for the watering cans?

New Policy Briefs: New Zealand Farmers' Climate Change Attitudes

By Meredith Niles - Posted on 10 March 2013

Today the Center is releasing two new policy briefs outlining the first key details in the New Zealand Climate Change and Agriculture project. The study involved a series of interviews with farmers, agricultural industry professionals and local policymakers as well as a survey of farmers in the Hawkes Bay and Marlborough regions of New Zealand between July-October 2012.

Initial results suggest some clear similarities between New Zealand farmers and California farmers (as reported earlier). For example, in Hawkes Bay and Marlborough, New Zealand 51% and 53% of farmers respectively believe the global climate is changing. In California, 54% of farmers agreed with this statement. As well, there are similar patterns for the role of humans in climate change- 37% in Hawkes Bay and 45% in Marlborough agree that humans have a role in climate change; in California this number was 35%.

How Should We Spend Our Climate Dollar?

By Mark Lubell - Posted on 08 March 2013

How should we spend our climate dollar: mitigation or adaptation?

Well, the climate change bad news continues to roll in. The Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii has recorded another large rise in CO2 emissions, raising the total to 395ppm. A new peer reviewed analysis suggests that Annex I countries (the developed countries who are party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change)would have to reduce their emissions levels to 50% below 1990 levels by 2020, to have a medium chance to keep warming at only 2 degrees centigrade.

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