Biological Urges against the Reduction of Greenhouse Gasses

Hendrik Gommer, Gabrielle Basser


This article seeks to explain the apparent inaction of law makers in relation to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by reference to human biological drives. Probably the most basic biological urges are the urge to survive, the urge to reproduce and the urge to search for nutrients, where money and resources can be considered an equivalent for nutrients. We demonstrate how biological drives influence our actions through subliminal thinking. Evidently, the problem of insufficient climate laws may not be easily overcome, as subconscious, biological processes are difficult to alter. The urge to favour group members and the urge to free ride stand in our way. We suggest expanding the in-group, ensuring reciprocity, providing emotionally engaging information, utilizing ego-based incentives and punishing free riders. Probably, this will make implemented solutions more efficient.


global warming; biological urges; out-group; behavioral psychology; treaty; climate change

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Journal of Sustainable Society

ISSN 2168-2585 / eISSN 2168-2593

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