Global warming could be a disaster sooner than later

“Whether it’s saving for retirement, or thinking about the health of your lifestyle in terms of your diet and whether you smoke,” said Matthew Nisbet, who studies science and communication at Northeastern University, “people not only discount a possible future risk, but also tend to have an optimistic bias, in that ‘these risks might affect other people but they’re not going to affect me.'”

Evidence from behavioral science suggests we do respond to risk in some cases: if there is a clear bad guy, if there is a clear example of it, or if it stirs up emotion.

The risk of climate change typically ticks none of those boxes. These barriers have been labeled “dragons of inaction” by some scientists and policymakers.