Can Humans Survive Human Nature? The Political Psychology of Climate Change

Climate Change psychology

John Rolls' presentation is now available for download here - Slides (PDF, 10.22MB)

This seminar will discuss and interpret the extreme political polarisation on climate change in Anglosphere countries like Australia.    

Appropriately scaled climate change response requires both a more nuanced understanding and a more sustained and coordinated effort than has been envisaged in the past.     The focus will have to change from the general public toward the political elite.

The speaker draws on Australian public opinion surveys, research on public response to anthropogenic climate change, and international research on the psychological and social foundations of public opinion, cognitive science and the psychology of decision making and attitude formation.

This seminar will be introduced by Professor Mike Kyrios, Director of the ANU Research School of Psychology, followed by panel discussion and audience Q&A.   Panellists:

  • Dr Will Grant, Australian Centre for National Public Awareness of Science, ANU
  • Professor Mike Smithson, Research School of Psychology, ANU
  • Jacqui Hoepner, Australian Centre for National Public Awareness of Science, ANU


Followed by the ANU Climate Change Institute Christmas drinks.

About the speaker

John Rolls is a chemist, gaining his PhD in solid state chemistry at Flinders University. He spent most of his working life in water resources policy and management in South Australia. He also worked for the SA Government in energy policy and climate change response policy.

 As an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at University of South Australia, he draws on the very wide range of social science research literature to explore the question “What are the underlying social-psychological reasons for the inadequate global response to anthropogenic climate change?”

John is also active in the promotion of the uptake of renewable energy through his role as vice-chair of CORENA, which provides funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency measures for community organizations.

Date & time

4.30–6pm 13 December 2016


Robertson Lecture Theatre, Robertson Building (46E), Sullivans Creek Road, ANU


 Clare de Castella

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