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Co-benefits of addressing climate change can motivate action around the world

Bain, Paul G.; Milfont, Taciano L.; Kashima, Yoshihisa; Bilewicz, Michał; Doron, Guy; Garðarsdóttir, Ragna B.; Gouveia, Valdiney V.; Guan, Yanjun; Johansson, Lars-Olof; Pasquali, Carlota; Corral-Verdugo, Victor; Aragones, Juan Ignacio; Utsugi, Akira; Demarque, Christophe; Otto, Siegmar; Park, Joonha; Soland, Martin; Steg, Linda; González, Roberto; Lebedeva, Nadezhda; Madsen, Ole Jacob; Wagner, Claire; Akotia, Charity S.; Kurz, Tim; Saiz, José L.; Schultz, P. Wesley; Einarsdóttir, Gró; Saviolidis, Nina M.

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Paul G. Bain

Taciano L. Milfont

Yoshihisa Kashima

Michał Bilewicz

Guy Doron

Ragna B. Garðarsdóttir

Valdiney V. Gouveia

Lars-Olof Johansson

Carlota Pasquali

Victor Corral-Verdugo

Juan Ignacio Aragones

Akira Utsugi

Christophe Demarque

Siegmar Otto

Joonha Park

Martin Soland

Linda Steg

Roberto González

Nadezhda Lebedeva

Ole Jacob Madsen

Claire Wagner

Charity S. Akotia

Tim Kurz

José L. Saiz

P. Wesley Schultz

Gró Einarsdóttir

Nina M. Saviolidis


Personal and political action on climate change is traditionally thought to be motivated by people accepting its reality and importance. However, convincing the public that climate change is real faces powerful ideological obstacles1, 2, 3, 4, and climate change is slipping in public importance in many countries5, 6. Here we investigate a different approach, identifying whether potential co-benefits of addressing climate change7 could motivate pro-environmental behaviour around the world for both those convinced and unconvinced that climate change is real. We describe an integrated framework for assessing beliefs about co-benefits8, distinguishing social conditions (for example, economic development, reduced pollution or disease) and community character (for example, benevolence, competence). Data from all inhabited continents (24 countries; 6,196 participants) showed that two co-benefit types, Development (economic and scientific advancement) and Benevolence (a more moral and caring community), motivated public, private and financial actions to address climate change to a similar degree as believing climate change is important. Critically, relationships were similar for both convinced and unconvinced participants, showing that co-benefits can motivate action across ideological divides. These relationships were also independent of perceived climate change importance, and could not be explained by political ideology, age, or gender. Communicating co-benefits could motivate action on climate change where traditional approaches have stalled.


Bain, P. G., Milfont, T. L., Kashima, Y., Bilewicz, M., Doron, G., Garðarsdóttir, R. B., …Saviolidis, N. M. (2016). Co-benefits of addressing climate change can motivate action around the world. Nature Climate Change, 6(2), 154-157.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 1, 2015
Online Publication Date Sep 28, 2015
Publication Date Feb 1, 2016
Deposit Date May 19, 2016
Publicly Available Date May 20, 2016
Journal Nature climate change.
Print ISSN 1758-678X
Electronic ISSN 1758-6798
Publisher Nature Research
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 6
Issue 2
Pages 154-157
Public URL


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