Deliberating about Climate Change: The Case for 'Thinking and Nudging'

Dominic Lenzi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Proponents of deliberative democracy believe deliberation provides the best chance of finding effective and legitimate climate policies. However, in many societies there is substantial evidence of biased cognition and polarisation about climate change. Further, many appear unable to distinguish reliable scientific information from false claims or misinformation. While deliberation significantly reduces polarisation about climate change, and can even increase the provision of reliable beliefs, these benefits are difficult to scale up, and are slow to affect whole societies. In response, I propose a combined strategy of 'thinking and nudging'. While deliberative theorists tend to view nudging askance, combining deliberation with nudges promises to be a timelier and more effective response to climate change than deliberation alone. I outline several proposals to improve societal deliberative capacity while reducing climate risks, including media reform, strategic communication and framing of debates, incentivising pro-climate behaviour change, and better education about science.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-336
Number of pages24
JournalMoral Philosophy and Politics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Climate change
  • Climate skepticism
  • Cultural cognition
  • Deliberative democracy
  • Nudge


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