At some point in their development and deployment cycles, new environmental technologies and materials are subject to the broader public scrutinizing and judging them. This judgment may be fed back to policy, eventually to foster, hinder or even to prevent application of the technology. Lay people’s risk perception may substantially differ from scientific risk assessment, leading to typical conflicts, communication problems and misunderstandings. The talk will present principles of lay people’s individual risk perception. Factors that play a role in the perception of new risks (e.g. personality factors, trust in the different interested parties, perceived fairness, the influence of the personal social network, just to name a few) will be discussed. Empirical results from the case of climate engineering show how these factors, also in interaction with opinion statements of relevant actors, influence the process of individual risk perception. We discuss some conclusions about fostering the acceptance of (sustainable) new technologies and materials in the broader public.
Andreas Ernst holds a chair of Environmental Systems Analysis/Environmental Psychology and is one of the directors of the Center for Environmental Systems Research (CESR) at the University of Kassel, Germany. He chaired the Graduate Center for Environmental Resarch and Education (GradZ) for ten years and he is one of the directors of the university’s Competence Center for Climate Mitigation and Adaptation (CliMA). From 2010 to 2012, he has served as President of the European Social Simulation Association (ESSA). Trained as a cognitive and environmental psychologist, he has been responsible for a number of interdisciplinary national and international research projects.
Registration link for online talk