ASPIRing to mitigate climate change: Superordinate identity in global climate negotiations

Luisa Batalha*, Katherine J. Reynolds

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    39 Citations (Scopus)


    The issues surrounding rising levels of atmospheric CO 2 and climate change have become part of the collective conscious and the vernacular of world leaders, media, and the public alike. Despite the widespread concern and attention, attempts to achieve a global commitment to mitigate climate change are failing. In this article, we suggest that the Actualizing Social and Personal Identity Resources model (ASPIRe; Haslam, Eggins, & Reynolds, 2003), developed to help organizations become more sustainable and productive, can promote more efficient negotiations in matters of global environmental concern. Using this model as a framework, the dynamics of the United Nations (UN) meeting in Copenhagen are scrutinized along with suggestions for how to structure future negotiations. Building on an understanding of existing UN-type committee structures, it is argued that as the interests of individual nations and those of like-minded other nations (subgroup interests) become the real basis for decision making on the issue of climate change the more likely it is that a higher-order superordinate identity will emerge, which promotes aligned action. To date, the psychological aspects of social and behavioral change have been neglected, which could be a factor in explaining the lack of coordinated action on climate change.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)743-760
    Number of pages18
    JournalPolitical Psychology
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


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