Professor Karen O’Brien: People are the most powerful solution to climate change

In a new video, Karen O’Brien shares her perspective on why all kinds of behavioural changes are important, and how to encourage them.

This article is part of the ISC’s new series, Transform21, which will explore the state of knowledge and action, five years on from the Paris Agreement and in a pivotal year for action on sustainable development.

As findings from the recently released Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group 1 make abundantly clear, climate change is already happening in all regions of the world, and rapid action is needed now to curb the most dangerous effects.

In a new video, Karen O’Brien (University of Oslo, Norway, and cChange) talks to Nuala Hafner about what we can all can do to mitigate climate change, and to inspire others to make changes towards more sustainable behaviours.

“We really need to widen the solution space: we really need to begin to see lots of different possibilities”

Covering topics like how COVID-19 has affected behaviour change and how to speak with skeptical friends, Karen O’Brien says that only by seeing people not as objects to be changed but as agents of change themselves, can we open up space for thinking about new possibilities.


Karen O’Brien is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Human Geography at the University of Oslo, Norway. She is also co-founder of CHANGE, a company that supports transformation in a changing climate. Karen has participated in four reports for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and as part of the IPCC was a co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.


Photo: @markheybo via Flickr.

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