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Per Espen Stoknes

Psychologist, economist, serial-entrepreneur and politician

“The biggest barrier to stopping climate change is between our ears. It's about six inches thick, it's our brain.”

Per Espen Stoknes is a psychologist with a PhD in economics, co-founder of clean-energy company GasPlas, member of the Norwegian Parliament and co-chair at the Center for Green Growth at BI Norwegian Business School. He is a renowned thought leader for a new psychology behind climate change, always advocating for finding positive stories to talk about climate crisis to avoid fatigue.

In 2005, Per Espen Stoknes stumbled on statistics, showing that the concern in richer Western countries for climate change was declining since 1990. Although climate scientists became more certain, people started to become less concerned. Being a psychologist, he got interested in exploring the reasons beyond this psychological climate paradox as he calls it. By joining outspoken denialism, people find refuge from fear and guilt. Per Espen believes denial is based in self-defence, not ignorance, intelligence, or lack of information. His latest book is What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming, which won the American Libraries Association’s "Outstanding Academic Title" award for 2015.