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Employee Activism Works—Even When It Doesn’t

Movements that once seemed futile have produced big results over time thanks to “behavioral contagion,” a.k.a. peer pressure.

EATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 20: Amazon and other tech employees walkout past the Amazon Spheres during the Global Climate Strike on Sept. 20, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. 

EATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 20: Amazon and other tech employees walkout past the Amazon Spheres during the Global Climate Strike on Sept. 20, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. 

Photographer: Karen Ducey/Getty Images

One of the most exciting fields in climate science at present is attribution studies: investigating the extent to which climate change can be blamed for raising the odds of specific weather conditions, such as heatwaves and drought.

There’s another climate attribution issue out there, though, that’s potentially more important: understanding what causes individuals, businesses and governments to change their policies on climate in favor of the more dramatic emissions reductions the world needs. That’s an important backdrop to Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos’s announcement last week that he would give $10 billion to climate researchers and activists.