The path from futility to progress likely lies in the way that climate change agreements are designed, according to a new study co-authored by Kenneth Scheve, a political science professor affiliated with the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and a senior fellow with the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Affairs.

The study found that architects of global climate treaties can significantly increase public support – even among those who generally oppose international climate cooperation – by adopting features that resonate with norms of reciprocity and distributional fairness, such as maximizing country participation and including enforcement mechanisms. The findings were published online July 25 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.