People respond to such dissonance in one of two ways: They change their behavior, or they engage in "cognitive restructuring" -- "trivializing pro-environmental attitudes" to make themselves feel less guilty.
How can governments encourage more of the first response and less of the second? According to Lavergne and Pelletier, what matters is the way people are motivated to change: When they feel pressured, they dismiss the problem. Lavergne wrote by e-mail that a better approach is getting people to believe in the change they're supposed to make:
"This could be achieved by including stakeholders in the decision-making and policy formulation processes, offering people several options and alternatives to choose from in terms of adopting new pro-environmental behaviours, providing positive and constructive feedback to people about their progress towards their pro-environmental goals in real time, and acknowledging the day-to-day dilemmas, challenges, and barriers people are likely to face in a non-judgmental way as well as offering advice on how to overcome them."
The Bloomberg article goes on to examine other research that seems to suggest, when it comes to humankind, the "boiling frog" syndrome is very real.