Writing in the New York Times, Pulitzer Prize winning science and technology journalist Matt Richtel explained human aversion to creativity. His words may explain why senior bureaucrats and politicians cling to outdated energy policies despite new technologies with fewer destructive side effects:
Research has found that we actually harbor an aversion to creators and creativity; subconsciously, we see creativity as noxious and disruptive, and as a recent study demonstrated, this bias can potentially discourage us from undertaking an innovative project…
“We have an implicit belief the status quo is safe,” said Jennifer Mueller, a professor of management at the University of San Diego and a lead author on the 2012 paper about bias against creativity.
In British Columbia, hydropower and fossil fuels have been prime sources of energy throughout the lives of decision makers. Attachment to those supplies is reassuring, despite soaring economic and environmental costs of mega dams, oil, and natural gas. Meanwhile, the prices of clean alternatives plummet but leaders resist change.
Education consultant Kendra Cherry wrote about status quo bias:
Change can be a scary thing for many people, which is perhaps why many tend to prefer that things simply stay the way they are. In psychology, this tendency is known as the status quo bias, a type of cognitive bias in which people exhibit a preference for the way things are currently. When changes do occur, people tend to perceive them as a loss or detriment.
The status quo bias can make people resistant to change, but it can also have a powerful effect on the decisions they make.
An article in the journal Human Affairs expands the concept:
Inertia processes are seen as dynamic components that slow down or hinder changes towards more pro-environmental behaviour, or hinder environmentally responsible decision-making.
While scientific consensus demands reduction to carbon emissions be made now or never, status quo bias explains why decision makers resist conversion to clean renewables. By directing yearly subsidies worth tens of billions of dollars to fossil fuel producers, senseless leaders subvert the public interest.
Tenacious adherence to old methods of energy creation ensures substantial economic and environmental damage and builds a path to human extinction.