Our research examines how current norms play out within social interactions in an attempt to understand processes involved in changing or maintaining social norms associated with environmental issues. We investigated perceptions of someone who confronts or fails to confront environmental disregard or racism. Across four studies participants were presented with somebody expressing environmental disregard or racism and someone reacting to this position (confrontation vs. no confrontation). The confrontation situation was constructed using a written social scenario (study 1), a bogus focus group transcript (studies 2 & 3), or a real confrontation by a confederate (study 4). Results of all four studies show that, when presented with someone confronting environmental disregard, participants felt less close to this person and perceived them as less warm than someone who did not confront. However, in the case of racism, the perceived closeness and warmth of the confronter was generally boosted by them confronting. We show that this effect was not the result of perceived hypocrisy on behalf of a confronter of environmental disregard (Study 2). Rather, the perceived morality of the issue in question can partially explained the higher social costs of confronting environmental disregard (study 3). However, experimentally increased salience of the morality of the issue was not able to reduce social costs associated with confronting on environmental grounds (Study 4). Our findings are discussed in terms of the ways in which social norms manifest at the level of social interaction and implications for attempts to foster social action on climate change.