Claim: Government Policy Must Curb the Climate Excesses of the Rich

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The Berlin Hot or Cool Institute has affirmed the green position that only global communism can save us from the carbon demon.

The polluting elite: Why the climate needs ‘radical’ lifestyle changes

by Beh Lih Yi | @BehLihYi | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Tuesday, 5 October 2021 11:09 GMT

You may not feel able to fight global warming on your own – but government policy nudges could help wealthy consumers shift to greener lifestyles, says a new report

By Beh Lih Yi

Oct 5 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – From banning private jets and yachts to cutting back on meat-eating, researchers on Tuesday urged the world’s major economies to adopt “radical” policies to limit the impact of luxury lifestyles on global warming – even if they prove unpopular.

Today’s “lifestyle” carbon footprints in the 20 largest economies are out of line with an internationally agreed goal to keep temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial times, says a new study by the Berlin-based Hot or Cool Institute.

Individual behaviour changes alone will not be sufficient without a major shift in government policies to push citizens to lead greener lifestyles, the researchers said.

The U.N. climate science panel warned in August that global heating is dangerously close to spiralling out of control and will bring climate disruption globally for decades to come.

Which lifestyle choices have the biggest impacts?

Food, housing and personal transport have the largest impact on climate change – representing about four-fifths of total lifestyle carbon footprints, compared to other areas like goods, leisure and services, according to the research.

But individual behaviour shifts alone will not be enough to transition to a low-carbon society, with researchers arguing those must happen alongside broader system change.

“Behaviour change can only do so much without a full turnaround from our pro-growth politics, financial and economic models towards a more holistic wellbeing economy,” said   Sandrine Dixson-Declève, co-president of the Club of Rome, a Swiss non-profit.

Read more: https://news.trust.org/item/20211005110948-0t9b6

The referenced study page has the following passage;

… The study also highlights the huge inequalities and differences in lifestyle-related greenhouse gas emissions among the world’s major economies. An average person in Canada, the country with the highest per-capita emissions among the economies studied, has a lifestyle footprint six times larger than a person in Indonesia.

I’m afraid the sheer absurdity of this comparison collapsed my interest in reading on. I’ve been to Singapore, close to Indonesia. The standout feature of an extreme tropical climate is you don’t need home heating.

Maybe if Canada had a tropical climate, their per capita energy footprint would be more like Indonesia’s.

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October 7, 2021 at 12:07PM

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