Shifting the Focus on Climate Change–Rory O’Riordan

The global climate change issue often gets a view of “its not my problem”. People for different motives take this kind of view. A highlight and overarching theme from these kinds of words show how private incentives can interfere with achieving lasting change to combat climate change. Most people tend to kick the can down the road and let later generations deal with it. But what could be done to change this, and implement positive change? Though some may suggest that the problem can be fixed through smaller numbered regimes, treaties, or non-binding commitments, the true solution lies in the mental framing of the issue.

The primary blocker of implementing substantial change to fight climate change is the way the issue is viewed. In accordance with the Tucker article, the real group who will be concerned with this issue is the younger people who will be around in the decades to come. However they do not represent a majority of those who are politically active. The older population has no incentive to pull for change that will be beneficial policy as they will not be around when things go bad. Others who do not have a massive interest in the subject are the countries that are concerned with their development because they are trying to grow their nations. These countries are seeking economic growth and therefore are not motivated to help reduce their emissions. Another example of detrimental private incentives can be seen in other types of countries as well. With the climate changing as it is, it produces a longer growing season for countries like Canada. Therefore even though climate change is bad, they think that they will see some personal benefits. However for most countries the climate change will force a decrease in the food supply. As the climate changes, some foods will not be able to be grown. This is why in order to implement substantial change; the focus needs to be shifted away from personal gains towards communal troubles in the not-so distant future. Furthermore the issue needs to be pushed on stronger. All too many times in the past, agreements have set the bar too low. For example, in the 1970s, the U.S. signed on an illegal dumping convention, yet the U.S had already implemented national legislation effecting change. Therefore there was no real impact done by the U.S.. The mentality needs to shift towards lasting, and effective change. Regimes need to be pushing themselves to produce lasting outcomes down the road.

http://www.uio.no/studier/emner/annet/sum/SUM4015/h08/Victor.pdf

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2013/11/04/the-fundamental-political-challenge-of-climate-change/

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One thought on “Shifting the Focus on Climate Change–Rory O’Riordan”

  1. Rory, you also raise a good point about how development and climate change initiatives have mismatching goals. In the economic development requires low manufacturing costs to produce goods and services rapidly, many climate change initiatives would make production more expensive and time consuming. For certain member states in the EU and the U.S., their economies can comply with these bylaws. But in India and China, who are trying to sustain economic growth over 6% each year, a hit on their production and service would make it much harder to keep this growth percentage. This is the primary reason why they find it hard to cooperate because it will require a shift in their domestic goals. Yes, their development is key but at some point there needs to be a time in which these countries including others like Australia, will recognize that Climate change is not just an issue that they can be solved by throwing money at but rather an issue that needs attention from all sectors of society. To wait for a catastrophe to happen to help facilitate action is too risky for these countries and for the world.

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