May 30 (IPS) – The vast majority of North Americans now declare that they want action on climate change. But whether people are truly willing to embrace “carbon-neutral” lifestyles — including giving up their gas-guzzling sports utility vehicles — remains an open question, say experts.
This article is part two of a three-part series published by IPS on natural capital and how future global prosperity and equity can be achieved through the preservation of ecosystems. See Part One: Like Enron, Earth Inc. Sliding Into Bankruptcy and Part Three: How to Kick-Start the 21st Century Eco-Economy
Scientists have made a strong case that the only way to stave off the worst impacts of climate change — floods, storms, wildfires, disease epidemics and sundry other unpleasant events — is by slashing greenhouse gas emissions a whopping 80 percent from the 1990 baseline by 2050. European policy-makers are already putting plans in place to meet that target.
North Americans, whose region is by far the worst polluter, are beginning to talk about reductions, but few understand the sweeping breadth of the changes needed to reach the 80 percent target.
“The American public’s awareness about global warming is extremely high, but that doesn’t mean very much,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of Strategic Initiatives at Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies