As a committed environmentalist, I would love to see global carbon levels drop, or at least stop rising. (Even if only as a personal comfort measure, because ever since menopause I tolerate hot weather even worse than I did before.) And I appreciate and admire the unstinting efforts of the many educated, thoughtful people who continue to raise the alarm about carbon levels affecting the world’s climate.
But does anyone who knows anything about human nature really believe that we, as a country or as a world, will voluntarily give up our fossil-fuel based comforts to avoid something that may or may not harm us personally, sometime in the next 20-50 years?
Think of how many people regularly go out and drink to excess. They KNOW what the following day will bring, sure as the sun will rise: puking, monster headache, an empty wallet if you’ve been drinking at a bar, and possibly horrible photos of you posted to the interwebs. And yet even though the consequences are personal, reliable, and violently unpleasant, the next weekend is pretty much like the previous one.
How much more difficult is it to convince at least 50% of the population (because we still vote on things like this) that they should add inconvenience, extra labor, exhaustion and sometimes actual misery to their already-burdened lives, for a benefit they consider both unlikely and of dubious merit?
You can make as many laws and regulations as you like, but an unconvinced and unwilling populace will eventually find a way to burn every last calorie, joule and watt of fossil fuel based energy.
I’m just saying, I think environmentalists need to move on, and spend our energies in more fruitful tasks. We can re-green our forests (no one will argue against that); we can encourage clean renewable energy sources; we can help our neighbors learn to grow their own food; we can transition our communities to cater more to pedestrians and use local resources; and we can start planning now for the disruptions likely to occur as a result of climate change. There is enough work in these fields alone to occupy every environmentalist for a lifetime.