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Giving Compass' Take:
• Even though a new U.N. report should raise alarms that climate change is far closer than most people realize, it probably won't change our behavior. TIME explores the human psychology behind the lack of urgency.
• It's up to us to press the issue, since there is no time to waste. How can nonprofits, businesses and policymakers work together toward a more sustainable future?
You’d think the end of the world would be enough to get us scared. Humans have always been an exceedingly risk-averse species — which is how we came to survive as a species at all. If there are lions on one part of the savannah, we go to another. If crocodiles keep coming out of the river, we fish somewhere else. So when it comes to the loss of the entire planet, well, we ought to take action. And yet we don’t; we never do.
That odd contradiction is on display again, in the wake of an announcement by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that a catastrophe is nigh — that that distant future of an Earth best by floods, droughts, wildfires and typhoons isn’t distant anymore, but as little as 12 years away. Unless we act dramatically and fast, the report says, by 2030 temperatures will have risen to 2.7º F (1.5º C) above the average of the pre-industrial era—the threshold that has long been cited as the tipping point for calamity. And while the announcement has been reported widely, the public reaction — again, as always — has been meh.
Volumes of research have been published over the decades trying to explain how and why we so often miscalculate risk — over-preparing for things that are not likely to hurt us and ignoring or shrugging off the things that are. The bad news for environmental scientists and policymakers trying to wake the public up to the perils we face is that climate change checks almost every one of our ignore-the-problem boxes.
Read the full article about why we ignore dire climate change warnings by Jeffrey Kluger at time.com.