Guest essay by Eric Worrall
According to NASA’s Gavin Schmidt, making personal lifestyle changes has very little impact on anthropogenic CO2 emissions.
These Scientists Are Radically Changing How They Live To Cope With Climate Change
When the US government is doing nothing to stop climate change, do your personal choices even matter? Here’s how climate scientists are — and aren’t — changing their lives.
Zahra Hirji BuzzFeed News Reporter
Posted on April 23, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. ET
If everyone who already cared about climate change “reduced their carbon emissions to zero, it doesn’t actually change very much,” said Gavin Schmidt, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Making your home energy efficient is nothing compared to laws that would require all buildings to be greener. Buying solar panels for your roof doesn’t pack the same climate punch as electric companies relying more on solar farms, and less on coal plants, to feed the grid.
“Agitating and voting and writing letters and op-eds,” Schmidt said, “make far more sense” for promoting systemic change.
Schmidt is fine with people changing their lives because it’s fulfilling. But he doesn’t want the public to get the impression that the only way to save the planet is by abstaining from certain products or not traveling. “I don’t think that is where we want to end up,” Schmidt said.
His philosophy is: “Individual actions are not really the solution, but there’s no reason that you should unnecessarily pollute the atmosphere.”
Neither Schmidt nor Zelikova have given up flying entirely, but they have tried to cut back by combining trips or using virtual conferencing software. Schmidt became a vegetarian, driven both by animal welfare and climate concerns, and Zelikova aims to only buy meat from ranchers with sustainable grazing practices.
…Read more: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/zahrahirji/scientists-climate-change-action
I’ll take climate scientists’ commitment to reducing their personal carbon footprints more seriously when they start teleconferencing major events like IPCC meetings, instead of holding massive fly in climate jamborees with 10s of thousands of participants.