Kiwis with a guilty conscience over climate change can make simple lifestyle choices such as cutting down red meat or using public transport, new research says.
Researchers at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research compared the 2006/7 and 2012/13 Household Economic Surveys to determine how Kiwis can reduce their impact on climate change.
While 87 percent of New Zealanders were concerned about it, only 42 percent believed their actions could make a difference, researcher Suzi Kerr said.
Cutting down on dairy products and red meat, increasing a car’s fuel efficiency or shifting from driving to public transport or walking were prime ways to cut down on emissions, she said.
“I’m not saying we should all be non-driving vegans, but it’s good to understand our impact on emissions,” she said.
Food, transport, housing, and utilities account for 82 percent of household emissions.
The research found emissions increased with household age and tended to be higher in South Island households – possibly due to more heating in a colder climate.
The geologic record shows we have ice ages come and go all the time, and all of them so far have happened without humans driving them. Every time the planet managed to melt again – get kind of lush and beautiful, and then something starts the process all over again.
To think taking the bike to Pak ‘n Save instead of the car is going to put off any change in climate, then good on you.
According to scientists we’ve had sea level rises in the 10-15cm range just during our life-time. Yet you talk to boaties and harbour masters in their 60s or older and they’ll tell you that there is no difference to the height of the high tides compared to 40 years ago. Shallow estuaries and wetlands have not expanded and overflowed during that time.
But more amusingly, 48% of us believe there is nothing we can do to stop it. Certainly in New Zealand, where we account for something like 0.2% of the global “problem”, even if we went 100% “global warming neutral”, the likes of India and China will blow such effort out of the water within a week.
There is nothing wrong with trying to reuse, recycle, use better tech and generally live cleaner and healthier lives, including business and industry. And whatever benefits flow from that, healthier air, cleaner rivers, less toxic lands, more trees through parks and reserves and so on is going to be great for all of us.
But the Luddites are running the asylum. Academics that need troughs filling will continue to push research that concludes there needs to be…. more research. And the Media Party needs scary stories between the ads to make sure you come back and read more.
But in the real world, things are just fine.
If it gets a little warmer, we all benefit. Easier to grow trees, plants and food. Tourism becomes even more attractive. Southern towns become more attractive to live in.
If the water gets a little higher, we stop building so close to the shore. And for older areas, we just ask the Dutch how they have millions of people living below sea level without panicking.
By all means measure. By all means model. By all means plan.
But the idea we can stop or even reverse what happens to climate is absurd.
– NZN, via 3 News