Melbourne based blogger Andrew Norton was the first person I saw use the term “the real greenhouse denialists” to describe people who accept the scientific arguments about climate change, but still aren’t prepared to try to make the major changes to their own lifestyles that would be necessary to meet the required emission levels.

I think this term encapsulates what I see as the biggest barrier to addressing the climate change threat — a lack of awareness of just how much we need to change our economic and personal behaviours, and/or a lack of willingness to do it (as well as the normal human approach of expecting “someone else” to “do something” when it comes to big problems)

As Andrew Norton put it last year:

This is the greenhouse ‘denialist’ problem — not a few conservatives arguing that climate change is a left-wing conspiracy, but a public that accepts the theory but rejects the consequences of their beliefs.

There have been a couple more reports of late which reinforce this view.

The ABC reported recently on a survey done by the Australian National University which found that “Australians are deeply concerned about global warming but are only prepared to change their behaviour in small ways.”

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey