European Union leaders, eager to begin cutting carbon emissions in accordance with promises made at the Paris Climate summit in December, say that it will take more than wind farms and solar panels to get the job done. In a series of documents presented to Belgium foreign ministers on Monday, the EU advocated a radical approach to the threat of global warming.
“It will require exploring possibilities for realising ‘negative’ emissions as well as profound lifestyle changes of current generations,” says the documents, obtained by the UK’s Guardian newspaper. “The potential scale of such a deep transformation will require a wide societal debate in Europe.”
To meet the terms of the agreement, the EU will have to cut carbon emissions until they are 40% below where they were in 1990. With only 14 years to get it done, leaders are being forced to look into increasingly dramatic measures that could indeed change the way the average European lives their life. While the EU has not yet gone on record to specify which “profound lifestyle changes” are required to meet the goals, they will likely go farther than shorter showers.
According to a recent story in Scientific American, individuals can do their part to combat global warming by moving closer to work, switching to bicycles or mass transit, and even limiting procreation to one child per family. The UN has proposed cutting red meat out of our diets due to the excess methane produced by cattle farming.
But these methods of tackling climate change have been resisted by some of the world’s most dedicated environmentalists. In a story last November, Young Friends of the Earth Europe said that the emphasis on individual action was largely a “myth” meant to shift blame away from the real carbon culprits.
“Focusing on individuals renders the system invisible – but climate change is a systemic problem, requiring a systemic change,” wrote the activists. “When the narrative shifts from ‘we need to change the foundations of the system’ to ‘we need to shop differently’, the story has been derailed.”
One thing is certain: if the environmental left isn’t even down with your climate proposals, your little movement has run off the rails.
Fact is, people aren’t going to be motivated to embrace a more difficult lifestyle to avoid a theoretical future filled with monster storms and rising sea levels. Life, frankly, is hard enough as it is. When you are behind on bills, struggling to make ends meet, and trying to raise a family, you don’t give a tinker’s damn about “going green.” Unfortunately, this (inconvenient?) truth is going to inspire our leaders to force the world to change in ways that will make life a little bit worse for everyone. You know…the exact opposite of why they were elected in the first place.