Behavioral Changes Are Needed To Cut Greenhouse Gas
Thomas Dietz, a scientist and professor at Michigan State University, says that applying 17 very simple practical measures to our daily activities can yield substantial carbon emissions cuts. Dietz argues that new technologies and policies that save energy are needed to fight global climate change, but he also expresses that to implement the policies we are facing daunting technological, economic, and political hurdles.
On the other hand, the basic actions recommended by Thomas Dietz and his MSU colleagues have a low cost, and could be applied very quickly. It would mean some behavior changes in the way Americans deal with their energy consumption. Cutting consumer energy waste is a good place to start as household energy consumption accounts for 38 percent of carbon emissions in the United States or 8 percent of total world emissions.
“Activities such as weatherization of homes, routine vehicles maintenance and opting for the clothesline instead of the dryer could cut total US carbon emissions by 5 percent over just five years, and by 7.4 percent in ten years,” Dietz said. That is the equivalent of France’s total carbon output.
“On the research end of things, we have invested mostly in engineering approaches- building better technology. But the best technology we can devise doesn’t do us any good if people don’t use it. We can make great progress with the technologies we already have if we pay attention to behavior-how people use the technologies they already have. I have seen many studies that make wild assumptions about how hard or how easy it is to get people to change their behavior, without any basis in science. Our analysis is based on science. We looked at what has been feasible in bringing about changes in energy consumption behavior,” said professor Dietz.
The MSU professor and his team recommended 17 simple behavior changes in their study. For the complete study click here.