Fighting symptom or root cause? - The need for shifting the focus in climate politics from greenhouse gases to environmental protection

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Thomas Rinder, Frederike Neuber, Christoph von Hagke 


Addressing the environmental crisis requires a substantial change of our current lifestyle. Yet, in media coverage and political communication, climate change has taken the lead over other aspects such as biodiversity loss and one may sometimes get the impression that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is fighting the root cause itself. The atmosphere, however, does not respond linearly to our reduction efforts and a certain temperature lock in above preindustrial levels is unavoidable. Because of the lack of an obvious direct benefit in the short term, public support for mitigation measures may diminish rapidly. Accordingly, focusing communication on the need for greenhouse gas reduction may
eventually not be useful to induce sustainability transformation of society. We thus argue that there is a need to emphasize climate change mitigation as part of a more holistic practice of nature conservation and environmental protection, rather than an end in itself.



Environmental Sciences, Natural Resources and Conservation, Natural Resources Management and Policy, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Sustainability


climate change, nature conservation, anthropocentrism


Published: 2022-08-16 17:58

Last Updated: 2022-08-16 21:58


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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