Only looking to cope with the impacts of climate change and not actively reduce emissions could become a dangerous cycle.
That’s according to a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), claiming that resources that should be used to slash emissions and cut the problem at source are being used too heavily on the effects of climate change.
The study cites people’s belief that keeping warming 1.5°C was now becoming unrealistic as an example. The researchers warn that accepting that the target is unachievable perpetuates complacency – allowing the next target to be forgotten when a new obstacle arises.
Climate change impacts are happening because of high levels of greenhouse gas emissions, which should be the focus, they claim. Preventative measures, as opposed to reactive measures will halt the true problem and save money in the long run.
Laurie Laybourn from the IPPR said: “We absolutely can drive towards a more sustainable, more equitable world. But our ability to navigate through the shocks while staying focused on steering out the storm is key.”
Explaining how the UK could alter its approach, he added: “If you have fairness at the heart of things, it can instead be a virtuous circle. If you’re in a situation where people recognise that switching to a heat pump and having better insulation will be better for them regardless of the climate crisis.”
Removing the climate crisis as the key reason for taking greener steps can be the answer to getting more people on side, he explained.
The report has called focussing on the impacts instead of the causes a “doom loop.”
This is explained as “the consequences of [climate change] draw focus and resources from tackling its causes, leading to higher temperatures and ecological loss, which then create more severe consequences, diverting even more attention and resources and so on.”