Would you change your lifestyle to save the planet? Opinion polling suggests Europeans broadly support action against climate change, even if it means changes to their daily lives. Citizens are – according to some research – willing to accept measures such as increased taxes on air travel, or higher prices for food whose production involves significant greenhouse gas emissions. Europeans also favour restrictions on car use in city centres, and lower speed limits to help reduce air pollution.
Nevertheless, the gilet jaune protests in France (in response to a new carbon tax on diesel fuel) show how popular anger can flare up if environmental policies are seen as unjustly impacting ordinary life. Will people need to change their lifestyles to help tackle climate change? Or could technology (such as electric vehicles, smart grids, biofuels and other innovations) allow us to transition to a sustainable future without requiring significant changes to our way of life?
Want to learn more about how lifestyle changes might help tackle climate change? Check out our infographic below (click for a bigger version):
What do our readers think? First up, we had a comment from Claudia arguing that the methane emissions from cows’ digesting systems have a big impact on the climate. So, should people give up meat to help save the planet?
To get a response, we put Claudia’s comment to Wendel Trio, Director of the Climate Action Network Europe, to see what he would say:
For another perspective, we also put the same comment to Jan Panek, Head of Unit (Consumer Policy) at the Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers of the EU Commission. How would he respond?
Next up, Michael says: “I got rid of my car (and I love them, and motor bikes). The nearest village to me with decent shops? About 12 k. I’m fitter, slimmer and smarter – more oxygen to the brain. By the way, I’m 75.” Will more people need to follow Michael’s example and give up their cars to help tackle climate change?
We put Michael’s comment to Alain Mathuren, Communication Director at FuelsEurope. Here’s what he had to say:
What would Wendel Trio from the Climate Action Network Europe say to Michael?
Finally, Yannick sent us in a comment saying: “If we choose to fly we should at the very minimum offset the emissions (pay for a carbon reduction somewhere else). I have done so for more than 10 years. The thing is, a single flight anywhere will blow anyone’s carbon budget.” Is he right?
How would Jan Panek from the European Commission respond to Yannick’s comment?
Here’s what Alain Mathuren from FuelsEurope had to say in response to the same comment:
Last but not least, here’s the response from Wendel Trio, Director of the Climate Action Network Europe:
Are big lifestyle changes the only way to save the planet? Should people give up meat to help tackle climate change? Should stop flying, or give up our cars? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!