Sometimes it helps to have the facts. They present their own story and make it easier for you to understand the problem.
Here are two sets of facts from the EPA’s 2012 Inventory on United States Greenhouse Gas Emissions. The first shows emissions by source:
- Energy – 87%
- Agriculture – 6.3%
- Industrial Process – 4.4%
- Waste (landfills) – 1.9%
- Solvents and other produces – 0.1%
Probably not what you expected. Our dominant method of creating energy is the problem. And that is through the use fossil fuels for electricity generation and transportation. To get global warming under control we need a massive shift in energy policy (i.e. clean energy).
That’s important but if you look at emissions by end user a different story emerges:
- Manufacturing – 30%
- Homes – 18%
- Personal Cars – 17%
- Business – 17%
- Farming – 8%
- Freight Trucks – 6%
- Airplanes – 2%
To understand this you need to keep in mind that it’s the person buying the product or driving the car that is ultimately responsible for the emission. That is what these numbers show and they are often overlooked. Which is sad because they convey what you can do, right now, to have an impact.
It is not about cars and electricity like most think. Although they still are important. Rather, it’s the stuff we buy (manufacturing) and our habits at home and at work that cover 2/3 of greenhouse gas emissions.
This is why I like the facts. They tell their own story. In this case, it’s that you – one person – can change your habits and have a huge impact on global warming.
“Freakonomics” was the book that made the public believe the dismal science has something interesting to say about how people act in the real world. But “Nudge” was the one that got policy wonks excited. The book, first published in 2008, is about the potential for behavioural economics to improve the effectiveness of government.
Behavioural economists have found that all sorts of psychological or neurological biases cause people to make choices that seem contrary to their best interests. The idea of nudging is based on research that shows it is possible to steer people towards better decisions…
Very interesting, especially with the results of these trials:
In one trial, a letter sent to non-payers of vehicle taxes was changed to use plainer English, along the line of “pay your tax or lose your car”. In some cases the letter was further personalised by including a photo of the car in question. The rewritten letter alone doubled the number of people paying the tax; the rewrite with the photo tripled it.
A study into the teaching of technical drawing in French schools found that if the subject was called “geometry” boys did better, but if it was called “drawing” girls did equally well or better.
Research into why people did not take up financial incentives to reduce energy consumption by insulating their homes found one possibility was the hassle of clearing out the attic. A nudge was designed whereby insulation firms would offer to clear the loft, dispose of unwanted items and return the rest after insulating it. This example of what behavioural economists call “goal substitution”—replacing lower energy use with cleaning out the attic—led to a threefold increase in take-up of an insulation grant.
In one trial, green arrows pointing to stairs were put next to railway-station escalators, in the hope of encouraging people to take the healthier option. This had almost no effect. The other experiment had a series of green footprints leading to rubbish bins. These signs reduced littering by 46% during a controlled experiment in which wrapped sweets were handed out.
via Free Exchange, The Economist
Maybe they can stop using the term “taxes” and call it “paying for the military so we don’t get bombed.”
Check out the book – Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth, happiness
Quora is a fantastic resource for and I often want to share the info I find. With that in mind I found the following copyright rules on the site:
This is an official Quora policy that reflects the agreed upon conventions of the community
You can reuse all new content on Quora by publishing it anywhere on the web, as long as you link back to the original content on Quora. There are some more details to this specified at http://www.quora.com/about/tos. We wrote this with the interests of contributors in mind:
Subject to these Terms, Quora gives you a worldwide, royalty-free, non-assignable and non-exclusive license to re-post any of the Content on Quora anywhere on the rest of the web provided that the Content was added to the Service after April 22, 2010, and provided that the user who created the content has not explicitly marked the content as not for reproduction, and provided that you: (a) do not modify the Content; (b) attribute Quora with a human and machine-followable link (an A tag) linking back to the page displaying the original source of the content on quora.com; (c) upon request, either by Quora or a user, remove the user’s name from Content which the user has subsequently made anonymous; (d) upon request, either by Quora or by a user who contributed to the Content, make a reasonable effort to update a particular piece of Content to the latest version on quora.com; and (e) upon request, either by Quora or by a user who contributed to the Content, make a reasonable attempt to delete Content that has been deleted on quora.com.
I also learned that there is a feature authors can use if they want to keep their answers from being published elswhere:
Not for reproduction. The “Not for reproduction” option opts a user’s answer out of the normal reuse license that Quora grants to everyone. If you’re posting about an NFR answer there is not a restriction. However, if you’re copying the contents of an NFR answer to somewhere else on Quora or to anywhere else on the web, the author of the answer might be able to stop you under copyright law, depending on whether your use qualifies as fair use. We don’t police this; it’s the same as if you wrote a blog post that included the contents of someone else’s blog post.