Former Obama czar says we need more fear of global warming

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Former White House regulatory czar Cass Sunstein says the international community hasn’t fought global warming because the people aren’t afraid enough.

“An understanding of what human beings fear — and what they do not — helps to explain why nations haven’t insisted on more significant emissions reductions,” writes Sunstein, who is now a professor at Harvard Law School.

According to Sunstein, one reason people don’t fear global warming is because they don’t associate it with any “particular tragedy or disaster.” Even though environmentalists are quick to point to every weather event as global warming-induced, it’s hard to actually prove that warming caused the bad weather.

Sunstein also argues that there needs to be an “identifiable perpetrator” for people to focus their outrage. But, unfortunately for global warming alarmists, rising temperatures have no clear perpetrator. Sunstein notes, that there “are no obvious devils or demons — no individuals who intend to create the harms associated with climate change… in the context of climate change, those who are the solution might well also be, or seem to be, the problem.”

“In these circumstances, public outrage is much harder to fuel,” writes Sunstein.

People are also more fearful of immediate threats rather than long-term ones, writes Sunstein, who adds that for “this reason, they might fail to save for retirement, or they might engage in risk-taking behavior (such as smoking or unhealthy eating) that will harm their future selves.”

“Climate change lacks other characteristics that spur public concern about risks. It is gradual rather than sudden,” Sunstein writes. “The idea of warmer climates doesn’t produce anger, revulsion or disgust. Depletion of the ozone layer was probably the most closely analogous environmental concern; public attention to that problem was easier to mobilize because of fears of a huge rise in skin cancer.”

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