Gore has been accused of hypocrisy for
talking the talk on climate change despite burning through
fossil fuels at a rapid clip, but it turns out he’s not alone.
by Cornell and the University of Michigan researchers found that
those “highly concerned” about climate change were less likely
to engage in recycling and other eco-friendly behaviors than
in the April edition of the Journal of Environmental Psychology,
the one-year study broke 600 participants into three groups
based on their level of concern about climate change: “highly
concerned,” “cautiously worried,” and “skeptical.”
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“highly concerned” cluster was “most supportive of government
climate policies, but least likely to report individual-level
actions, whereas the ‘Skeptical’ opposed policy solutions but
were most likely to report engaging in individual-level
pro-environmental behaviors,” the researchers concluded.
the study, entitled “Believing in climate change but not
behaving sustainably,” were Cornell assistant professor Neil A.
Lewis Jr. and University of Michigan researchers Michael P. Hall
and Phoebe C. Ellsworth.
skeptics were the more likely than the “highly concerned” to
recycle, use public transportation and reusable shopping bags,
and buy eco-friendly products.
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in climate change predicted support for government policies to
combat climate change, but did not generally translate to
individual-level, self-reported pro-environmental behavior,”
said the paper.
the researchers were stumped, although it’s possible that
skeptics may place more emphasis on personal responsibility than
results suggest that different groups may prefer different
strategies for addressing climate change,” said the paper.
“Thus, belief in climate change does not appear to be a
necessary or sufficient condition for pro-environmental
behavior, indicating that changing skeptical Americans’ minds
need not be a top priority for climate policymakers.”
Pacific Standard’s Tom Jacobs put it,
“remember that conservatism prizes individual action over
they may assert disbelief in order to stave off coercive (in
their view) actions by the government, many could take pride in
doing what they can do on a personal basis,” he said in a Friday
Gore, a leading climate-change activist, has long come
under fire for his carbon-emitting ways, such as burning 21
times more kilowatt hours annually at his Nashville mansion than
the average U.S. household, according to a 2017 study by
the National Center for Public Policy Research.
swimming pool alone uses enough electricity to power six average
homes for a year, the study said.
Gore told CNN last year that he leads a
“carbon-free lifestyle to the maximum extent possible,” pointing
out that he doesn’t own a private jet and that he buys carbon
offsets to balance his home and flights on Southwest Airlines.