Shahzeen Attari says that we need to change both our behaviour and adopt energy-efficient technologies to land the biggest individual blows in the fight against global warming. While this may sound like just another call to try harder to cut greenhouse gas emissions, it’s instead an attempt to tackle the downsides of each approach. As a researcher working at New York’s Columbia University she has found that most people’s first choice to try and cut emissions is to reduce – or curtail – their energy usage.
“I think people go for curtailment automatically because it does not involve any upfront cost, so it is inexpensive,” Attari said. “It may be thought of as easy to do and think about in the short term. The problem is that it requires continued vigilance to maintain one’s curtailment efforts, so people may relapse into using as much energy as they did before.” Read the rest of this entry »