Yes, many good points there.
However, just because people's behavior can
change does not mean it does
. Consider the voluminous concrete data on the dangers of too much fat in the diet, smoking as cause of cancer, etc., and still people indulge. They will change only when they have a significant incentive to do so - and unfortunately, the common good is not good enough, it must have positive personal rewards. Especially in third world countries, as puereternus pointed out - global warming is a tough sell to a man slashing and burning in the Amazon to feed his family.
And again, really effective change must occur on the appropriate scale
, as the NYT article indicated; there must be hefty economic incentives to get governments and corporations to implement radical policy shifts.
I must say, Kim, I really want to agree with you. But, sadly, my experience of human nature leads me to have pretty low expectations.
To start at the end: "human nature" is malleable to some extent (why else do we end up on DW, for goodness' sake?) but self-interest is a constant. However, action on global warming is
a matter of self-interest, so it is not "against human nature" at all.
Once the message (that smoking causes cancer, that fat causes heart disease, that fossil fuels cause dangerous weather and sea level rise) gets through, people do act on it ... not as quickly or sensibly as we might wish, but they act. At the very least, they don't act but don't oppose those who do act.
Especially in third world countries, as puereternus pointed out - global warming is a tough sell to a man slashing and burning in the Amazon to feed his family.
Peasant farmers and slash-and-burn agriculturalists do not contribute much at all, per capita, to global warming. They are not the problem. If anything, we
Industrialising countries are a
problem, with lots of people aiming for our levels of over-consumption and getting there with very quick-and-dirty technology - like the Industrial Revolution in Europe but with about 200-1000 times the population. They will get over it, round it or through it somehow and end up on the best track they can find.
We in the West, however, are the
problem. We are also uniquely placed to be the solution, and the track we are on is the track the Chinese and Indians and the rest have always been aiming for, so solving our own problems goes a long way to solving theirs.