If you are not (yet) concerned about climate change there is no time like the present:
Most people are focused on the present: today, tomorrow, maybe next year. Fixing your flat tire is more pressing than figuring out if you should use an electric car. Living by the beach is a lot more fun than figuring out when your house will be underwater because of sea level rise.
That basic human relationship with time makes climate change a tricky problem.
“I consider climate change the policy problem from hell because you almost couldn’t design a worse fit for our underlying psychology, or our institutions of decision-making,” says Anthony Leiserowitz, the director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Our obsession with the present obscures the future
Those institutions — including companies and governments that ultimately have the power to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions — can be even more obsessed with the present than individuals are.
For example, says Leiserowitz, many companies are focused on quarterly earnings and growth. That helps drive short-term behavior, such as leasing new land to drill for fossil fuels, that makes long-term climate change worse.