If you've been taught that climate action is a sacrifice, new research from Dr Kian Mintz-Woo (ERI, School of Philosophy, IIASA) and Dr Daniel Steele (University of British Columbia) challenges this perspective. The traditional "sacrifice frame" assumes climate action is a burdensome cost, making it challenging to motivate people. Instead, the research suggests viewing climate action as an investment with economic benefits.
Three common frames are discussed:
The research proposes a new frame: a "tipping game." This model suggests that early contributions to climate action, like adopting solar power, can lead to a tipping point where further contributors enjoy net savings. The falling costs of renewables exemplify this, creating a momentum that surpasses traditional fossil fuels.
"We should reject the frame that climate action is costly and accept the frame that action now facilitates action later" – Dr Kian Mintz-Woo
While acknowledging real challenges like wealth disparities, inertia in the climate system, and collective action issues, the research asserts that climate action is not a sacrifice. Instead, transitioning to renewable energy presents economic savings and health improvements today. Tipping games, applicable to various aspects of climate change, offer hope and a model for collective solutions without relying on self-sacrifice.
As we approach COP28, the research encourages a shift in understanding climate action, seeing risks and opportunities in every action taken, potentially tipping humanity away from danger.