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Why Humans Fail to Act on Climate Change

ies warnings and touches the stove. "But that doesn't work with the Earth's climate and its many billions of people. You can't rewind and replay," Seidl said.

That's why it's urgent to make clear that climate change is irreversible. "If we do nothing, there will be no way back," Seidl said. Families with small children are especially receptive to the message: "Climate change won't affect us, but our children and grandchildren."

An additional, crucial key to changing behaviour across society, however, is committed political engagement, said Ernst. The European Union could for example "turn the screws" incrementally to increase energy prices and reduce emission tolerance levels, he said.

In addition, the human tragedy and economic losses that resulted from Kyrill, the cyclone that formed over Newfoundland and blasted damage and death across Europe in January, and Hurricane Katrina, which levelled New Orleans in 2005, could help raise human consciousness about the huge problems of climate change, Ernst noted.

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