What are the major challenges to combating climate change?

(2017, man walking on two earths)

Given that climate change is a complex and a global issue, there are a number of major challenges that need to be overcome if the solutions to climate change are to be successfully implemented: –

A major challenge is having a universal acceptance that climate change is happening, what its causation is and what the solutions are. Unfortunately, the subject of climate change is reminiscent of the past debates such as smoking causes lung cancer, where opposing views create considerable confusion and result in delayed action to the solution. With climate change, the opponents either reject that it is occurring (President Trump) or they agree that it is occurring, but attack the reason why (Adams, 2011). That is, they ‘consider not what the situation is, but how it is situated’ (Grint 2005, p. 1471).

A further major challenge is that climate change is a global problem needing all countries to jointly address it with the same solutions. Otherwise it’s like having someone urinating in a swimming pool, if you are abstaining from doing so, you are still being impacted by those who are doing it, especially if that person who is doing it is a large producer of urine.

Powerful multinational organisations are also a major challenge as they have fine-tuned their ability to leverage differences in markets for their competitive advantage. They need to act consistently and in line with responsible actions across all markets.

(Trump 2015)

A further major challenge is the interlink between three main groups in society, people, government and industry, and being able to generate change by influencing the aligned actions (call to arms) of these groups. Industry can resist change if it is in their best interest and people may not want environment friendly products because they cost more.

People’s biases on not wanting to worry about issues way in the future rather than to focus on today is also a major challenge as climate change requires a long-term solution.

The final major challenge is having the moderators of the academic and scientific community and the media industry supporting and acting in unison.