This "what do you drive?" question is a valid one. If people are expected to change their lives in significant ways, it's important that political leaders set an example and signal their commitment. It's worth discussing properly tho, rather than a 'gotcha' format
For those already heavily committed to climate action and desperate for #COP26 to be a success, this might seem like a delayer's question, individualising climate change. But if setting an example at the national level is important, it is important at an individual level too.
Sharma's answer was reasonable and probably reflects where many people are at. It's sensible not to immediately junk a diesel car that you don't use very much. But questions like this should be asked and answered - because they are fundamental to climate justice.
Many people, esp. those who are uncertain about making pro-climate lifestyle changes, on the basis of cost or commitment, look to signals from others. Some of the most important signals come from those orchestrating change and bringing in regulations and laws - aka leaders.
It looks like an active choice that leaders currently are not sending these signals of personal commitment, and not visibly changing their lifestyles. Eg. Boris Johnson taking a domestic private jet to the G7; Allegra Stratton talking about crockery.
This could be for a few reasons. They may think that individual behaviour change is not important, tho @theCCCuk says 60+% of UK emissions reductions will require it.
6/ Image
Leaders may think their own pro-climate behaviour will put people off and reduce support for climate action, though lots of research including at the #ClimateAssemblyUK shows the public craves honest, clear leadership from Govt on climate change.
Leaders may feel their own pro-climate behaviour will alienate key supporters whose lifestyles are the most threatened by the need to reduce emissions in line with the #IPCCReport. This is key imo, and partly why the "systems change not individuals" narrative is popular.
Finally, some leaders might not actually be that bothered about changing their lifestyles, or they might not want to. This is likely to be taken by the public as leaders not actually caring and not believing climate change is serious.

It's why the car question is important.

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More from @steviedubyu

18 Jun
Important new study finds there is "no strong reason to shrink away from campaigns designed to increase individual action to reduce GHG emissions as they are often seen as complements rather than substitutes for transformative climate policy." 1/…
The study adds nuance to the debate about whether to focus on individual change or system/political changes when it comes to the climate crisis. (It's not either or of course) @GreggRSparkman @Shahzeen @KHayhoe @michaelemann @StuartBCapstick @KevinClimate @GretaThunberg 2/
"Individual behavior change is a necessary part of the overall solution, although not sufficient alone, and we find engaging or reflecting on such change rarely leads to a belief that climate policy is unnecessary." 3/
Read 5 tweets
25 Feb
Should billionaires be "shamed" for their trend-setting contributions to planetary destruction?

The graphic below ranks billionaire emissions. It makes Gates, Bezos and Musk look quite good.

So I've added a graphic that includes the average global citizen (5t CO2)
Equity and fairness are said to be essential parts of tackling the environmental crises, so this matters.
It was actually quite tricky to put the billionaires' emissions in context of the global average because Excel only lets you zoom out to 10%, which still doesn't show the average person's emissions as anything more than a tiny slither.
Read 8 tweets
8 Dec 20
A short thread on the risks of countries claiming to be "climate leaders":

The image of the heroic leader is ubiquitous in our popular culture, politics, business and media. This results in a tendency to exaggerate the role of leaders in both successes and failures.
An emphasis on heroic leadership can also lead to “learned helplessness” and dependency among followers. Thus followers use leaders to insulate themselves against uncomfortable feelings, and project hope and responsibility onto leaders.
Gemmill and Oakley say there is an inherent “deskilling” process in follower-leader situations, with followers becoming less functional as they attribute responsibility to the leader. Hence why bold national claims of climate leadership are risky.…
Read 7 tweets
3 Nov 20
The pushback on @Shell's "blame-the-consumer" tweet has been brilliant and represents real progress. Long may it continue.


...we do still need to talk about consumers and carbon footprints, and not give the highest emitters a free pass.

Because “consumers” are not some horizontal mass of equal beings. The disparities between the biggest and the smallest carbon footprints are absolutely vast.

The Martini glass of inequity highlights this well...
The biggest consumers really are a problem for climate change. Not only do they (or we) make an oversize contribution to emissions, they also set the agenda, steer social norms, and influence what climate mitigation options are deemed acceptable. 3/…
Read 13 tweets
27 Jun 20
Good news! Many of those who dropped litter had bought litter offsets that will, with luck, stop others littering in future. And some said they are confident Negative Litter Technologies (NLTs) will clear up lots of litter in a few decades's time.😉…
A UK litterer said, “Actually, we are world leaders in cutting one type of litter. But we really can't control the litter from things we consume.”🤷

One of the litterers was visiting from the US. He said simply, “The American way of littering is not up for negotiation.” 🤐
An Aussie on the beach brandished a piece of litter and said: “This is litter. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be frightened.” 🤠
Read 6 tweets
10 Mar 20
Last Sunday was a special but sad day. From 5am-5pm I was up in a beautiful 150-year-old tree in Cardiff, trying to help many others save it from the developers’ chainsaws. Ultimately though, we failed.
Thread 1/n
There were tears. On the street below local people cried as they cut the neighbouring tree first. My tears came at 2pm when the chainsaws backed away and I thought we may have won, but I was mistaken… 2/
They started to cut the tree down while I was still in it. Such is the dead-eyed resolve of the development machine. (You can see the pictures and videos from @XRCardiff @nspugh and others.) 3/
Read 19 tweets

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