We are reluctant to give up what we already have. Losses count much more heavily in the collective conscience than equal gains.
One group looks at the world and sees floods, droughts, bleaching corals, and drowning polar bears; the other sees a comfortable existence based on machines, capital, and cheap fossil fuels.
The first group will want serious and immediate climate policy; the second will want to hide behind its air conditioners.
The first group will want to do everything to protect the status quo; the second will want to do everything to protect the status quo.
The first group believes that a transition to a low-carbon economy will be a lot cheaper than suffering the consequences of a planetary-style physics experiment gone awry; the second doesn’t care as long as it is making money either way.