Research by Dr Mark Charlesworth of Keele University and Dr Chuks Okereke of the Oxford University's Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment also warns that decision-makers are assuming impacts will take effect gradually without sufficient evidence.
The study, published in the journal Global Environmental Change, urges governments and others to rely less on cost-benefit analyses in determining policies because they may not be appropriate.
Dr Charlesworth said: ?Our research sets the scene for more effective climate and environmental policy as it demonstrates that the near universal promotion of consumerism by national governments promotes a specific, unsustainable and probably undemocratic vision of what a ?good life? should be. In a situation of unpredictable abrupt climate change, doing what we know is in the global common good makes more sense than consuming as if there were no consequences.?