Michael E Mann is one of the world’s most influential climate scientists. He rose to prominence in 1999 as the co-author of the “hockey-stick graph”, which showed the sharp rise in global temperatures since the industrial age. This was the clearest evidence anyone had provided of the link between human emissions and global warming. This made him a target. He and other scientists have been subject to “climategate” email hacking, personal abuse and online trolling. In his new book, The New Climate War, he argues the tide may finally be turning in a hopeful direction. Another development in the “climate war” is the entry of new participants. Bill Gates is perhaps the most prominent. His new book, How to Prevent a Climate Disaster, offers a systems analyst approach to the problem, a kind of operating system upgrade for the planet. What do you make of his take? I want to thank him for using his platform to raise awareness of the climate crisis. That said, I disagree with him quite sharply on the prescription. His view is overly technocratic and premised on an underestimate of the role that renewable energy can play in decarbonising our civilisation. If you understate that potential, you are forced to make other risky choices, such as geoengineering and carbon capture and sequestration. Investment in those unproven options would crowd out investment in better solutions. Gates writes that he doesn’t know the political solution to climate change. But the politics are the problem buddy. If you don’t have a prescription of how to solve that, then you don’t have a solution and perhaps your solution might be taking us down the wrong path.
Guardian 27th Feb 2021 read more »