Dare we hope? Here’s my cautious case for climate optimism. Three things matter for climate chaos and our response to it – the science reporting on current and potential conditions, the technology offering solutions, and the organizing which is shifting perspectives and policy. Each is advancing rapidly. The science mostly gives us terrifying news of more melting, more storms, more droughts, more fires, more famines. But the technological solutions and the success of the organizing to address this largest of all crises have likewise grown by leaps and bounds. For example, ideas put forth in the Green New Deal in 2019, seen as radical at the time, are now the kind of stuff President Biden routinely proposes in his infrastructure and jobs plans. See how impossible our current reality might have seemed 20 years ago – that solar would be so cheap, that Scotland would get 97% of its electricity from renewables, that fossil fuel corporations would be in freefall – we can trust that we could be moving toward an even more transformed and transformative future, and that it is not a set destination but, for better or worse, what we are making up as we go. Each shift makes more shifts possible. But only if we go actively toward the possibilities rather than passively into the collapse.
Guardian 1st May 2021 read more »
Will Hutton: Worried about the impact of nearly 10 billion people in 2050 burning fossil fuels that would lift the Earth’s temperature insupportably? Relax. Space is on hand. By then, power-station spaceships in fixed orbit with vast solar mirrors will capture the sun’s rays 24/7, turn them into microwaves and beam them to solar panels on Earth. Sci-fi romanticism? It’s already in the realms of possibility – and is one of the aims of the Chinese space station, with China promising to deliver space electricity as soon as 2030. It also informs the thinking behind Elon Musk’s SpaceX. His reusable rockets can carry material into space to build such power stations at a fraction of current costs. Next month the government is to publish its space strategy. It needs to be informed by the same daring that drove the OneWeb purchase. Britain is not China or the US, and leaving the EU has narrowed the possibilities of playing in the big league. But, nonetheless, Britain has assets. Alongside OneWeb are companies specialising in niches – manufacturing nano-satellites and antennae, and monitoring air quality. Leicester and its university is one of Europe’s leading centres for space exploration and manufacture, alongside Harwell in Oxford, and there are plans to make Fawley, Aylesbury, the north-east and Glasgow space innovation sites.
Observer 2nd May 2021 read more »