Dominic Lawson: An inconvenient truth for Extinction Rebellion: growth saves lives. As the febrile forces of Extinction Rebellion, complete with customary shrouds, once again disrupt the working lives of Londoners, I wondered what the demonstrators would make of the news of a breakthrough in the field of power from nuclear fusion. After all, the fact that the Lawrence Livermore laboratory in California reported last week that it had generated (for an admittedly infinitesimal period) sun-like energy, might herald the age of limitless “clean” power. The problem of man-made carbon dioxide emissions would be solved. The fossil-fuel industries would be redundant. Would XR, and those sympathetic to its approach, cheer, pack up their banners and declare the battle to “save the planet” won? No: I suspect they would be even more furious. This is because their wider aim is not so much to change the way the cake is baked as to make the cake stop growing. Any purely technological fix to the CO2 problem, especially one that would enable more, rather than less economic growth, is an affront to their Malthusian sensibilities and, above all, their anti-consumerism.
Times 28th Aug 2021 read more »