Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Thelma and Louise approach to climate change

Reading this piece on rising greenhouse gas emissions in today's Guardian reminded me of those old movie scenes where some character gives another one a good slap to snap them out of whatever foolish thinking they're engaging in.

In this case, the crazy thinking would involve anything to do with believing that the world is actually jumping on the problem of greenhouse gas emissions. Nope. Energy use last year grew at its fastest pace of the decade. It was a "golden year" for gas, with consumption up 10 per cent in the US alone. That increase alone is equivalent to the UK's entire consumption of gas in a year.

I hate to be Nelly Negative, but this does more or less reaffirm my belief in humanity's ability to respond to a life-threatening - all life, everywhere - crisis. Unlike those apocalyptic Hollywood movies where citizens dig deep into untapped reserves of strength, ingenuity and hope to save the planet, I have long suspected that in fact we'd actually just look up at the big, fiery meteor hurtling toward us and mutter, "Oh, shit," and that would be that.

This is what future historians (clearly on other planets) will note about our civilization someday - that given the challenge of reducing fossil-fuel energy use or risking climate devastation, we put the pedal to the metal and gunned it into the inferno.

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