Climate Change: Shattering A Damaging Myth
Let’s change the subject for a moment away from the devastating impact that the Coronavirus pandemic is having on us all, so many of us living in quarantine or isolation to another crisis. It may not be as dramatic perhaps not as immediate as the current pandemic but it is likely just as threatening, certainly in the long term and possibly to our very humanity. It is of course the challenge of Global Warming and Climate Change. What makes them similar is that they both have in their foundations and solutions, two critical ingredients: Facts and Science.
The myth that has somehow been installed into the thinking of much of the Western World is that climate change is not such a big deal. The message, sometimes subliminal has been powerful and simple. Negate the facts of global warming and climate change and then suggest that even if it does exist, it is certainly not caused by man. And in any case, there is no practical alternative to burning fossil fuels and therefore nothing that we can do to effectively alter the course of climate change. And any notion of moving COMPLETELY away from our dependence on fossil fuel is simply unthinkable. We are told repeatedly that the alternatives are not viable and that such a move would completely destroy our economy.
Both of those statements are untrue.
Then putting it into the context of today, just think about what a single virus is doing to us right now and how we are responding. What would happen if we addressed the climate change crisis with the same efforts and dollars that are now being invested to overcome the Coronavirus pandemic,
What do we have to do?
- We have to declare a Fossil Fuel Emergency and ban all use of fossil fuels by a certain date and that date has to be soon. Say January 1, 2022.
- We have to invest massively in the production of solar panels and battery technology, not so much the development of technology but the production of the panels and other associated gear to be installed within the next 18 months. Think for a moment how the USA converted its economy almost entirely to build planes and ships and other munitions in 1943. It turned its entire economy around on a dime. We can and must do the same and the urgency is probably just as great or even greater.
- We have to overcome the emotional bias against and invest massively in new Nuclear Power Plants, not the ones using 30 or even 50-year-old technologies but smaller safer ones similar to those that have been proposed and developed by Bill Gates and his research and development initiative Terrapower.
Why aren’t we doing it?
It’s really quite simple.
- We live inside of a fossil fuel economy, whether it is our oil and gas companies (production, delivery), our automotive and transportation industries, all of our energy-driven industries and of course all of the financial institutions that support them and are dependent on them. All of those industries are working in their own self-interest and lobby daily and with huge resources against the forces trying to save us from the dire consequences of global warming.
- Our political leaders either as a group or as individuals, are all, or at least most to put it bluntly, in the pocket of those industries.
- We lack the leaders with the conviction, the power and the influence to change.
When will the Myth Finally be Shattered?
It may happen slowly, which will mean that the pain will be extended, or it may happen quickly as some sort of catastrophic event, perhaps equivalent to today’s Coronavirus Pandemic which some are even describing as apocalyptic….Remember young Greta Thunberg saying “We are on Fire” in front of the United Nations.
- The collective fossil fuel “industry” and all of the dependent industries would be hit in a very major way directly in its pocketbook suffering such losses that public confidence would be greatly reduced leading to bankruptcies etc. Some, especially on the financial side will rapidly conclude that continuing to support and be dependent on a fossil fuel economy may not be such a good idea.
- Leadership will come forward saying simply ENOUGH. We have to make the changes and we have to make them now and the public will somehow understand despite the cost; as is currently happening with the Coronavirus. The most vocal “Leader” currently out there is Bill Gates, one of the two or three richest men in the world and founder of a company, Microsoft, that did fundamentally change the world…. although it took longer than we have.
- Politicians will follow, in a sense now following the money.
I suggested earlier that both crises, Climate Change and the Coronavirus Pandemic share solutions. They both require a more immediate and more sophisticated and enlightened Public Policy. And they both need more aggressive use of Data and of Research and Development, not so much fundamental discovery but the application of Known Science.
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Image courtesy of Flickr (via. arbyreed)