We have a race between peak oil and global warming. Symptoms of these complex processes pop up every now and then.
I refuse to accept that the lurch to 500ppm, 600ppm, 800ppm is an inevitability. I refuse to accept, as Nigel Lawson tried to argue in his debate with the remarkably patient Kevin Anderson on Jeremy Vine’s radio show recently, that doing anything about climate change would impact on economic growth so we shouldn’t bother. I refuse to agree with Peter Lilley that the only way to preserve our economy is to allow unfettered gas fracking anywhere the gas industry decides it wants to drill because “there are simply no affordable renewable technologies available to replace fossil fuels”. I refuse to accept that we can’t do any better than what we have now, and that communities have only a passive role to play in doing something about this with the real work being done by governments and business. I refuse to give up while there’s still a chance.
At 400 parts per million, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached a menacing milestone. We’ve failed to get a handle on our addiction to fossil fuel, and now we’re in desperate need of solutions for preventing runaway climate change. There is no magic pill for curing the climate threat — real solutions involve the difficult work of changing the way we run the economy. It’s time to make a transition to a renewable-energy economy that respects the waste-absorption capabilities of the atmosphere.
How will poets memorialize us? How will we be remembered if, like the British light cavalry charging a well-prepared Russian artillery battery in the Crimean War in 1854, we don’t reason why, we just keep on our current path even though it is self-evidently suicidal.