Given what’s been covered in the Introduction and Approach, what sort of chance do I think we have?
It certainly seems we’re up against it, for sure. If the basic premise is correct, and we need to go massively carbon negative in the near term, I should think the first step would be to at least start thinking along those lines. And perhaps that strikes at what may be the most basic and fundamental threat before us.
We simply can’t get along with each other.
We don’t appear to be able to agree upon the very nature of truth any more. What chance do we have of a united and concerted effort to stave off such an existential threat as climate disruption?
So it may well be that in reality little can be done to address this problem, amongst the many problems we face. However, the whole point in creating these pages was to give myself space to consider what sorts of things might need to occur in order to make such an attempt. And to provide a ready reference to various friends and folks I am introduced to, who may want to know a bit more about where I am coming from.
I suppose one of the very first things that would need to occur would be a change of heart within the mainstream environmental movement. This seems about as unlikely as any other aspect of a potential response to the problem, but I suppose it’s not impossible. After all, I had this particular change of heart myself.
The Need for Energy
The processing of absolutely massive amounts of CO2 into various materials will require a massive increase in available energy. Wind, water, and sun simply do not appear to permit that sort of luxury. Indeed it is a foundational tenet of the modern push for renewable energy that we increase efficiency, decrease consumption, and as a result decrease production.
If the need to go carbon negative at scale is an essential part of any real attempt to address the climate issue it would certainly be helpful for environmental groups to at least not oppose the use of nuclear power. Every nuclear power plant which is closed represents a opportunity lost in addressing the problem.
It seems really doubtful this sort of sea change will occur within the environmental movement, but it would be one of the most helpful steps imaginable I think.
A Younger Perspective
Another reason I’ve created this space is to try to reach out to folks younger than myself. They will be the ones facing the impacts, and will look for ways to cope I’m sure. I work with a number of folks who are twenty and thirty years my junior, and in my discussions with them they have been far more open to the idea of nuclear energy than their parents generally have.
The other encouraging thing about talking to young people is they seem to grasp the basic issue of scale fairly quickly, once they’re presented with it. The size of the problem is something which, at least until now, simply hasn’t been a point of discussion generally speaking, and it comes as a bit of a surprise when we talk.
So I will say that, at least in my discussions so far, perhaps younger folks will be willing to face the size of the issue and adjust the size of the response accordingly. I admit I tend to have these sorts of chats with folks who are educated and reasonably knowledgeable about current events, but it is none the less encouraging to have these talks.
Another interesting part of discussing things with younger folks is their basic understanding that something is very likely seriously wrong with the way we govern ourselves. They are more willing to think about alternative ways of approaching government and politics than their elders.
Whether anything positive will come from this is difficult to tell at this point, but since these are the kids who are just beginning to enter into middle and upper management positions, the future will be theirs in the next ten to twenty years. I’m actually rather hopeful because of this.
Markets and Technology
In many ways I’m a bit of an old school capitalist, I suppose. So one way to address the issue would be to find a way to extract carbon and process it profitably. Since carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen are the building blocks of life itself, and the basic ingredients involved in so many industrial processes used to produce the goods and services we enjoy, it seems reasonable to think we ought to be able find ways to reuse these elements over and over again.
One of the future pages here will be devoted to following current trends in science and technology focused on recycling carbon. There is a great deal of research being done in this area, and this provides at least some room for encouragement. It always seems to come back to that need for energy, and lots of it. I’m not sure we can ignore that need forever in pursuit of a market-based solution to the problem.
I’m also not so sure we’ll be able to provide the kind of incentives to invest in these sorts of technologies without some sort of disincentive to continue using fossil fuels of various types. I have some friends who are active in the Citizens Climate Lobby, which aims to initiate a tax and dividend regimen to help the transition to cleaner forms of energy, and while I would really like the market itself to be able to address the matter, I also think the lack of market-based incentives to clean up after oneself might necessitate such an approach, at least initially.
Well, there are some initial thoughts on what sort of Prospects we might have. As always, it is just an introduction, and deliberately kept short.
I’ve listed one of what will become a list of Sources that you might want to visit next, and I’ve added a contact form under the About page, in the event someone would like to get in touch.
Thanks again for visiting.