I see that techno-optimists have been active in town offering fantasy solutions to the threat of global climate breakdown. Is it not time to face up to reality? Can we not see that companies and governments around the world are trying to promote false solutions to the climate problem simply to preserve the status quo?
If we do not want this to turn out badly, we would be wise to avoid being guided by ideology and wishful thinking about how, if we only give it time, technology will emerge that will solve the climate problem for us.
Those betting on technology to forestall the consequences of exceeding the biophysical limits of our planet believe they are competent enough to manage not only our current interventions into the larger living world but also the more dramatic interventions that likely will be necessary in the future as old technology fails to meet its promise. We have seen where this has taken us in the past.
As long as we continue refusing to accept that choosing not to acknowledge the seriousness of difficult problems like climate change doesn’t allow us to escape them, we will remain on a road headed toward trouble. What the denial of reality has done is open up spaces for people peddling pseudo-solutions. The ultimate example of this runaway hubris is geoengineering.
Rather than accept limits and reduce energy consumption, technological fundamentalists propose “Hail Mary” schemes like pumping sulphur into the sky, putting mirrors up to deflect sunlight and sucking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere through direct air capture and carbon capture and storage.
Many countries, including Canada, have bought into this techno-optimism and are putting off reducing their carbon dioxide emissions until sometime long in the future betting that these unproven technologies will eventually mature and can be applied at a scale commensurate with the problem in time to prevent runaway planetary warming that will greatly diminish the lives of our children and their children.
If this sounds like madness, maybe it is.