Cory Doctorow: activist, technologist, sci-fi writer and all-round awesome human being has written a powerful article for Locus magazine. He likens the climate emergency to us being collectively trapped on a bus that’s speeding towards a cliff edge.
We’ll all die at the bottom of the canyon, but no-one will yank the wheel, as it would cause the bus to roll and many people to be hurt.
The good news is: climate denial is on the wane. The bad news is: deniers have pivoted to incrementalism: “We’ll fix the climate. Give us a couple decades to phase out oil and gas. Give us a couple decades to replace the cars and retrofit the houses. Give us a couple decades to invent cool direct-air carbon capture systems, or hydrogen cars that work just like gas cars, or to replace our overland aviation routes with high speed rail, or to increase our urban density and swap out cars for subways and buses. Give us a couple decades to keep making money. We’ll get there.”
In other words: “We’re pretty sure we can get some wings on this bus before it goes over the cliff. Keep your hands off the wheel. Someone could get really badly hurt.”
People are already getting really badly hurt, and it’s only going to get worse. We’re poised to break through key planetary boundaries – loss of biosphere diversity, ocean acidification, land poisoning – whose damage will be global, profound and sustained. Once we rupture these boundaries, we have no idea how to repair them. None of our current technologies will suffice, nor will any of the technologies we think we know how to make or might know how to make.