In the Guardian today:
In a recent private conversation under the Chatham House rule, one of the world’s most senior industry leaders, who is considered to be at the more moderate end of the spectrum, insisted that we are going to burn all the world’s hydrocarbons despite the consequences.
His reasoning is that a growing population in the developing world needs energy to raise living standards, that renewables will not become a dominant energy source till the end of the century and that politicians don’t have the courage or power to limit production.
Reminds me of the recent Horizon special “What’s the Right Diet for You?” whereby two groups of dieters were given slices of cake at 700 calories per slice. One group were told that this was a special dieter’s cake with c. 200 cals. The others were told the truth. After the cake-baking session each group were left with a bunch of cake and a cup of tea. What happened? The ones who had been told the truth ate 8 times more cake than the ones who’d been lied to. The lesson being that if you think you are still on track for the right number of calories in your day, you won’t go on to really bust the limit like the others did. As one of the group who had been told the truth said, “We’d all planned to go for a curry this evening as we’d stuffed our chances of keeping to our limit …”
Seems to me our politicians govern our appetite for hydrocarbons with legislation, and they’re being told the truth. What happens when, as is certain now, we pass 400 ppm of carbon in the atmosphere. In this analysis, they’re just going to metaphorically chuck their hands up and say, “Right, might as well go for a curry chaps, we’ve really blown it now …”
The problem is, that although this is based on pop psychology, I can see it happening all too readily. All these tipping points and limits only give us targets we’re going to miss on the conventional diet of boo-yah politics and industry misinformation.
Is there any hope?
Well, if you want hope you need to vote for parties who aren’t going to give up and go for a curry (allow fracking for example), you’ve got to vote for parties who are going to stick to the diet whatever happens, and make sure the others do too – and just like those who are on a weightloss diet, we do know who the best to parties are to put our a break on our collective appetite, don’t we?
(Picture from the Guardian article and is by Murdo Macleod/Murdo Macleod)