“…As long as fossil fuels are the cheapest energy, people are going to keep burning them and going to find them, to dig them up wherever they can find them. …what we need to do is add a gradually rising fee to the fossil fuels, which you would collect from the fossil fuel companies at the source... And that money should be distributed to - all legal residents of the country.
That way the person who does better than average in limiting his carbon footprint will make money, and it will be a big incentive for them to pay attention to their carbon footprint. It will be a big incentive for entrepreneurs to develop no carbon and low carbon energy sources and products. And the economic studies that have been done show that this actually stimulates the economy. So it doesn't cost anything.”
— James Hansen, from an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria on July 26, 2015
This is a short addendum to Monday's "destroy the town" post.
To be clear, if I thought there was a way to unwind global civilization which minimizes human suffering and preserves a livable Earth, I would be all for it. But I don't see any way to do that. There's going to be a train wreck one way or the other. This Margaret Atwood quote is apropos here.
Can we change our energy system? Can we change it fast enough to avoid being destroyed by it? Are we clever enough to come up with some viable plans? Do we have the political will to carry out such plans? Are we capable of thinking about longer-term issues, or, like the lobster in a pot full of water that’s being brought slowly to the boil, will we fail to realize the danger we’re in until it’s too late?
Not that the lobster can do anything about it, once in the pot. But we might. We’re supposed to be smarter than lobsters. We’ve committed some very stupid acts over the course of our history, but our stupidity isn’t inevitable. Here are three smart things we’ve managed to do...