This is the crucial time. The science is clear; greenhouse gas emissions must begin to decline well within the next couple of decades. Whether runaway climate change is avoided is largely down to the policy decisions taken now and in the next few years. We cannot afford to wait for miraculous technological breakthroughs but must work with what we’ve got.
The debate on climate change is surrounded by hype and vested interests. Technologies are being considered not for their effectiveness but for their profitability. Some proposed solutions would actually lead to an increase in emissions. Many would bring about great social injustice.
Beyond that, the promise of a future technofix is being used as a stalling tactic by those who want to keep on burning fossil fuels.
This report investigates the large scale technologies that corporations and governments are putting on the table, including hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, agrofuels, electricity from nuclear, solar and wind, as well as a range of ideas to reflect the sun’s energy or remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
It finds what works, what doesn’t, the present state of these industries and where they’re heading. It explains why, even though many of the technologies do work, the corporate-capitalist model cannot deploy them effectively, and it goes in search of more realistic and socially just solutions.
Published in 2008.