Taking Climate Change Seriously


Climate change is serious stuff. The world is getting warmer; the environment is changing; we have less arctic ice. We are only just learning about deep ocean thermohaline circulations just as it looks like we might be upsetting them.

But that’s okay, we seem to be a pretty clever species and collectively we have the power to solve large and complex problems (you know, like moon landings and blue LEDs). Despite the fact that in the long term most species become extinct, I’m optimistic that we can solve our current global warming problem. And in any case, even if we become extinct then life itself will not. The archaea and the other microbes will live on. Good luck to sentient life wherever it next evolves.

Solving climate change will involve serious change. But it will be seriously cool too. New forms of power production will become commercially viable; some existing power plants will become obsolete; it’s probable that we will be driving electric cars (speaking of which, it’s 2008, where’s my nuclear powered hover car goddamnit!); windmills will stride across our moors (yes, in my backyard!).

There is opportunity. Not just in your silly political opportunity of being world leaders and torch bearers for a new world, but real opportunity. Money. Opportunity in acquiring the skills to build lots more nuclear power plants than we ever have (Edit 2008-10-25: used to say “ten times as fast”, but that’s just wrong); in learning how to make an offshore tidal power station last for 50 years with no maintenance; in programming fridge microcontrollers so that they do not draw power at lunchtime when everyone needs the grid power to cook on the halogen hob. We can do this, and then we can sell it to those that were too lazy.

Let us embrace this opportunity now. Friends, let’s join Francis Irving and sign up to Serious Change (.org.uk).

6 Responses to “Taking Climate Change Seriously”

  1. drj11 Says:

    Oh yeah. And vegetarianism will become trendy. Admitting you eat beef will be like admitting that you beat your wife.

  2. Nick Barnes Says:

    I skimmed an analysis somewhere purporting to show that “ten times faster” was an exaggeration, that the peak nuke build rate of the 60s (?) was sufficient. For something. Somewhere. Might just have been the US though.

  3. drj11 Says:

    @NickB: And evidently I skimmed an analysis and took home the wrong conclusion. You’re right.

    In Without Hot Air MacKay reckons that we need 50 nukes per year (for the whole planet). And he reckons that the historical maximum global rate of building is about 30 a year.

    Somehow I had internalised this as “10 times faster than our historical build rate, and that’s totally feasible”.

  4. rk Says:

    seriouschange.org.uk could be a good thing — I trust Francis and I’m happy to “sign up”, just to find out more about it. (I can always leave if I disagree).

    There’s very little info about it on the site yet. It may be at an early stage, with the direction of action as-yet unset. That might be a good thing, I think.

  5. Sym Says:

    @rk: Take a look at http://wiki.seriouschange.org.uk for more information about.

  6. Sym Says:

    @rk: Ah, I see you have. Link is sill good for others though :)

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