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There are three options in tackling climate change. Only one will work
(The Guardian, 30 Oct 2018) We’re now at a fork in the road: either we cut out fossil fuels completely, or we pass on a dying planet to our children.
The world faces a near-impossible decision – one that is already determining the character and quality of the lives of the generations succeeding us.
It is clear from the latest IPCC climate report that the first and only effective course, albeit a deeply unpopular one, would be to stop using any fossil fuels. The second would be to voluntarily minimise their use as much as climate scientists have calculated would deliver some prospect of success. Finally, we can carry on as we are by aiming to meet the growth in demand for activities dependent on fossil fuels, allowing market forces to mitigate the problems that such a course of action generates – and leave it to the next generation to set in train realistic solutions (if that is possible), that the present one has been unable to find.
These are the choices. There are no others. Future generations will judge us on what we choose to do in full knowledge – accessories before the fact – of the devastating consequences of continuing with our energy-profligate lifestyles.
What a legacy we are bequeathing – regions of the world becoming uninhabitable at an accelerating rate, creating potentially millions of ecological refugees; a burgeoning world population, diminishing reserves of finite and other resources, shortages of water and food, calamitous loss of genetic variability, and wars of survival.
Remarkably, public expectations about the future indicate that only minor changes in the carbon-based aspects of our lifestyles are anticipated. It is as if people can continue to believe that they have an inalienable right to travel as far and as frequently as they can afford. Indeed, there is a widespread refusal by politicians to admit to the fact the process of melting ice caps contributing to sea level rises, and permafrost thawing in tundra regions cannot now be stopped, let alone reversed. The longer we procrastinate, the greater the certainty of environmental degradation, social upheaval and economic chaos.
The energy sufficiency library
eceee's energy sufficiency library contains all concept papers, workshop reports and presentations from the Energy Sufficiency project. It also highlights relevant reports from other sources to help you dig deeper and better understand what sufficiency might mean for you and our society.