A way to reach the Paris Agreement targets?

If you are currently despairing, try “The ministry for the future” by Kim Stanley Robinson.

It is a work of fiction that does not fall into the trap of being utopian. Each step forward is assorted with caveats, resistance, and steps back. But it suggests how a combination of human action, technology, and new thinking brings humanity collectively on a new course. Of the many ideas, he seems to set on 3 as being the systemic changes (this is my simplification):

1. Finance: Harness money to do good. He does this with central banks creating “carboni”, an alternative currency earned by reducing CO2 emissions. He also has block chain used for all financial transactions to make it impossible to hide funds in fiscal paradises.

2. Geo-engineering. In his book, we have to dye the north polar waters to reduce solar absorption, to pump water from under glaciers to slow their slippage and thus melt, and even to put particulates in the stratosphere to reflect sun.

3. Behaviour: We must slow down. Live life rather than hurrying through it. Become co-owners of where wework. Move the ambition and the role-model away from individual towards cooperative profit.

It strikes me that finance is something that is absolutely needed, and already very much in focus for many eyes.  Geo-engineering is risky. He recognises this, but in the book, it all works out. Lets hope it does in practice too – just like the project of re-wilding half of the earth… It is the third point, behaviour, that is the most problematic. In the book the shift is eased by technology, e.g. when it comes to long-distance mobility, we use blimps, and ships are hydrofoils powered by solar, sails and kites. But the key shift is how to change our mental models. And in the book, a major cause of behaviour change is violence. E.g. people stop flying as jets are systematically attacked by eco-terrorists flying drones into them (many lives are lost). The “rich” are targets of assassination – and this is seen in some circles as “legitimate”. His heroine categorically rejects use of force, but the book plays with the ambiguity of how much change needs threats as well as carrots. This worries me.

Thanks to Banning Garrett for having put me onto this!

#book #climatchange #futuresthinking