Letter in the FT on prolonged institutional resistance to #ClimateAction

One last November and now another…

Here’s what I sent – they edited it lightly.

Pilita Clark writes with her customary verve and clarity on the dangers ahead from climate inaction and special pleading by the corporate sector (“Magical thinking on fossil fuels endangers safety, FT Weekend, April 30).

Four pages earlier, you reported resolutions demanding stricter fossil fuel financing policies at three big American banks were backed by only 10 per cent of shareholders.

Climate change – then known as “the Greenhouse Effect” – became a public policy issue a generation ago, in 1988. Since then the names of politicians have changed. The names of the “solutions” – taxes, emissions trading schemes, voluntary schemes, offsets, divestment, carbon capture and storage – have waxed and waned The targets have moved from low carbon to “net zero” (which is not, as one of Ms Clark’s interviewees makes clear, “zero carbon.”).

Two things have not changed . Firstly, institutional resistance to dramatic reductions in fossil fuel use (what I dubbed “enacted inertia” in my PhD thesis). Secondly, the effectiveness of that resistance – human emissions of greenhouse gases are over 60% higher than they were in 1990, despite all the fine words and vaunted technological and policy fixes.

Looking back on his folly, Shakespeare’s Macbeth admits “all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death.”  The death of our civilisation is more likely to be fiery.

Here’s a photo

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