The International Energy Agency is finally beginning to realise that consumption patterns and technology must change if we are to avoid a natural catastrophe. The IEA announced that $ 45,000,000,000,000 (trillion) must be spent to change the pattern of consumption of fossil fuels. It is a long overdue public recognition only catalysed by the current high price of oil.
A similar awakening happened in the 1970s with high oil prices but it was insufficient to change politics’, education’s and big business’ addiction to oil. The IEA is still deluded by current thinking and has not recognised the need for system change. This is evident in their call for new technology. This is naive and wasteful. Certainly new technologies will be developed, but the reality is that most of the technologies for reducing fossil fuel consumption are already available and commercially viable – they have been reseached and developed for over 3 decades. We just need to start using them.
This presents the other big change that is required – a system change that is reflected in changing patterns of consumption and lifestyle. These too have been prototyped, many since ancient times, and developed by leading thinkers over the past few decades. But they have been ignored by policy makers and the rich trend setters. The urgent solution is to educate people about the options, facilitate changing habits and help all humanity take responsibilty for nature. That is the challenge.
Unfortunately, reflection on the challenge soon leads to the conclusion that humanity’s growth must be reversed – our ecological footprint is simply too big for teh biosphere. We must reduce our population. In the meantime, take a step in the right direction – consume less, eat less.