No Escape

Imagine there’s a video game, where the player must decide which tools to use to dig themselves out a hole without acknowledging that holes exist OR that the player is trapped in one and hence needs the tools. The point of the game (beyond your apparent need to never face 30 contiguous seconds of not looking at your phone) is to let players experience what it feels like to be a member of the House Science Committee:

Despite this reputation, the environment and energy subcommittees called four honest-to-God climate scientists to testify about one of the most controversial solutions to climate change: geoengineering. These technofixes, which could reflect sun back into space or draw down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, all with the intent to cool the planet, were front and center. Committee members were actually eager to hear about it and where the federal government could spend to help prop up research.

There was just one tiny problem: None of the Republicans could bring themselves to acknowledge that carbon dioxide is the root cause of climate change. Nor could they bring up that reducing carbon emissions is a way more proven and cost-effective avenue to address climate change. It was at once comical and damn terrifying.

Level three is when comical and damn terrifying meld into one confused emotion. Welcome to level three.

This Is Not A Plan

This is hope, which everyone seems to agree, is not a plan. So what is hope?

Well, that depends on whether Your Hope is just hoping something happens, or hoping what you are doing will work. Which, again, neither plans, but they do part ways, fundamentally. There’s a difference, one from the other, in tone and tenor.

Research into building a quantum computer, for example. Not much of a plan; hopeful, maybe. Breakthroughs in encryption excites the NSA some people. But I think it is the off-shoot consequences of trying to hit balls into this cup from 90 yards out, day after month after year, that will be the real dividends of this kind of research. Of this kind of hope.

In its way, the same goes for hydrogen storage and electricity storage from wind, sun and wave. In these cases, we’re not hitting around the mark so much as increasing the volume of balls being chipped at the hole.

So, Bill Gates doesn’t care for efficiency, or cap-and-trade, for that matter. Fine. It’s a questionable signal to send, but fine. In a $ green culture, the billionaires get listened to the most. Sigh. You might as well have listened to Warhol about painting. That wasn’t was he was ever talking about – but I’ll save that for another time.

But Gates’ views are no more or less likely to be compromised by conflicted interests than anyone else’s. Just something to keep in mind. Especially of late, when hope is such an easy target for relentless pummeling. Go ahead, take that away and replace it with the best of the best laid plans ever devised.

What would we have?