I couldn’t find a better exemplary of the faith of capitalist, technocratic solutions to our energy and climate problems than in this article by Justin Gillis. He is critical of the urgency behind climate policy, yet he explains that policy should still just strive for silver bullet, energy miracles. The problem is that these are blinding us from other potential solutions. They are suggesting that energy is solely a technical problem, and that policy should be framed only around finding ways to drive technological advancement. Energy is social and technical. Its political for sure, but we often forget to highlight these dimensions when searching for solutions. Its either finding more fuel, more nuclear, more this or more of that. And what we should be doing is looking for ways to do with less. What about programs that encourage lower energy use, greater efficiency, carbon sequestration through urban agriculture and improved forest cover and density, and reducing consumption of industrialized agricultural products, etc. We have a consumption consumption problem, not a production problem. What we have is not a problem of energy supply, or of climate change mitigation, but rather adaptation and a problem of consumption. We need to change, not just our technologies.
This is exactly whats wrong with energy policy