Editorial: The Voice Of Science & Our Salvation In Magic
"Science has spoken."Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations (1944 - )
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." (1917 – 2008)
As the final report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was launched this past weekend, its ultimate message was a stark one: to avert the irreparable side-effects of anthropogenic global warming, the use of fossil fuels must be totally eradicated by 2100.
The fourth and last iteration of the IPCC’s assessment comprises the findings of 30,000 climate studies that have returned a 95 per cent certainty that climate change is both accelerating and a man-made phenomenon. Speaking in Copenhagen, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s rhetoric was both unequivocal and apocalyptic: "Leaders must act. Time is not on our side."
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) World Energy Outlook 2013, subsidies for fossil fuel use in developing nations rose to a record $544 billion in 2012, up by $11 billion from 2011. And this is a trend set to continue.
The People’s Republic of China aloneplans to bring more than the entire annual coal output of India – some 860 million metric tonnes – online for power generation by 2015. In India, the share of coal and petroleum is expected to be 56.9 per cent of the total commercial energy supply by 2022. Yet fossil fuel addiction is not solely a province of the up-and-coming states. The powerhouse of the European Union, Germany, is 74.6 per cent hydrocarbon dependent. So are the rest of the world’s top ten economies.
So what will this proclamation actually mean? While a carbon cap and renewable energy shift is feasible in the developed world, many outside of that elite club of nations would see such a move as both unviable and almost "a tax on progress".
Will this move provide the mother of invention for the necessity that is efficient carbon capture and storage? Whatever the upshot, the powers that be have decided that we have 86 years to save the planet and global civilisation. The voice of science has been heard but can and will it be heeded? And what price our hope in the reality of magic?
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