Mike Berners-Lee discusses The Burning Question, a book co-authored with Duncan Clark.
Climate change is the most fascinating scientific, political and social puzzle of our time. Great minds, enthusiastic leaders and green warriors have all tried to tackle the problem, but so far the world’s efforts at reducing global warming have failed.
We do our best to save energy and technologies have made burning fuels more efficient, but the simple fact is carbon emissions are still accelerating upwards, following an exponential curve that goes back centuries. Like squeezing a balloon, reductions in one place lead to increases elsewhere.
The real barrier to action is that the world has far more fossil fuel in its reserves than it can safely burn – at least twice as much and perhaps ten times as much. These reserves are worth tens of trillions of dollars and solving the problem means persuading the world to abandon them.
The Burning Question asks whether that’s possible and what the side effects might be. Would the global economy sink and oil companies crash as the ‘carbon bubble’ bursts? Or could we transition smoothly to a green future? Looking at the whole issue from a fresh perspective, The Burning Question argues that global warming can still be tackled, but only if humankind wakes up to the threat and demands that the fuels stay in the ground.
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