I know how Net Zero 2050 ends. I’ve read the book. In Chris Brook’s excellent if devastating Road to Damnation*, a car on the way to its intended destination veers off the road when the driver loses control and the vehicle splashes into a dam, drowning his children. He barely escapes with his life. But he is convicted of murdering the young boys.
Although not an exact fit, the story (from real life) is an apt enough metaphor for the world on the way to Net Zero 2050: the driver did not intend to kill his children. He lost control of the vehicle. In our story, the vehicle is a 2021 model Net Zero, the driver is the political leadership and the children represent our future way of life.
The difference between the book and Net Zero 2050 is that the father knew where he was going and how he would get there. At Glasgow’s COP 26, the intention is to get to Point A, despite having no map, and despite having no way of getting there. Amazingly, everybody knows it.
The analogy gains traction when we consider that a long road has many sharp bends, as Confusion was wont to say, not to mention road blockings, narrow bridges and missing sections. We’d all be drowned.
Of course, 2050 will not come up over the horizon instantly. The obstacles on the road that make it actually as well as politically impossible will be revealed year by year, month by month, step by step. The goal will recede as we approach it. The Net Zero 2050 target will be not so much abandoned as mugged by reality, bit by bit. It will die the death of a thousand cuts … of emissions. And by the sword of political pragmatism. No ruling party will survive the breakdown of living standards as the cuts begin to draw blood and the Great Reset is revealed as the Great Lie.
The great pretence will be unveiled when for all the commitments (except from China, India and so on) to Net Zero, populations will continue to experience no visible change as a result. That is the eternal curse of climate politics; politicians can promise, but can’t deliver. Perhaps that is because they are fooled by the sleight of hand of trying to change the climate while working a political trick.
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