How climate change could be a spark to create a better world

When I was a boy there were two rivers in Austria that were deemed dead – not even microbial life was supposed to exist in them. The Danube was not safe for swimming over some stretches. All past. There are trouts in some of the formerly worst rivers now. The air is cleaner, the water is cleaner and we have cleaned up a huge number of toxic dumps from right after WW2. Carbon emissions remain an issue but it is an issue that can be dealt with. Not by heavy-handed top-down technology picking but by giving things a price. Countries must think about some sort of emissions (among other things) related border adjustment tax.

One great taboo in the climate change debate is how much has improved over the past three decades: in public perception; in transnational consensus and determination; in scientific understanding and discovery. To stress these things seems to ignore the urgency of the situation, minimise the scale of the potential disaster, and let the air out of tyres that really need to be at their most pneumatic.

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