Sometimes scientists change their minds. New developments cause a rethink. If this bothers you, consider how much damage is being done to the world by people for whom new developments do not cause a rethink.
The lawyers who designed the Paris Agreement (many of them American) were highly aware of US electoral schedules. That’s why they made the process for exiting the Agreement take four years. Trump may have announced the US’s intention to leave yesterday, but it won’t take effect until 4 November, 2020. And he is up for election on 3 November, 2020. In other words, the decision to leave Paris doesn’t belong to Donald Trump. It belongs to every American who votes in 2020.
Thomas Hale, Associate Professor of Global Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford
What now matters most is that we rich people give up some of our luxuries, ceasing to overheat the Earth’s atmosphere, and taking care of this planet in other ways, so that it continues to support intelligent life.
What industry calls innovation, in other words, looks more like the final suicidal throes of addiction. We are blasting the bedrock of our continents, pumping our water with toxins, lopping off mountaintops, scraping off boreal forests, endangering the deep ocean, and scrambling to exploit the melting Arctic—all to get at the last drops and the final rocks. Yes, some very advanced technology is making this possible, but it’s not innovation, it’s madness.
Because we have put so much carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere over the last two and half centuries, there is a great fraction of climate change that’s coming no matter what we do today. A certain amount of global warming and weather disruption is baked in; in a word, it is unstoppable. But you know what? So are we. Humans, and human progress, are also unstoppable.
We have made it through millennia of disease, famine, drought, and even an ice age. Until this modern time, we humans had little control over what became of our Earth, our home. We were along for the orbital-oscillating, axis-tilting, snowcap-cycling ride. But today, we have the technical means to watch over our home planet and take responsibility for our own fate. No generation before had the weather records on the scale we have today and the computing power to crunch those numbers. No generation before us could use geospatially tracked buoys and submersibles to know the ocean’s currents and ecosystems as we do now. No generation before us had the assets in space to look down and see the atmosphere as it really is, thin and vulnerable. In short, no generation before the one coming of age today could so readily be unstoppable.
Right now, today, we have among us the Next Great Generation, the one that will carry this process forward to the places that it must go. The young people, the innovators, the entrepreneurs, the engineers, and the just plain hard workers are among us. Together we will accept the challenge of creating clean energy and providing clean water to everyone on Earth. The Next Generation can, and will, change the world—for all of us together.
Over the years, Dame Vivienne Westwood has taken an increasingly active role in political activism, bridging the gap between fashion and policy with a varied collection of gorgeous pieces for the woman who has no fear.
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, climate change and the civil rights group Liberty have all benefited from her tireless toil and innovative collaborations.