t’s tempting to think that economic growth makes climate change inevitable, and that the only solution is to back off before nature loses all patience and does to us what it did to the Bahamas.
Wrong answer, says Andrew McAfee.
Total energy use in America has been flat for about ten years — our carbon emissions are declining,” he noted. “If we lead the way on that, the rest of the world will follow that and they will de-carbonize much earlier in their history than we did.”
McAfee is co-director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, and the trick, he says, is for the government put a higher price on carbon emissions, to motivate the free market to keep doing more with less (incidentally, More From Less is the title of his new book).
Just one catch: We have to be willing to accept all sources of clean energy.
“I think we have an extraordinarily useful, clean, safe, green, scalable energy source out there but it scares a lot of people because it’s called nuclear,” he described.
Nuclear! He was once anti-nuclear, but says the latest designs are safe, affordable, and, because zero carbon is released, thoroughly green.
“I think our future is going to be pretty nuclear powered, but it does require us to get past the ”ick’ factor.”
Fair point, but if the alternative is more Bahamas, I think I’d take that deal.