‘We have two relatively new inventions that could prove decisive to solving global warming before it destroys the planet. One is the solar panel.’ Photograph: Gérard Julien/AFP/Getty Images
Tue 23 Apr 2019 01.00 EDT Last modified on Tue 23 Apr 2019 09.36 EDT
We have the technology to prevent climate crisis. But now we need to unleash mass resistance too – because collective action does work
Because I am concerned about inequality and about the environment, I am usually classed as a progressive, a liberal. But it seems to me that what I care most about is preserving a world that bears some resemblance to the past: a world with some ice at the top and bottom and the odd coral reef in between; a world where people are connected to the past and future (and to one another) instead of turned into obsolete software.
And those seem to me profoundly conservative positions. Meanwhile, oil companies and tech barons strike me as deeply radical, willing to alter the chemical composition of the atmosphere, eager to confer immortality.
There is a native conservatism in human beings that resists such efforts, a visceral sense of what’s right or dangerous, rash or proper. You needn’t understand every nuance of germline engineering or the carbon cycle to understand why monkeying around on this scale might be a bad idea. And indeed, polling suggests that most people instinctively oppose, say, living forever or designing babies, just as they want government action to stabilise the climate.