At the Bali Climate talks, the US was literally loudly boohed by virtually every other nation when our Representative refused to agree to binding targets.
A couple of days after this Bali roar of international fury, I happened to watch this video of Venturi's partly solar EV skim gracefully across a desert.
As I was watching, I saw a whole different future. Remember the zerocarbon sailing ships that glid across ice lakes in... was it, Barbarella, with Jane Fonda in the 60's. Instead of this EV looking like a toy to me, this time I saw an elegantly simple way to travel across a desert.
Previously, I had mentally classed this (partly) solar powered EV from the French company Venturi, as a "toy". But this time, watching the video, I suddenly saw this kind of design as appropriate for a plausible future, at least for us in the ever sunny Western US, where our temperatures will be 9 degrees hotter by 2100, and our future depends on whether we can adapt in time to desertification. This EV now looks like the new simple tech appropriate to a new age.
Why did my viewpoint change?
I think, that moment at Bali, when the Representative from Papua, New Guinea spoke up, with a very respectful, yet forceful ultimatum from the entire world. The US, he said, must lead, follow, or, please, get out of the way.
This speech has really changed the way I see our place in the future. I now believe that this forceful international rejection of our selfishness was a pivotal moment in history, and similar to another pivotal historic turning point.
I remembered that sudden change in clothing fashion at the time of the French Revolution. The incredible opulence and ostentation considered decent behaviour in the Age of The Sun King,
which actually had to be legislated against to prevent people dressing like their betters,
just like now, when CAFE standards are necessary to stop people buying ever weightier and more ostentatious "status symbols", in our time.
Yet, that desire for ostentation suddenly gave way to a radically different simplicity and humility in design of the technology we lived in that spoke of a connection between all people, as demonstrated in this watercolor of Jane Austin.
To the still pompous "eye" of the establishment, this adoption of unaffected simplicity appeared to make oneself ridiculously vulnerable.
Indeed, this new simplicity in design stripped away all those defenses previously felt to be so neccessary.
But, for some reason, the gentry no longer wished to be so differentiated from all the starving wretches at their feet. Why?
Who knows how these historic turning points come when they do? Some historian at dailykos will enlighten me, no doubt. But, just as at Bali last month, suddenly, the world had simply had enough of the McMansion and SUV flaunting of their times and put a violent end to the Age of Ostentation.
Of course, the rich scurried to imitate the new simple tech to protect themselves with the equivalent of...greenwashing, but it was too late. That world was done, and a new age was born.
I believe the roar of disaproval at Bali will mark a similar turning point in technological fashion. After the first couple times this country gets a wakeup call from the international rage finally spilling over, at our excessive greed and ostentatious displays,
people will see that simple tech has an elegantly spare minimal quality to it that is more appropriate to a more fairly distributed carbon-constrained future.
We Americans who sneer at the very idea of driving a "go-kart" will gradually come to see design differently. A new simple tech will gradually replace our foolishly wasteful ostentatiously over-elaborate design. Pared down design is already the 3rd world hack, if only for economy:
Simple tech will come to seem more appropriate after the ostentatious energy use of The Oil Age, just as it did then. After they literally lost their heads, a fairer system of sharing the wealth of the world began with the rise of democracy. That privileged group was not given a choice, or no doubt they would have chosen to get out of the way.
We are lucky we've been given a choice. We each average 20 tons of carbon a year. The rest of the world averages 4 tons each. We may lead, follow, or get out of the way.
If a tiny group of cave dwelling zealots could get pissed off enough about mere oil-theft to fly into our World Trade Center, what do you think the entire world: now way beyond infuriated, will eventually do to us to simply shut down our CO2 emissions?
We can lead, follow, or get out of the way.
Thank goodness we have been given a choice! We better take it!
After the Ukrainians accidentally nuked themselves in the 80's there was a decadelong drop in their CO2 emissions, as their economic life ground to a halt.
the (Soviet Union) CO2 emissions in million metric tons, gradually increasing till Chernobyl, plunged afterwards, and in the Ukraine they remain low to this day.
1984:- 4359.67 year of Chernobyl
Indeed, militarily speaking, eventually some nation, or group of nations might well conclude that its not that hard to forcibly reduce an uncooperative nation's CO2 emissions for it.
After all the Allied Nations knew that they had a moral imperative to act when 6 million Jews were anihilated on the orders of a madman, and the rest of the world certainly sees their situation to be similar, except unfortunately for us now its we greedy few that threaten the existence of the other 6 billion.