The super-rich want to fund quick fixes because the real solutions could cost them. But their schemes stand to do real harmby Adam McGibbon / February 7, 2018 / Leave a comment
Everyone calm down—Bill Gates is here to save us from climate change, apparently—as reported this week in the Guardian.
The Microsoft billionaire is bankrolling a plan to suck the greenhouse gas CO2 out of the atmosphere. Giant fans will extract the gas and use it to make “clean fuel.” Outside a small town in western Canada, a Gates-funded prototype sits, extracting a tonne of C02 a day from the atmosphere, and, er, releasing it back into the air. We are promised that “potentially game-changing technologies” are on the verge of development to turn this into a viable, scalable system.
But we’ve heard this before. Bill Gates is only the latest super-rich man to appear as the quick-fix, snake-oil climate solutions salesman. A number of climate quick-fixes come under the umbrella of ‘geoengineering’—and sucking carbon from the atmosphere is one of the least audacious.
Richard Branson, the Virgin Airline-owning ‘environmentalist’ is another high-profile backer. Branson supports a range of harmful climate quick-fixes, including miracle ‘green’ fuels for airlines, ethanol for cars from crops. Like Gates, he also supports the idea of removing carbon from the atmosphere in some as-yet-unspecified way.
These techno-fixes are very attractive to the rich and powerful for several reasons. They appear to demonstrate a simple, quick-fix to an immensely complicated problem. They present the spectre that we can continue on with our current economic s…