Why Act Now?

Dr. Leslie Field

Since I started Ice911, there has been a worry that policy-makers and the populace would be tempted to not make any of the needed long-term changes to decarbonize because work like ours could be used to undo the harms from our current energy mix, CO2 emissions, etc. This is an argument based on the concept of moral hazard: the lack of incentive to guard against risk where one is protected from its consequences.

Three key reasons prove to me that we need to get the word out now, and get it out widely, about our work:

  1. If people think that it's absolutely hopeless to adhere to the agreed-upon 2 degree limit, it's demotivating, and there's a certain part of the population that will just give up and not do anything because they don't think there's any point to acting. I think that if we can give the world some time, and some hope, that the long-term sustainable energy and conservation efforts are very much needed and that we could make some more time to have a chance to get those longer-term solution is out there and working, it can empower and motivate some great efforts and great work to get there, rather than resigning ourselves and our children to a very grim future.

  2. I think we are clear enough in our messaging that our own work is NOT the whole answer, that it simply buys the world time for these longer-term solutions, and that those longer-term solutions are very much needed, and by being VERY clear about this, that we can avoid some of the moral hazard risks and confusions.

  3. I think it’s worthwhile, and necessary, to get our ground-rules well-publicized, of insisting that geoengineering solutions must be eco-friendly, reversible, and first-do-no-harm, in order to prevent people from desperately choosing some irreversible options with terrible potential side effects. There are better ways out there, and it's necessary to highlight that fact for the populace and for decision makers before some really regrettable decisions are made.

Stay cool,