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The Guardian: "Can the world economy survive without fossil fuels?"

"The past three centuries of progress have been powered by coal, oil and gas. Burning much of what’s left will lead to environmental and economic catastrophe. Here’s how to save the earth without giving up on growth"

"Here is a warning:
"For generations, we have assumed that the efforts of mankind would leave the fundamental equilibrium of the world’s systems and atmosphere stable. But it is possible that with all these enormous changes – population, agricultural, use of fossil fuels – concentrated into such a short period of time, we have unwittingly begun a massive experiment with the system of this planet itself."
That was Margaret Thatcher, in a speech to Britain’s scientific elite in 1988. Thatcher was no climate change denier. She told the Royal Society that her government supported the idea of sustainable economic development, and concluded:
"Stable prosperity can be achieved throughout the world, provided the environment is nurtured and safeguarded. Protecting this balance of nature is therefore one of the great challenges of the late 20th century."
"... Slowly, those in power are beginning to understand what is at stake: that if we carry on growing the global economy at its current rate, and continue to rely on fossil fuels to power that growth, the planet is going to cook. Not everybody buys into this narrative, of course. One of the challenges faced by those who wish to curtail fossil fuel use is that there is no political consensus on tackling climate change. The business-as-usual camp says that the scientific consensus is wrong about climate change, or that climate scientists have exaggerated the risks, which can be tackled if and when they become apparent.

"... The risk is now out there – and growing – because policymakers have now woken up to the risks of climate change. Michael Jacobs, who used to advise Gordon Brown on the issue, says:
"There have been two terrible realisations. We have started too late, and it doesn’t matter how much solar and wind power there is – you are still burning all the coal, oil and gas. Even if you do so more slowly, it will still go into the atmosphere and cause climate change."
"Jacobs adds that, in the past quarter of a century, when countries could have been putting in place the infrastructure for a new green economy, they have been going in the opposite direction. They have invested in fossil fuel-burning power plants and built energy‑inefficient buildings in cities designed for cars."

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