The road to carbon capture – the entrenching of carbon-free industries and technology in everyday life – was at least a few centuries ahead of the automobile, when coal power began to replenish human and animal endeavors, wreaking havoc in previously pristine landscapes in the United Kingdom, Europe and then the USA (“Debit cards, electric cars and ghosts of past technology”, Opinion, FT Weekend, January 22).
Before we became aware of climate change, mankind had already accepted the pollution and health impacts of burning fossil fuels as the collateral damage of economic growth.
It is this blind attachment to growth that we must abandon. Embracing electric vehicles will not be enough if we continue to design cities around car use. In fact, if we had embraced EVs in the 1920s, we would probably have fought wars over lithium and cobalt (we still can), and global battery companies would be scolded as much as their oil counterparts today.
Homebuyers in the US are just as much an idea of energy efficiency as their UK counterparts, and this is how the construction industry manages to sell a product that is not suitable for a world of extreme weather conditions and energy price increases.
But while technology inclusion is an issue, the opposite end of the spectrum is possibly worse. Rapid replacement of products such as phones and clothing leads to more resource consumption and exhaust fumes, with recycling mostly getting lip service.
I would be happy not to receive a new debit card from my bank unless they agree to take the old one back, instead of me having to cut it in half and put it in the trash.
Vienna, VA, USA