Tyndall Manchester academics Alice Larkin and Kevin Anderson contributed two essays to The Climate Book
4 October 2022
New publication, The Climate Book. An anthology of essays from over 100 academics, scientists & other authors, with Greta Thunberg weaving a connecting narrative through them.
Alice’s essay addressed The Challenge of Transport, moving both passengers and freight. As passengers, the time taken to travel has remained similar across time, it’s just that we’ve found ways to go faster and therefore further in the same amount of time, whether that’s for commuting or vacations. This has meant a huge increase in energy consumption, and consequently emissions. Turning to freight, as societies have become wealthier, we’ve consumed more stuff – stuff that needs to be moved around. Here again speed and distance have increased markedly, with a rapid rise in energy use and emissions. Finally, although emissions are important, they are just one part of a bigger sustainability challenge, other pollutants, noise and wider social disruption are all key issues, often disproportionately impacting poorer communities.
Kevin’s essay, The New Denialism, draws a clear distinction between Climate Denial and what he terms Mitigation Denial. The latter he sees extending far beyond the oil executives and inept/corrupt policy makers, to include many climate academics, journalists, NGOs and entrepreneurs – basically all those of us who frame the climate debate. In essence he sees two or more decades of serial underplaying of the scale of mitigation required to meet our climate commitments. Put simply, a collective preference has emerged to leave the dominant economic and power norms unchallenged – tweaked at the margins perhaps, but nothing too fundamental. By contrast, the ongoing failure to actually deliver meaningful cuts in emissions now demands profound levels of system change. Still, unpick our low-carbon scenarios and storylines and it is clear we still favour the soothing ignorance of the blue pill over the unsettling reality of the red pill.
Tyndall members from other Tyndall Universities also contributed to the book.
Outcomes have included: Major book launch, considerable mainstream/social media attention; serialisation as BBC Book of the Week; led to other requests to engage, particularly in run-up to COP27.