Ever since the 1970’s when the Club of Rome warned of strict limits to economic growth, environmental debate has focused on innovation versus scarcity. On one side, techno-optimists believe innovation can push through any limit – when one thing gets scarce, we’ll replace it with something else. On the other, eco-pessimists point to the unforgiving math of a growing economy (and population) in a finite world – you can’t innovate around the laws of nature.
Catastrophic climate disruption from unchecked carbon emissions is a modern variant of a recurring theme. Today’s techno-optimists argue human ingenuity will bring low-carbon innovations – the ‘Cleantech Bulls’ – to market fast enough to limit climate risk. Modern eco-pessimists believe climate disruption – the “Climate Bear” – threatens economic growth itself, regardless of technological advances in clean energy. We’ve all got a stake in this fight.
Who’s your favourite: Bulls or the Bear?