Probably be really great – if the problem existed in the first place
Ever since the organizers of TED 2012 decided to open this year’s event with back-to-back talks by environmentalist Paul Gilding and my Abundance co-author Peter Diamandis, we’ve been fielding a lot of questions about global warming. We thought we’d take a bit of time to address them.
First, a mea culpa.
A number of people have pointed out that we spend very little time on the topic of global warming in Abundance. This is true—guilty as charged—though perhaps not entirely accurate. The goal in the book was to change people’s mindsets—to show that because of the power of four emerging forces (exponential technology, DIY innovation, technophilanthropy and the Rising Billion) humanity now has the potential to significantly increase global standards of living over the next two to three decades.
What we also say—though if we had it to do over again we would surely say this more often, and hopefully with more clarity—is that the very technologies that allow us to raise global living standards are the exact same technologies that will help us fight off global warming.
For example, most climate change solutions are based on ideas first proposed by Princeton professors Robert Socolow and Stephen Pacala in their 2004 “Stabalization Wedges” article for Science. The authors describe 15 strategies (wedges) which each have the potential to reduce global carbon emissions by at least a billion tons by 2060. What are the wedges? Things like doubling the fuel efficiency of 2 billion cars, installing 100 times the current amount of solar, doubling the global nuclear capacity, eliminating tropical deforestation, increasing the use of bio-fuels, capturing carbon etc. For readers of Abundance, these solutions should sound familiar.