In our critical reflexion on typical causes for delaying, downgrading, or rejecting climate change action, we explore “technology optimism”, which falls under the category of overoptimism fallacies.
In our daily news feeds related to climate change, we increasingly encounter two main topics: alarming reports about ever more record weather events and encouraging messages about new ideas and technological progress fighting climate change. High hopes are put into new ways of renewable energy production to substitute fossil energy or geo-engineering for carbon capturing or reduce solar radiation.
While it is tempting to trust that technological developments can stop climate change without requiring us to accept changes to our everyday lives, this hope is deceptive and, in all likelihood, highly risky. Currently envisioned implementations, such as renewable energy production, require high initial investments in new facilities, which in turn generate high emissions, making it questionable whether the amount of energy currently required is even achievable within the tight timeframe, finite carbon budget and available resources. Highly innovative approaches such as nuclear fusion are showing initial successes but are even less feasible to implement on the required scale in the given time.
We will need technologies to reach climate goals, but technologies will not suffice to sustain the ever-growing energy demands of our lifestyles. In KNOWING, we identify which transformation is “affordable” within the finite carbon budget, where energy can be reduced and where it is indispensable in the transformation to post-fossil societies, and how we can make sure that this transition is best supported by technologies.