The politicians’ third and more complex deception is in the technology-centered “decarbonization” measures they embrace in the name of “green growth.” These rely on tweaking, rather than transforming, the big technological systems through which most fossil fuels are consumed — transport networks, electricity grids, urban infrastructure, and industrial, agricultural and military systems.
An example is electric vehicles, promoted as the principal means to reduce transport sector emissions. Governments ignore the carbon footprint of the vehicles’ manufacture and electricity use (unless and until the grids are 100 percent green), and the roads and parking spaces that the vehicles use.
Alternative approaches focus on expanding public transport, shifting to non-motorized modes (walking, cycles, electric scooters), and reducing the total number of journeys, especially in cities. In a climate emergency, they ask, shouldn’t we stretch our imaginations beyond lives made miserable sitting in rush-hour traffic?