A Reinvention of Civilisation

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

Helen Thompson's article in a recent Sunday Times reminds us that our Net-Zero legislation passed through the UK parliament in indecent haste in the dog days of the May government.  Her article: Why net zero requires a reinvention of civilisation, was like a fresh breeze clearing the air in a rank debate.  There is a hard truth – or two – in every paragraph.  I strongly recommend a read – maybe every month …

This is how it begins:

“Fossil fuel energy has been the material basis of modern civilisation. The Industrial Revolution was the start of an energy revolution that transformed how human beings could live. Today the four basic physical pillars of our society — ammonia, cement, plastics and steel — are largely produced using fossil fuels. So net zero requires reinventing modern civilisation. It requires transforming the energy basis of our way of life within less than three decades. There is no precedent in human history.”


Helen is professor of political economy at Cambridge University and co-presenter of the podcast These Times.







Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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  • I am pleased to see mainstream academics (which I presume she is) are calling the problem in a rational way. Like Daniel Quinn states in his books, we need to go 'Beyond Civilization' as we perceive it - something our socio-econo-politico systems seem incapable of doing. And yet, we persist in believing that they somehow will 'lead' us to the solutions we need. Grass-roots versus Top-down? I'll put my faith in the grass-roots to find innovation and adaptation, if only people would believe in themselves.