Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg is an internationally renowned climate icon who is well known for saying she does not want our hope, she wants our action. “Until you start focusing on what needs to be done rather than what is politically possible there is no hope,” Greta said. “The one thing we need more than hope is action. Once we start to act, hope is everywhere. So instead of looking for hope, look for action. Then, and only then, hope will come.”
From the streets to the halls of power, her calls for climate action have reverberated around the world. She has led a global movement of student strikes called “Fridays for the Future” and she has spearheaded the largest climate mobilization in history. At COP24 she issued a chilling warning and at COP25 she accused world leaders of doing little more than “clever marketing and creative PR”. She has fearlessly challenged the powerful repeatedly rebuking heads of state for their failure to reign-in
their emissions. At the forthcoming World Economic Forum in Davos she is expected to call for an end to fossil fuels.
Greta tells it like it is and her indignation is entirely justified. We have failed her and future generations. As she explained, just to have a chance of keeping temperatures below the upper threshold limit we will need to suck “hundreds of billions of tons of your CO2 out of the air”.
The process of removing emissions from the air is called carbon capture or Net Emissions Technologies (NETs). Over the last decade and a half there have been numerous private and academic applications of technologies that capture carbon. Although these efforts have had various degrees of success, we must refine and scale these technologies as quickly as possible. In addition to finding the will to eliminate emissions, our failure to reign-in emissions means we must also deploy NETs. While this may not be an ideal option, it may our last best hope.