No need to worry : researchers will find a solution to the problem, won’t they ? Time could be an obstacle to this optimism based on trust in scientific progress. In a certain way, it’s like cancer: there is no need to stop smoking since doctors will certainly find a cure. The problem is obviously that scientists might only find a solution in a few decades or centuries – every year, lung cancer kills over a million people.
Nuclear fusion, « clean » energy, biofuel made from algae, new carbon storing technology… If scientists invent all this, and other methods to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, it will be good news. But we are running out of time because the climate might warm up by over 2°C in the next decades. If this is indeed the case, the planet’s different balances could be disturbed, maybe irreversibly. We can therefore not wait for scientific progress as it develops unpredictably.
Indeed, technological progress is already taken into account in all the scenarios. It could reduce CO2 emissions by several thousand billion tons over a century! But even in the most optimistic scenario, it alone will not eliminate the problem. The remaining reductions will therefore have to be made through society measures we shan’t be able to avoid.
In fact, we cannot separate technological progress from financial and social issues. Indeed, most of the necessary technology already exists on an experimental basis but it is seldom or even, never used, because it is too expensive. Reducing costs or finding a way to make it affordable – through subsidies, for example – is not easy. As for the social measures, they might not cost as much as one might think…