Remember to count industry among the climate worriers
13 May 2019
The appearances of the youthful environmentalist Greta Thunberg have drawn some predictably Old Bufferish grumbles from the more senior sections of the media.
Yet hers is a performance that may stand the passage of time rather better than that of the teenage William Hague, piping up from the stage at the Tory conference many moons ago.
Not least because the core of Ms Thunberg’s message – we haven’t done nearly enough for the future of the planet – is pretty likely to be proved right.
Granted, if one is 60 rather than 16 and recalls a time when coal, asbestos and DDT were all deemed a good thing, then the view on progress made is likely to be altogether more positive.
But, as Master Hague pointed out to his more aged listeners, the older generation wouldn’t be around in years to come to have to worry about the consequences of being wrong.
Industry helps realise the dreams of cleaner energy, better air and sustainability – scaling up pilot schemes and theoretical constructs to become functioning business models
One ought not to worry overmuch if the perspective from the Thunberg generation is more pessimistic. Indeed, it is likely to prove beneficial both for society and business.
More concerning perhaps is the dichotomy in the mind of the public (regardless of age) between environmentalism and industry. With the latter being seen as the friend of chimney stacks, Frankenstein food, chemicals (always bad) and pollution.
Yet it is industry that helps realise in practical terms the dreams of cleaner energy, better air and sustainability – scaling up pilot schemes and theoretical constructs to become functioning business models.
Even without the Brexit distraction, government gives little sign of defining its stance on gas importation, shale, energy transition, hydrogen and electricity storage and thereby its strategy on energy overall.
As our main feature suggests, industry is wrestling with those very challenges. Getting that message across to the public will do a service for all – and go some way to help address the impending recruitment shortfall.