The targets encourage a ‘burn now, pay later’ approach, writes Leslie Sklair, while Mark Walford says it is a form of colonialism to rob young people of their future to keep ourselves comfortable
Most of the media seem to think that the idea of net zero emissions is unproblematic, despite the fact that many climate scientists consider that it is very problematic. Given the prominence of the idea at Cop26, this lack of balance in the reporting of breakthroughs is worrying.
For example, Robert Watson, a former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has denounced net zero as a trap set by industrialists and governments to hoodwink the world. Watson and other climate scientists have argued that while net zero might be a great idea in principle, in practice it “helps perpetuate a belief in technological salvation and diminishes the sense of urgency surrounding the need to curb emissions now”. They say the push for net zero has encouraged a “burn now, pay later” approach, which has seen carbon emissions continue to rise.