When we build fossil fuel infrastructure like new runways at airports, or new methane processing plants, or a new car tunnel running under a city, we are locking ourselves in to using that infrastructure for several decades, at a minimum (“return on investment”).
But we don’t have that kind of time anymore. We need to be fossil fuel-free by 2050, and even on that timeline, we face climate catastrophe for the poor of the world.
So why do we insist on building more stuff that requires not just large amounts of fossil fuels to build, but large amounts of fossil fuels to run and use and that encourages the use of *more* fossil fuels? Why do we continue to do this knowing what we know, about CO2, about how much time we have left, about what the future holds should we fail to curb our insatiable appetite for fossil fuels?
Because we live in a system (a “matrix” if you will) that we have built for ourselves out of oil. We don’t know how to get out of the system, so we keep supporting it, because it’s all we know. To get out of the system requires such an incredible and unimaginable effort that most of us will never do it, and so we will go to our deaths supporting the very system that is stealing the future from ourselves and our children.
“There is no time for delay. Let’s build the runway. Let’s choke the Earth. Let’s get this damn thing over with, for what can be avoided, whose end is purposed by the mighty gods of business? Hasten our demise, let our children be the last of their sorry line, and spare their unborn descendants any further suffering. We will not save the rhino. We will not even save the hedgehog. How can we save the world?”
— Stewart Lee, in a funny and heartbreaking piece for the Guardian.