Why is 2013 so different from 1813, or 1963 for that matter? Because right now all the graphs in his book, which you suspect he carries around in his head as well — graphs for world population, CO2 parts per million, global ocean heat content and loss of tropical rainforest and woodland, for instance — are lurching upward in ways they never have before.
“It's precisely because of those graphs that I think we are in trouble,” he says. But despite everything, behind the scenes, he's a bit of a rational optimist himself. Why else would he assign some of his best scientists the task of creating artificial photosynthesis? His lab is one of only seven in the world working on this.
The goal is to take carbon out of the atmosphere and at the same time create energy using the same process that plants use to make carbohydrates.
“It's a high-risk project but the ultimate goal would be a trillion artificial trees running a trillion living software operating systems generating electricity and potentially sequestrating carbon,” he says.
Now that's more like it. We're only probably f****d.
David Fuller's view I had not previously heard of this artificial photosynthesis research, but it sounds very interesting.
As I said yesterday: “… I would rather see the serious environmental issues tackled by government funded scientific programmes. The alternative is for economies to weaken themselves with increasingly expensive energy policies, as we currently see in most of Europe .”