The traffic lights are still blinking in Odaka town, north-western Japan, but few cars pass through these deserted intersections. Frozen in time after being hit by the triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami and meltdowns in the nearby Fukushima Dai’ichi nuclear plant, tables are still laid in partially-collapsed restaurants and
The disaster at the Fukushima plant in Japan convinced German Chancellor Angela Merkel that nuclear power would never again be a viable option for her country. Now Merkel has embarked on the world’s most ambitious plan to power an industrial economy on renewable sources of energy.
“The momentum of the heating, and the momentum of the economy that powers it, can’t be turned off quickly enough to prevent hideous damage. But we will keep fighting, in the hope that we can limit that damage.”
Bill McKibben’s words occur on the final page of his newly published book Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet. The misspelling indicates a planet still recognizable but fundamentally changed. A planet that he first warned about over twenty years ago in his earlier book, The End of Nature.
McKibben is an activist as well as a writer. He led the 350.org campaign last year. Three hundred fifty parts per million is the level James Hansen and other scientists consider the upper limit of a safe level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.