|>>|| No. 83101
It's already fixed, we just don't realise it yet.
China is the biggest polluter in the world, but they're also the biggest investor in sustainable energy. In the short term, they're massively increasing production of lithium batteries, solar cells and smart grid technology. In the medium term, they're pouring money into thorium, pebble bed and fusion reactor technology. They're not doing this out of any altruistic impulse, but because bankrupting the oil industry will be spectacularly profitable.
The prices of solar panels and lithium batteries are plummeting, to the point that sustainable energy is now cheaper than fossil fuels in many places. Solar cells cost $15/Wp in 1998, $8/Wp in 2008 and under $1/Wp today. Lithium batteries have followed a similar price trajectory. Tesla's new Gigafactory will produce more lithium batteries than all existing factories combined; three new factories by LG Chem, Foxconn and BYD will double that again, all before 2020.
When low-carbon technology is the cheaper alternative, the unstoppable wheels of capitalism do all the hard work. People involved in the renewable energy industry are remarkably laid back about climate change, because they can see how quickly the transition is happening. The bottleneck now isn't technology, politics, or economics, but how quickly we can build factories. We literally can't pour concrete fast enough, which is really saying something if you've seen how fast the Chinese can erect a building.
Most of us can remember what life was like before smartphones and the internet. In the space of two decades, our daily life was completely transformed by new technology. Gimmicky gadgets straight out of science fiction became so ubiquitous that now we can't imagine life without them. Sustainable energy technology today is about where communications was in 2003 - everyone has got dialup modems and 3310s, but broadband and the iPhone are right around the corner. In about twenty years time, you'll be trying to describe the smell of petrol to a teenager and they'll look at you with a mixture of confusion and pity.