Atmosphere of hope – WORD Christchurch

What I inevitably find out at book festivals is how little I actually know! Yesterday my lack of literary knowledge was found to be lacking and today I feel equally challenged at the Tim Flannery Atmosphere of hope session. Perhaps the only thing I can say in my defence is that at least the sessions have made me think and will inevitably lead me to new books and subjects.  Maybe this is the strength of book festivals in that they engender a sense of curiosity?

Tim Flannery. Photo by Damien Pleming. Image supplied.
Tim Flannery. Photo by Damien Pleming. Image supplied.

Tim Flannery has published over 30 books, including the award-winning The Future Eaters. He has been Australian Humanist of the Year and Australian of the Year. He is co-founder and chair of the Copenhagen Climate Council, Australia’s Chief Climate Commissioner, and co-founder and head of the Australian Climate Council.

This man is impressive, but I found myself at times struggling to hear him. Simon Wilson has this big booming voice whereas at times Tim Flannery “mumbled in his boots” as my mother used to say.

Cover of Atmosphere of hopeAs the title of this session suggests Tim Flannery believes there is some hope in the climate warming situation.  This has to be carefully negotiated however because if you have too much hope then you breed complacency, but too much despair and people give up. He has great faith in innovation and believes that “the commonsense of people is our greatest resource”.  He wants to see governments having impressive innovation funds, and managed to flatter the audience by talking about how clever and innovative Kiwis are.

Perhaps the most interesting thing I learnt is that emissions growth has flatlined for the first time when an economy has been growing, and this is in large part due to the role that China is playing, having started closing down old and inefficient coal fired industries and developing clean air technologies.  This is certainly not what you hear through mainstream media.

Question time was busy …I am always interested in how many people use this time to voice their opinions rather than actually ask the speaker a question, but perhaps they know more than me?

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