De-innovation

23.8.2020

Last week I wrote about technological optimism. This week let's talk about the opposite – what we call "de-innovation" – getting rid of "innovation" that is not helping any more. Saul Griffith describes how a 70-80% reduction in GHG within the next 15 years is possible if we only de-innovated fossil – that means electrifying everything. Such Large-scale electrification would slash total US primary energy demand in half without behavior change, nor hard to implement efficiency measures. But we need to de-innovate right now, meaning as of today there is no more room for new fossil. In another, smaller scale example, James Prosek describes how millions of Salmon returned to a river in Maine after a dam built 250 ago was decommissioned

Study from a group of European researchers looking at individual options to reduce GHGs showed me there's a lot of de-innovation we need to do on the amount of attention we give to certain topics, as their climate impact turns out to be not proportional to how much we talk about them (e.g recycling and shopping). The tables there are fascinating. WindEurope has a new report on circularity of turbines, which turn out to be a major environmental risk as we don’t know what to do with them at the end of life. I am not calling for de-innovation of wind power of course, rather a design for circularity approach – from day one. 
California fires - life is what happens when you focus on one crisis (but miss the real one) (Aug 2020 photo Noah Berger/AP) And finally, check out Boston city plan for a GND

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