To the broader part of your question, innovation is already playing a major role in bringing about new potential solutions to the climate crisis. The tech world had a bitter experience after the burst of enthusiasm in 2005 and 2006 because of a perfect storm made up of four elements: First, the great recession, which had a huge, destructive impact on business generally. Number two, the Chinese juggernaut, which subsidized the production of several prominent renewable energy technologies to the point where their sales price fell below the price of production in the West. Third, the shale gas boom dropped the retail price of electricity to levels below what many renewable energy plans needed to be viable. And fourth there was the policy failure I mentioned earlier in the U.S. Senate and Copenhagen. And all the while there was this massively funded climate denier campaign by the Koch Brothers and Exxon-Mobile and others that hired tobacco industry veterans to work with them on consumer advertising and lobbying activities.It's getting really scary out there, with the freak weather and Exxon and Koch-fueled Republican intransigence, but lately I've been cheered up by the recent optimism from Bill McKibben, Paul Gilding, and now Al Gore. The full interview with Gore is definitely worth a read, particularly if you are a treehugger feeling down in the trenches (feeling like a roothugger, I guess). 5000+ comments already on the article over there, undoubtedly from paid fossil fuels Internet minions--they see this as a threat.
But that setback was only temporary because reality has a way of reasserting itself. There has been a 100-fold increase in the number of extreme, high-temperature events around the world in the distribution curve. And people have noticed for themselves — the rain storms are bigger, the droughts are deeper and the fires are more destructive. All of these things have not escaped notice and people are connecting the dots. The cumulative amount of energy trapped by manmade global warming pollution each day in the earth’s atmosphere is now equal to the energy that would be released by 400,000 Hiroshima bombs going off every 24 hours. It’s a big planet, but that’s a lot of energy.
The consequences are now hard to escape. Every night on the news, it’s like a nature hike through the book of revelations. Eleven states today are fighting 35 major fires! People are noticing this. And simultaneously they’re noticing the sharp drop in the cost of carbon-free, greenhouse gas-free energy, and the combination is pushing us over this political tipping point and the trend is unstoppable.
I have to say, it's feeling a lot like this:
Sauron and the Ring are still around, there is still a lot more fighting to do and dangerous roads ahead of us, but the wind has changed.