Yesterday, I had my now annual flirtation with nihilism after sitting through a truly terrifying presentation on the latest climate change science.
Back in 2006 it was Al Gore giving me nightmares with an Inconvenient Truth, last year I caught Robert Watson, former chief scientist at the World Bank and now a scientific advisor at Defra, delivering a keynote address that made Gore's slide show seem gloriously optimistic, and yesterday it was the turn of Professor Chris Rapley, director of the Science Museum and former head of the British Antarctic Survey, to give a speech that made me want to rush home, draw the curtains and curl up under the duvet clutching a bottle of scotch.
Like many scientists, Rapley is not one for the fire and brimstone. Instead, he delivered his facts in a measured manner, which allowed the gravity of what he was saying to hit home all the harder.
In a nutshell, Rapley spent 40 minutes explaining why the threat from climate change is much, much worse than climate scientists first thought and why action to address the problem is taking place far too slowly.
He may have finished on an upbeat note, quoting JFK's famous assertion that, "Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man", but it was hard to share this optimism when it followed a graph showing that both temperatures and carbon emissions are rising faster than climate models predicted.
In short, the worst case scenarios keep getting worse - and they weren't great to start with.
Of course, succumbing to this gloomy outlook won't help anyone and thankfully there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic that the transition to a low carbon economy can be delivered: it makes economic sense, legislators are committed to making it happen, big business is on board, and exciting new technologies from wave generators to smart grids are emerging all the time.
But that does not mean that terrifying reminders about the sheer scale of the climate crisis are no longer necessary.
It is only by hammering home the magnitude of the climate change threat that politicians and business leaders will be compelled to act, particularly when so many of them are still yet to engage with the very simplest measures that are required to curb emissions.
In many ways, it is this widespread failure to undertake the simple energy and cost saving initiatives that make economic as well as environmental sense that is even more depressing than the predictions for the climate.
Rapley was speaking at a conference on clean tech investment hosted by research firm Library House, where delegates repeatedly bemoaned the fact that while investment is flowing rapidly towards big exciting energy projects in the fields of solar and wind, more mundane but no less environmentally significant innovations in the areas of energy efficiency and material design are being neglected.
I hate the use of the word sexy in this context - partly because it has become a cliché, but mostly because it seems like an insult to sex - but as many of the investors observed certain clean technologies and practices have become regarded as glamorous and attractive, while many of the apparently uglier measures that could actually make big differences here and now are being shunned.
Thankfully, this appears to be changing with more and more investors expressing an interest in areas such as energy efficiency, but more action is urgently required.
Making insulation sexy is never going to be easy, but as Rapley points out the scale of the crisis is now so huge that businesses can no longer afford to be picky about which carbon cutting measures they choose to embrace.
They need them all and if they aren't willing to start with the energy efficiency measures that are the simplest to undertake then we might as well all start hiding under the duvets.
Right, I'm off to try and work out how an SUV makes environmental sense.
Have a good weekend,
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