Dr Mayer Hillman is an 86-year old social scientist and he has been contributing articles about carbon emissions, global warming and climate change for much of his life. A recent article in The Guardian sets out his current stance.
In an interview with Patrick Barkham, published on 26th April 2018, he points out that, because humans are so dependent on fossil fuels, there is not much longer for this planet to sustain life here. He believes that climate change is in runaway mode and that “we are doomed” (to quote The Guardian headline).
Dr Hillman is a senior fellow emeritus of the Policy Studies Institute and has contributed over the years to a number of policy decisions, one of which was a recommendation that homes should be energy-rated, finally adopted by Government in 2007. He has also, for more than 40 years, challenged society’s preoccupation with economic growth.
He has been a keen cyclist, though cannot cycle at present for health reasons. He is quoted in The Guardian article as saying:
“With doom ahead, making a case for cycling as the primary mode of transport is almost irrelevant,” he says. “We’ve got to stop burning fossil fuels. So many aspects of life depend on fossil fuels, except for music and love and education and happiness. These things, which hardly use fossil fuels, are what we must focus on.”
Dr Hillman has done much work in the past on road safety and has written at length about society’s failure to challenge the supremacy of the car.
In 2016 the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was confirmed as beyond 400 parts per million, the highest level for at least three million years (when sea levels were up to 20m higher than now). Hillman is quoted as saying, “Concentrations can only drop if we emit no carbon dioxide whatsoever. “Even if the world went zero-carbon today that would not save us because we’ve gone past the point of no return.”