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First there was Doom scrolling, then Greenwashing now we have HopeFishing.

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Yes, it’s a thing.

Possibly even worse than greenwashing, HopeFishing is when bad actors exaggerate and accelerate the fantasy of how we can solve the climate crisis, using solutions that either don’t yet exist, or that may actually be harmful if they were ever implemented.

There are entire web sites, which we will not link to for obvious reasons, that publish stories every day about a new invention or discovery that is “sure” to save the world.

Not all of the featured solutions are totally bogus, the clever publishers add in just enough “real” information to keep you guessing, but our informal research showed that 8 out of 10 were either total speculation or something that has been tried in a tiny sample in a lab and would, if ever, come to market in perhaps decade, for example.

Why is this so bad, you say? Because when these faux solutions, always hyped to the hilt, are so outrageously fantastic, that when taken at face value, can overshadow any real solution that might be available today, right now.

An example of this is hyper-efficient design of homes and buildings combined with sustainable energy generation and storage. A perfect combination of existing design techniques and currently available advanced technology these solutions are reedy to activate immediately.

This incredible mix is available and should be, must be, implemented worldwide as fast as possible. Doing so would reduce the cost of shelter, at a time with the affordable housing crisis is exploding worldwide, and at the same time lower carbon and greenhouse gas emissions for all structures built this way to beyond zero (in other words, using less energy than is produced, all from clean renewable sources).

Unfortunately, stories about such realistic and practical ideas will not be published by HopeFishing sites. The all-to-real situation is that a bias toward “deep-tech” and intellectual property generating solutions already exists and many of these are also still in R&D and might never actually work in the general marketplace.

Worse, those who are led to believe that these exaggerated claims and world rescuing solutions are going to be ubiquitous “any day now” are lulled into a state of apathy and complacency. And, all this at a time when the precise opposite is so urgently needed. HopeFishing. As deadly or more deadly than climate denial.

At the same time, those profiting off these “happy” non-news stories can tell themselves they are the good guys, just pointing out how wonderful humans are for inventing a world saving solution every day, sometimes multiple times per day.

Partial HopeWashing is also not ideal which makes things harder to understand

Some, such as Elon musk, “innocently” introduced products and services like the Tesla Semi EV, which is, finally, set for a product launch on December 1, 2022. Five years after it was first announced. As for the Cybertruck, which has yet to see the light of day, or for example, the full self driving feature, which has been announced, over and over and over, yet still has potentially years until it will be fully functional.

This all seems harmless enough but when taken to the next level, where say, a remedy is put forward that claims all electric cars will have batteries that can run for thousands of miles and take seconds to charge, and then, upon deeper research, it turns out this idea is simply a thought, or even a projection of an imaginary claim: at that point it becomes HopeFishing.

Another example of a partial level of this is Cement and Steel. These two materials, heavily used for building and construction, produce some of the highest levels of “embodied” carbon – meaning to manufacture them for use, a large amount greenhouse gasses must be released into the atmosphere. (causing and worsening global warming)

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were alternative versions of these materials that do not harm the environment during manufacture? Sure it would. But it would also be a gold-mine, or like all the world’s gold mines combined, to whoever figures out how to to this with little or no added costs.

Here are just a few companies that have been heavily funded to solve this problem already:

Key Companies Profiled by Fact.MR:

  • CarbiCrete
  • Carbon Cure
  • Cemex
  • CeraTech
  • Ecocem Ireland Lt
  • Heidelberg Cement
  • Holcim
  • Kiran Global Chems Ltd.

This is an old list, there are many, many more that have been formed since this list was published. And that is not including the same scenario for steel.

Again, what’s the problem here? For one, it is an example of how “racing forward to recreate the past” dominates the climate solutions marketplace. Instead of looking for different ways to build our infrastructure with less of these materials, we are desperately trying to find a way to imitate the cheap, massively subsidized growth patterns of the last 150 years.

An alternative building material, and there are some out there, that does not require a patented invention just to exist will very likely be minimized while these highly supported “lottery tickets” will be touted and exaggerated back and forth as they all try to dominate a future market in the trillions of dollars.

Secondly, the partial HopeWashing effect comes into play. How should someone who does not spend the time or have the expertise to research the claims of these companies ever hope to grasp just how close they actually are (or aren’t) to removing billions of tons of high carbon producing materials from the supply chain?

And if the answer, after arduous research and due diligence and sober calculation, is that the solution is certain to be too late? Once again the money and effort spent chasing happy unicorns and rainbows (and the past) will already be gone.

Therefore, the funding and attention that should be paid to immediately viable less obviously obscenely-lucrative solutions will be passed over, potentially for years or decades.

And if that happens, HopeFishing will turn out to be far deadlier than climate denial, GreenWashing or any other nefarious game of self-deception humans play on themselves.

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