Elon Musk’s big battery brings reality crashing into a post-truth world

For months, politicians and fossil fuel industry have lied about the viability of renewables. Now Tesla’s big battery in South Australia will prove them wrong

South Australian premier Jay Weatherill listens to Tesla chief executive officer Elon Musk speak during an official ceremony in Adelaide to announce that Tesla will install the world’s largest grid-scale battery in the South Australian state. Photograph: STRINGER/Reuters

Elon Musk’s agreement to build the world’s largest battery for South Australia isn’t just an extraordinary technological breakthrough that signs coal’s death warrant. It’s potentially a game changer in the way we do politics, reinserting the importance of basic reality into a debate which has been bereft of it for too long.

There’s been a lot written in recent years on the idea that we are living in a “post-truth” world. Climate writer David Roberts brought it to my attention around 2010, when I was grappling with the idea that dinosaur politicians and rent-seeking corporates not only weren’t telling the truth about climate change and energy: they were actively dismissive and destructive of the very idea of truth.

While we got a taste for it in Australia under Tony

“don’t believe anything I haven’t written down”

Abbott’s government, the idea sprang into the global mainstream last year with Donald Trump’s election campaign and the Brexit bus.

It seemed that truth no longer mattered. Facts were not just unimportant, but barriers to be smashed through with rhetoric. Demonstrating beyond reasonable doubt that a politician was lying no longer had any impact. Even when people agreed that he (usually) was lying, they still supported him, because he activated a frame or a value that drove their political decision-making.

Read more: The Guardian

Leave a Reply