Traveling and coming home

This week I was in Corn­wall. The con­sul­tant who is part of the project team lives there and works from home. I have been there for a few days to work on a report. Corn­wall is the south­west­ern tip of the UK, a train jour­ney of more than 6 hours. My des­ti­na­tion was a vil­lage on the coast with rolling mead­ows, small old walls and pic­turesque farms. The feel­ing of being in anoth­er world was enhanced by my phone hav­ing no signal.

At this remote loca­tion, we have fol­lowed the Phi­lae land­ing. When it comes to long jour­neys, the Roset­ta is in a cat­e­go­ry of its own. The ESA web­site has a clear ani­ma­tion about the route of Roset­ta, which by the way only opens in Inter­net Explor­er (appar­ent­ly a cross-brows­er web­site is more dif­fi­cult to realise than a comet land­ing). I found it a fas­ci­nat­ing expe­ri­ence to wit­ness how human­i­ty made direct con­tact with a comet hurtling through space some­where between Mars and Jupiter.

Clos­er to home, anoth­er his­toric moment took place. The U.S. and Chi­na have signed a cli­mate deal in which Chi­na com­mits to reduc­ing green­house gas emis­sions for the first time. The impor­tance of the agree­ment lies main­ly in the fact that the two biggest pol­lut­ing economies no longer hide behind each other:

Many US politi­cians have long argued against cut­ting green­house-gas emis­sion on the grounds that Chi­na would nev­er act — so what was the point? And Chi­na, for its part, has long insist­ed that rich coun­tries should cut their own emis­sions and give devel­op­ing coun­tries like Chi­na time to grow.

With this deal, the two coun­tries are begin­ning to coop­er­ate rather than use each oth­er as an excuse for inaction.

Vox, 11-11-2014

Of course we still have to see what comes of it, but there is at least a lit­tle pos­i­tiv­i­ty on the cli­mate front. In the end, we do not want the band Live to be right when they sing: “We made it to the moon, but we can’t make it home.”