Sunday, November 29, 2015

Climate Action OR Climate Justice?

As the action starts to heat up around COP 21 in Paris, some crucial distinctions between activist groups are coming into sharper relief. This piece by South African activist Patrick Bond goes into detail but basically, on one side stand those willing to support any measurable steps taken by the assembled countries to reduce emissions. On the other stand those who wish to use the grassroots climate movement to construct a new order. Those trusting that incremental steps can avert climate crisis ask that more radical forces "not let the perfect be the enemy of the good". Those who believe that unless capitalism itself is addressed no just transition can be achieved say you must attack the disease and not just the symptoms. Till now, there has been a detente of sorts around this question of climate justice. To think about it broadly requires that the notion of re-distribution be entertained as well as the question of climate debt. Those who hope to build support by promising continued economic growth have to willfully blind themselves to the fact that major economies are not going to reduce their standard of living. Nor will these economies allow themselves to be penalized by some international body for failing to meet some goal. No capitalist state can go down that road. This is a competitive system, based on winning, not sharing. The polarization of climate groups can be seen in their slogans and strategies. The clicktivist groups want us to encourage elites to devise carbon markets and trading schemes, to build a greener capitalism, the radical forces say don't get your hopes up, look beyond Paris, even "Shut it down", Seattle style. We know Obama is "a market kind of guy" (his own words) and has no intention of disrupting the economy of the US. And yet the Disruption is just a matter of when, not if.(this first degree celsius is the easy one) And global elites are gonna have a lot of splainin to do when shit hits fan.

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