Carbon Hated or the Swampy Ground of Climate Change
ScenarioCapitalism thrives on scarcity and apocalypse and is preparing to adapt to climate change and peak oil by suggesting austerity measures on domestic populations that will be encouraged to be adopted voluntarily - or imposed by fines and other punishments. These austerity measures will not impact significantly upon climate change but are examples of disaster capitalism, where market forces take advantage of a disorientating situation to shift the cost of public services onto individual consumers. They are also examples of the power of the image, the representation of action replacing the real.
The language of environmentalism (of 'exploiting nature' ) seems to have been co-opted by corporations and governments who will sell solutions to ecological catastrophes, enabling business as usual for a segment of the population in the West - with the rest of the population voluntarily tightening their belts - and securing its borders against a rising tide of migration from the majority world bearing the brunt of both past and current and future apocalypse.
Mainstream greens and some radical environmentalists are using the terms 'Humans' or 'We' or 'Man' is responsible for climate change. If 'we' are responsible then 'no-one' is responsible.
Ideology WarAfter being away for a year , have noticed a low level war developed between different sides of the progressive movement.
Environmentalists were accused of doing goverments and big businesses work for them - by employing threats of catastrophe, guilt and morality to encourage reductions in individual consumption patterns whilst not questioning the power relations running through climate change and society as a whole. Essentially meaning that the majority of the population change their habits, or live in worse conditions, while the minority can carry on with business as usual including adapting and profiting from the effects of climate change. See the strategies of private corporations who profited from Hurricane Katrina and the floods in New Orleans.
The environmentalists were accused of not investigating the philosophical and historical links with authoritarian regimes who employed the same language and visions of nature.This unquestioning acceptance of Malthus contains hidden racist attitudes and fear of the poor. Their sentiments for a more ecological way of life were portrayed as being open to abuse - if the analysis of power relations is taken out then green solutions can easily be coopted by vested interests.The politics of emergency and the climate of fear - "There is no time to be critical - we must act now" , "Something - Anything - must be done" could lead to a worsening of conditions for the majority without any benefit to the environment, whilst providing space for nationalism to grow. For a recent example of this see 'BNP and Peak Oil'
On the other side, Marxists and class struggle anarchists were accused of being "history worshippers" who are resistant to the forces of change. Their stance - without a social revolution involving the broad base of the population, that is the working class , the environment will continue to be degraded - was said to be 'not living in the real world'.
Their theory is that by individualising responses to structural issues we end up doing gestures that feel good “ but aren't necessarily the best thing to help the environment in the long term. But what is to be done?
Some said "it's up to us to force the costs back onto capital and to resist austerity measures on the working class that exist solely to allow industry to keep on burning fossil fuels and churning out disposable commodities, superfluous packaging, junk mail and the like for the endless process of accumulation"
This is more complicated than changing to energy efficient lightbulbs, or recycling more, or not flying.
Am interested in a sythesis of these 2 processes of the need to reduce consumption to tackle inefficient production methods, whilst changing everything else. Collective solutions. How the Planet of Slums and global warming are intimately linked, how energy taxes and bin fines and renewable energies produced for profit work in the world.
The current situation seems to be similar to the debates between social and deep ecologists as to the cause of the ecological crises which led to common ground documented in the book "Defending the Earth".
Suggested reading:Mute "Its not Easy Being Green"
Climate Camp self-critiques
Ecology and Class (AF PDF)
A new weather front - Turbulence article by Paul Sumburn
Variant - "The Oil Issue"
This and this from the excellent website by Fundamentalist Druid about what a really sustainable UK could look like.
Government and Corporate preperationsUK Government site on how to persuade the 'consumers' site
DEFRA PDF about "the rules of the game"
Green thing - (austerity site)
Privatising the threat of climate change
List of workshops at recent London Business Conference on Climate Change
Notice the joining up of measures reducing carbon emissions, increasing nuclear power, and border controls/identity politics. This is what the business response to climate change looks like.
Enabling New Nuclear Build
Carbon Footprint Consumer Research
Emissions Trading Aviation 2007
Carbon Footprint IT Summit
Sustainable Financial Products
Future Fuels Rail Traction
Carbon Footprint Construction Summit
Global Customer Metering Strategies
Global Water Efficiency Strategies
Border Control 2