[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]
Fact: Climate change (CC) is real and getting “realer” by the day.
Fact: Most national governments are subsidizing the fossil fuel industries like there is no tomorrow. (Because they know there isn’t one.)
Fact: A few people (relatively speaking) are concerned; a few love to use CC as a convenient topic of conversation and ranting; most remain content to see consumerism on the rise and honestly either don’t have a clue about climate change (i.e., what it means) or don’t give a flying f**k about it. I’m being observationally honest.
About CC: does it matter if it is a natural event or if it is anthropogenic (OK, man-made!)?
It does only in the sense that, if it is a natural event, nothing man does will make an iota of difference – it will run its course and how “deep” or how “high” it runs is outside of man’s control. So, there is no “option one” here.
If anthropogenic then man has a degree of control over it. He can change the focus of his technology (or ditch it altogether if changing it is too slow) and watch billions die horribly as their citified infrastructure no longer provides the means for health care, food, shelter, heat, water, sewer or and he can watch billions die from fossil fuel (FF) pollution and environmental collapse.
Any attempts to re-focus global technology from FF to “renewable” or “clean” or “green” technology using the existing template dictated by predatory capitalism is, of course, hopeless. Capitalism is a totally predatory system. To use it, you have to present yourself to the bank with a predatory plan, or a sub-system that will feed the insatiable main god’s appetite for living prey. Anything that intends to curtail the god’s food supply will be mocked, delayed indefinitely, changed, or it will “fail” to meet certain “standards.” If it is economically viable however it will be allowed to proceed and the end result will be no better and likely worse than what it replaced. Do note: the problem isn’t the pollution but the accompanying mindset.
My opinion after a life time of involvement in environmental issues and social change, is that “man” as a species has simply overreached itself through greed and heartless corruption and it is reaping what it has been sowing for thousands of years. It needed only the higher numbers combined with an inhuman and inhumane science and machine-based technology heavily favouring oppression and destruction to bring itself to its own ignoble, fully deserved, demise.
If I really feel that way, and I most certainly do, then what words would I have for anyone who does care? Not much, except to say that the future isn’t annihilation, nor on a dead planet nor in some religiously concocted heaven, hell or nirvana.
“You offer no alternative yet you speak as if there was a future for us?” would be a logical question.
Answer: there always was a future; there always will be a future. What we are living in now is the future we have made for ourselves. It was a short-sighted, dead-end future but it promised so much in terms of power over others; in terms of money and sex and other sources of self-gratification, we felt it was worth the throw of the dice. So we made our Faustian bargain with time; we were loaned stacks of “free” tokens to play with and we’ve played them all and the house won. Now? Now all we have to do is walk out of the casino – it’s about to go down in flames – and figure out how to create a new future – without the “free” tokens (which by the way are nothing more than insane debts of valueless currency owed to non-existent capital power structures fronted by psychopaths).
That’s what self empowerment means. It doesn’t mean smart inventors (and investors) figuring out how to keep your swimming pool filled when the water is running out. It doesn’t mean a hundred, or a thousand “Greta Thunberg” or “David Suzuki” or more political and elected advocates for some Green New Deal (or voting for them); or more never-binding international treaties on CC.
For me it has meant changing my lifestyle in specific and observable (demonstrable) ways. That’s “my” lifestyle, not anyone else’s. Self empowerment is not leading campaigns to change the world, or setting up alternate energy corporations within the existing religious/political/capitalistic agenda. It is all about changing me so I become the change I wish to see. Yeah, old and corny saying but quite valid nevertheless.
If you still have a couple of minutes, here’s something from George Monbiot… a well-researched journalist with a few very meaningful comments on our times.
Posted: 12 Aug 2019 04:50 AM PDT
In the midst of climate breakdown, governments around the world are funding and protecting the fossil fuel industry
The tragedy of our times is that the gathering collapse of our life support systems coincides with the age of public disservice. Just as we need to rise above self-interest and short termism, governments around the world now represent the meanest and dirtiest of special interests. In the United Kingdom, the US, Brazil, Australia and many other nations, pollutocrats rule.
The Earth’s systems are breaking down at astonishing speed. Wild fires roar across Siberia and Alaska, biting, in many places, deep into peat soils, releasing plumes of carbon dioxide and methane that cause more global heating. In July alone, Arctic wildfires are reckoned to have released as much carbon into the atmosphere as Austria does in a year: already the vicious twister of climate feedbacks has begun to turn. Torrents of meltwater pour from the Greenland ice cap, sweltering under a 15°C temperature anomaly. Daily ice losses on this scale are 50 years ahead of schedule: they were forecast by the climate models for 2070. A paper in Geophysical Research Letters reveals that the thawing of permafrost in the Canadian High Arctic now exceeds the depths of melting projected by scientists for 2090.
While record temperatures in Europe last month caused discomfort and disruption, in Southwest Asia they are already starting to reach the point at which the human body hits its thermal limits. Ever wider tracts of the world will come to rely on air-conditioning not only for basic comfort but also for human survival: another feedback spiral, as air-conditioning requires massive energy use. Those who cannot afford it will either move or die. Already, climate breakdown is driving more people from their homes than either poverty or conflict, while contributing to both these other factors.
A recent paper in Nature shows that we have little hope of preventing more than 1.5° of global heating unless we retire existing fossil fuel infrastructure. Even if no new gas or coal power plants, roads and airports are built, the carbon emissions from current installations are likely to push us past this threshold. Only by retiring some of this infrastructure before the end of its natural life could we secure a 50% chance of remaining within the temperature limit agreed in Paris in 2015. Yet, far from decommissioning this Earth-killing machine, almost everywhere governments and industry stoke its fires.
The oil and gas industry intends to spend $4.9 trillion over the next 10 years, exploring and developing new reserves, none of which we can afford to burn. According to the IMF, every year governments subsidise fossil fuels to the tune of $5 trillion: many times more than they spend on addressing our existential predicament. The US spends 10 times more on these mad subsidies than on its federal education budget. Last year, the world burnt more fossil fuels than ever before.
An analysis by Barry Saxifrage in Canada’s National Observer shows that half the fossil fuels ever used by humans have been burnt since 1990. While renewable and nuclear power supplies have also risen in this period, the gap between the production of fossil fuels and low carbon energy has not been narrowing, but steadily widening. What counts, in seeking to prevent runaway global heating, is not the good things we start to do, but the bad things we cease to do. Shutting down fossil infrastructure requires government intervention.
But in many nations, governments intervene not to protect humanity from the existential threat of fossil fuels, but to protect the fossil fuel industry from the existential threat of public protest. In the US, legislators in 18 states have put forward bills criminalising protests against pipelines, seeking to crush democratic dissent on behalf of the oil industry. In June, Donald Trump’s government proposed federal legislation that would jail people for up to 20 years for disrupting pipeline construction.
In several nations, led by the Philippines, Global Witness reports, governments have incited the murder of environmental protesters. The process begins with rhetoric, demonising civil protest as extremism and terrorism, then shifts to legislation, criminalising attempts to protect the living planet. Criminalisation then helps legitimise physical assaults and murder. The first stage has now begun in Britain, with the publication by a dark money-funded lobby group, Policy Exchange, of a report smearing Extinction Rebellion. Like all such publications, it was given a series of major platforms by the BBC, which preserved its customary absence of curiosity about who funded it.
Secretly-funded lobby groups – such as the TaxPayers’ Alliance, the Adam Smith Institute and the Institute of Economic Affairs – have supplied some of the key advisers to Boris Johnson’s government. He has also appointed Andrea Leadsom, an enthusiastic fracking advocate, to run the department responsible for climate policy, and Grant Schapps, who chaired the British infrastructure Group until last month – promoting the expansion of roads and airports – as Secretary of State for Transport. Last week the Guardian revealed documents suggesting that the firm run by Johnson’s funder and adviser Sir Lynton Crosby has produced unbranded Facebook ads on behalf of the coal industry.
What we see here looks like the denouement of the Pollution Paradox. Because the dirtiest industries attract the least public support, they have the greatest incentive to spend money on politics, to get the results they want and we don’t. They fund political parties, lobby groups and think tanks, fake grassroots organisations and dark ads on social media. As a result, politics comes to be dominated by the dirtiest industries.
We are told to fear the “extremists” who protest against ecocide and challenge dirty industry and the dirty governments it buys. But the extremists we should fear are those who hold office.