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Climate change – Some critical thoughts on common misconceptions in times of destruction and change…

Originally published by Revolte – Anarchistische Zeitung, Vienna, Juli 2019, Nr. 43, Page 1-2 . Translated by Enough 14.

Table of Contents

A concern of ‘each and every one’

Green capitalism

Forecasts and the misery of the political world

Smart cities

In the past weeks we could experience relatively high temperatures again. So one heat record year beats the next. British climate researchers recently presented a model to calculate the temperature rise in the metropolises until 2050. Vienna is one of the cities most affected, with a temperature rise of 7.6 degrees Celsius compared to 1850, the year that is more or less considered the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

The consequences of global warming are melting of sea ice and glaciers, sea level rise, thawing of permafrost soils (which will release even more CO2), growing drought zones and desertification, increasing weather extremes, extinction of species, etc.

In addition, there would be further social, political and economic aggravations. Like famines and water shortages, deaths and illnesses caused by the enormous heat and epidemics, wars over dwindling resources and usable territories and a global migration movement. Just to name a few.

To pick out just one aspect here: If we remember how the political classes and European politicians reacted to the so-called “refugee crisis” in 2015. When we saw how borders were militarized, plans of action developed and powers for the military and police expanded. Not to mention the agitation of the mass media and the general racism, nationalism and panic that has been fostered by politicians, media and other opinion makers. And this was about a more or less still calculable number of people, in relation to what will happen if more and more parts of the earth become uninhabitable. Depending on how fast and drastically these developments will take place, we are talking about the largest migration movement in the history of the human race!

The fascists and conservatives have already spoken of mass migration in 2015/2016 in order to propagate their policy of isolation. Concepts such as the “great exchange” have come up since then and various horror scenarios have been fantasized in order to achieve a racist and nationalist mobilization. Thus it is not foreseeable what reactions a migration movement of several 100 million people would trigger.

A concern of ‘each and every one’

The ‘Point of no Return’ is crossed! Climate change is a reality, the changes are already happening, they can be felt. And these developments cannot be stopped by individual waste separation, energy saving, veganism, etc. Many appeals are directed at consumer behaviour. So the problem is made an individual problem of each of us. You can do something about it yourself’, ’10 things you can do to stop climate change’.

They’re supposed to tell us: We humans are all in the same boat. We are all responsible for this. So change your lifestyle… Repent and become better people!

This equates the responsibility of business, industry and the political sector with the responsibility of all of us. Every question of class and ownership is thus eliminated. But are we really all responsible to the same extent as those who actively earn money from the fact that our whole world is going down the drain? I don’t think so!

But of course, here too it is the privilege of those who have enough money to live a climate-friendly life. So once again, wealth can be used to buy a white or green vest. And those who can’t afford it are the assholes who destroy our environment because they don’t have the money to pay for this green lifestyle.

We practice a substitute behaviour that serves only to put moral justifications for our existence in our hands, so that we are convinced that we are “doing the right thing”. The wrong proposals are booming again. Because they are lurking in every corner! So that we don’t ask for the wrong things and perhaps end up on the wrong track. Ignoring industry and separating the issue of climate change from the issue of capitalism, exploitation and authority is at the heart of this problem. So a large part of these arguments is reduced to the demand for a green/ecological capitalism, best flanked by bans, laws and certain regulations for our lives!

Green capitalism

For most critics of the exploitation of the earth and the waste of resources, it is not about questioning the capitalist system. Although on closer examination it should be clear that since industrialization, which gave the capitalist system a vital boost in the 18th and 19th centuries, there has been a steady increase in the use and exploitation of raw materials.

If we want to do something against the exploitation of the earth, we must attack the capitalist modes of production, the dictatorship of the markets, labor, the state that protects and legalizes this exploitation, the political system and technologization.

The problem is that we are sometimes very alone with this opinion. Most people have realized that something is happening, that the world is going to develop in a dangerous direction. That’s why many people are taking to the streets to convince business and politics that it’s time for an ‘energy transition’. But not for a fundamental change of social conditions and the economy. Of course it would be nice if there was less racism and sexism and if there were fairer working conditions. But basically everything should remain largely the same: Our comforts, consumption, technological gadgets that are supposed to simplify our lives but make us more and more dependent and actually control and re-educate us, the political spectacle, and so on and so forth. This is how green capitalism is being propagated. Because, as many of the so-called ‘Fridays for Future’ protests have already spoken out, but also others who advocate measures against climate change: the fight against climate change is not a fight against capitalism!

Without addressing capitalist misery, the struggle against the exploitation of the earth and in this context the so-called ‘fight against climate change’ makes no sense. Rather, it remains a reformist plea to politicians, ignoring the causes of global warming and the destruction of our habitats in favour of preserving the prevailing conditions of exploitation and profit, in order to bring them closer to ecological standards. Which is an absolute absurdity!

Forecasts and the misery of the political world

So I ask myself whether there is any possibility at all to reduce the climatic changes within the capitalist order to a tolerable level. And another question is: What is this tolerable level?

If we take a closer look at the facts that we have been able to access so far, it quickly becomes clear that this is the most complex problem mankind has ever faced. Countless factors that need to be taken into account and that influence each other and often in the opposite direction.

Opinions differ considerably as to what we will be facing in the year 2100, or whether these developments will occur much earlier! On the one hand, there is the warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius, which would save us from serious consequences for the time being. This figure is central to the demands of many climate activists. This would mean that CO² emissions would have to be reduced by 45% in the next 10 years, with the aim of reducing them to zero by 2050. CO² emissions would have to be reduced by 100% within the next 30 years!

In view of the fact that this goal actually cannot be achieved, many expect a much higher temperature increase in the coming decades. They are talking about 2 degrees, 4 degrees, 6 degrees, 8 degrees. Where 8 degrees would mean the destruction of large parts of the Earth and most of the human race. And since very little has happened in the last 40 years, given the fact that climate warming is known since the end of the 1970s (the first research results pointing to it date back to the 19th century, but since 1979 politicians and industry have been confronted with the facts), it is questionable whether there will be a ‘turnaround’ in the next decades and whether industry will voluntarily abandon the use of fossil fuels.

Furthermore, I consider the objective of demanding an ecological change of course from politicians and industry to be a dangerous undertaking. Not only because I do not think that the profiteers of this system would be persuaded to do anything that is not in their interests, but also because how a political implementation in the form of laws and coercion could look like.

Smart cities

Another aspect I would like to address here is the instrumentalisation of climate change for various technological developments. One concept is that of so-called smart cities (SmartCity) and city districts.

In cooperation with others, the City of Vienna recently published a brochure: “Smart Simpel. Our way into the future simply explained.” In this paper, Mayor Ludwig explains: “Climate change is probably the most urgent issue here. If we want our children to live comfortably in Vienna, we have to deal with our resources much more responsibly than we thought just a few years ago. But also economic development, new technologies such as digitalization or living together in the city – these are all issues that interlock and constantly require new solutions. So the motto is: ‘Be smart!'”

So we have to “be smart” to survive climate change. Among other things, the brochure talks about e-cargo bicycles, e-car sharing, creativity in public spaces and alternative energy production. But what is not mentioned is control, data collection and monitoring. It does not say that our whole environment will be equipped with ‘smart devices’. Because this is an important part of the Smart City, that it will be digitally networked and thus more easily monitored and guarded by the ruling classes, the political system, the economy, the energy companies, etc.

At this point I find it interesting that Mr. Ludwig is tearing up his shitty face as a climate protector, while his city government has approved the construction of the Lobau motorway. A mega-project that plans to build a motorway tunnel under the Lobau nature reserve. And thus to create a traffic connection for transit traffic and at the same time to open up new territories for economic purposes. What a fucking mockery!

We think that in the future we will encounter many more projects that are to be implemented in the name of the climate, but are only good for one thing: To be able to govern us all more effectively!

What the future will look like. We do not want to speculate on how climate change will actually affect us all. But the predictions and calculations available to us do not suggest anything good. In any case, we will have to adapt not only to other climatic conditions, but also to other political, economic and social conditions!

In order to withstand the destruction of the earth, the balance of power would have to be fundamentally changed respectively eliminated. The current protests would have to be lifted to a completely different level of confrontation. The economy would have to be painfully slowed down with much more direct attacks and sabotage in order to achieve certain partial objectives. The rulers will always seek dialogue with the protests. It offers some figureheads a stage to voice their concerns. But only as long as everything proceeds peacefully and modest demands are made. But this will not change anything fundamental. The rule cannot be softened by fine words!

For the destruction of industry, work and exploitation! For sabotage and direct attack!

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020 at 9:17 pm and is filed under Eco Struggle.