Politics and the ‘Climate Emergency’

Published December 20, 2019

Democratic Presidential candidates are in a bidding war over how many trillions they would spend to “fight climate change.” Would it be enough, soon enough, to save the planet?

Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, Greta Thunberg, lamented at the COP25 climate summit in Madrid that despite all her climate strikes and traveling by sailboat, world emissions of carbon dioxide continue to climb.

Her widely quoted statement that if world leaders did not take needed action, “We will put them up against the wall,” is, she said, a mistranslation from the Swedish. She meant to say, “hold them accountable,” and would never, ever favor violence. It is not clear exactly what action she would suggest, but the Extinction Rebellion (XR) is not waiting for it.

The XR movement (XR), which began last year in Britain, claims to have chapters in 50 countries and to have held protests in 60 cities in Turkey, Canada, South Africa, Mexico, and elsewhere. Protests often feature demonstrators wearing white masks and red costumes, and copious amounts of  fake blood. XR has disrupted traffic in Berlin, London, Paris, and Amsterdam, and staged a “die-in” on Wall Street.

Some scientists are getting recognition in the prestigious British journal Nature for “putting another body on the street.” But passion for the cause is not the only motive. XR agitators are paid up to £400 per week to “shut down” Britain.

The largest and most important backers of climate activism are from the financial industry. Institutions representing $118 trillion of assets seem to have a plan: “the financialization of the entire world economy using fear of an end of world scenario to reach arbitrary aims such as ‘net-zero greenhouse gas emissions’.”

Entities that would be endangered by drastic curbs in the use of hydrocarbon fuels include the once mighty German auto industry, modern living standards, private property—and, according to Greta, “everything.”

She writes: “The climate crisis is not just about the environment. It is a crisis of human rights, of justice, and of political will. Colonial, racist, and patriarchal systems of oppression have created and fueled it. We need to dismantle them all.”

People affected by unaffordable energy, job loss, and traffic disruptions might decide to hold some people accountable also.

For further information, see Civil Defense Perspectives, November 2019.