Bronwen Morgan and Erin Remblance have written an excellent article for the Australian website, www.crikey.com, which is so on target, that I urge everyone to read it. They not only predicted the failure of “world leaders” to commit to actual climate action at COP26, but they also identify the key difference between the terminal trajectory of our industrial-consumer nations’ economic religion and the kind of new economy that humanity desperately needs.
The underlying predicament is that, as demonstrated once again at COP26, the “world leaders” are not about to take apart the very system that provides their comfortable lives. As described by Catherine Early, chief reporter for The Ecologist, COP26, like those before it, increased some “commitments” to reduce carbon emissions in various ways to “targets” without specifying HOW they would do so.
Fake Climate Action
Half of the projected emissions reductions will come from new unproven technologies that Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry admits are not yet developed–we have no time for that! Kerry also falsely claims that we will not have to sacrifice our “quality of life” (read: unmitigated over-consumption) in order to cut emissions. In other words, he expects that the global industrial consumption to continue overshooting the capacity of our habitat can be mitigated by geo-engineering. Unbelievable!
A last-minute change in the final COP26 final document even watered down the “agreement” to “phase down unabated coal power and of inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels” instead of “phase out” fossil-fuel subsidies and coal-burning entirely. And what are the terms “inefficient” and “unabated” other than equivocation? The fossil fuel industry still constrains international “agreements” to take meaningful climate action.
Therefore, it seems to me that we have to take the next step and figure out how people can take meaningful climate action ourselves. Individually responsible behavior by the few who are “up to speed” on emissions is not enough. We are talking about the necessity to re-organize societies to operate their economies without fossil fuel. That means doing things very differently and doing them with a primary eye to restoring ecosystems and using only the least carbon-intense methods possible. That cannot be done without extensively re-organizing major institutions, both corporate and governmental, or abandoning them to re-form viable societal units organized around restoring the ecosystems upon which we depend for survival.
That is why Bill Gates’ ‘entrepreneurial philanthropy‘ is actually the enemy of human progress. He and his allies want us to invest in and create new technologies to feed the energy needs of a presumed growing population. That would actually make things that much worse, assuming his utopian technologies would actually work. Geoengineering and ‘advanced’ nuclear power might dampen some symptoms of the decline of industrial civilization temporarily although to an insignificant degree.
Big Changes Ahead: Respond or Suffer
Population change is difficult to predict and nearly impossible to control. However, in the coming decades, populations will very likely decline in numbers either by chaotic violent collapse due to massive agricultural failures due to climate chaos, or by attrition as people learn to live within our means. More energy production, clean or not, means more production of the many things we do not need while resulting in more waste and pollution. The more energy made available, the more industrial consumers will use. This is opposite from what we need, which is the conservation of energy while we move to a new energy-efficient economy.
Such greenwashing ‘solutions’ to ‘problems’ implicitly deny the fact that the old linear metaphor of the Western cosmology of a dualistic world of ‘Man vs. Nature’ cannot comprehend or deal with the non-linear complex-adaptive-living-systems we have already destabilized. That is the world we must learn to live in (if we still have time, which we don’t really know; we must do it anyway).
Meanwhile, we have to take proactive steps to Resist the corporate state globally, because of its failure to take the necessary steps for human survival. We must Replace it with communities and societies that EMBED economic activity within the boundaries of human needs and the necessities of stabilizing the Earth System (Gaia). And we must Restore ecosystems everywhere in order to become Resilient enough to build a livable human habitat for the duration of humanity’s stay in the only habitat we will ever know.
The bottom line, as Greta has repeatedly affirmed, is that hope springs only from actions, not empty promises, targets, and assurances of “blah, blah, blah.”