The Politics of Global Warming

28 02 2009

While I will confess that I am a far cry from the green activist, and don’t really base my Anarchism off a kind of ‘green-consciousness’ as I’m sure many Green-Anarchists do, I confess I care about the planet and even take global warming seriously. I credit this to Mike Kaulbars for convincing me of the importance of Global Warming, although he played little active part in that performance.  Iwill also confess that in the past I wrote a rather bad public-letter to Mike, (which I shall not link to in order to preserve some of my dignity, although I’m sure it can be found if you wish).  This letter contained the beginnings of my thoughts relating to the politics of global warming, something which Francois Tremblay rightly observed was the main reason a great many of my own political persuasion have such a hard time accepting global warming.  Often, the argument put forward by many Green activists, in general, seems vulgar and calls for state intervention that would quite often see the poorer segments of society starve, while politicians sit happily in their ‘carbon neutral’ mansions.  So, this is my attempt to bring that debate into focus.  While I realise that there’s probably some Green-Anarchist site out there that has gone through something similar, I commence this topic with absolutely no prior reading of that material (and so I apologise if I repeat anything said elsewhere or miss something entirely) and I would like to state, outright, that I am not arguing the science of global warming.  I am taking it to be true.

It’s a great wonder to me that around Adelaide, I’ve been hearing increasing concern by individuals regarding environmental issues, primarily that process of Global Warming.   As I originate from Adelaide’s Northern Suburbs I am all too often confronted with the latest tales of stabbings, arrests or racism, rendering those with a “green consciousness” foreign to me.  I tend to concern and found my philosophy in a certain quest for justice, rather than environmentalism.  All too often, however, I hear those who do subscribe to a sort of environmentalism privately debate amongst themselves over what action Rudd should take regarding emissions trading schemes in coffee shops or on street corners while I’m usually thinking over something more important like whether or the shrapnel in my pocket will buy me lunch.  Each time this happens it usually involves some rather vulgar people arguing for massive state intervention, following which I imagine a kind of Orwellian world.  Understandably, this is where my outrage has been directed when confronted with green activists in the past.  If Stalin were to reappear in flames following some kind of environmental ideology and saluting a green star, these people would be partying in the streets.  All too often I will turn on the TV at night to watch some news report about some minister calling or going to a summit to discuss the effects of global warming and how to combat it or chastising the community on the seriousness of global warming.  Each time nothing gets done or it gets done badly and each time I think the same thing; “Fuck off.”  And while I apologise to any readers that are offended by my low-brow cussing, I offer you the following explanation: Politicians have a nasty habit of screwing things up.

The chief concern of a politician of any brand, tier or pay grade is power.  Primarily, the acquisition of more power at the expense of those they rule.  If you haven’t guessed already, that would be you and me.  It is the politician who one day may be playing civil engineer by ruling on the construction of a bridge and the next will masquerade about as some kind of transit official.  Add onto these truths two more, politicians professionally lie and politicians live parasitically upon our labour.  I will guarantee that the politicians of the world aren’t going feel the pangs of the recession unless the system by which they dictate their commands and extricate their ‘earnings’ come crashing to the ground and they are confronted with many angry people wanting to know why their entire life savings can no longer buy a Big Mac.  But to those of you who right now are thinking, ‘what has this to do with global warming?’ I simply wish to establish for you the nature of the people whom many would entrust our salvation with.  As has been said so many times before, this rock is in danger.  Do we really want to trust the survival of our planet to a bunch of parasitic, professional liars who work daily to encroach upon our freedoms and like to play catch with explosives in the Middle East — which, I might remind you is full of oil and thus highly flammable.

If we do decide to take such a leap of faith, can these people really bring about any solution?  Their track record throughout history seems to be a deafening, ‘no’.  Western governments conquered half the world to ‘bring civilisation and western values to the uncivilised’ (or words to that effect) and each time wound up massacring people, destroying cultures, enslaving entire peoples, destroying priceless artworks and plundering the wealth from their discontent pupils.  America under BushII ventured forth into the Middle East to halt the spread of terrorism and has only made things worse.  Better still, Obama looks set to continue with Gulf War II.05: occupation-lite.  Then, again in America, the US government regulations created an environment which lead up to collapse (or near collapse) of major banking institutions which sent a ripple throughout the world, taking Iceland out with it.  Instead of allowing this mis-managed firms to go out of business and allow a quick, albeit, painful end to the financial crisis, governments around the world look set to draw out and worsen the period with their various stimulus packages and the nationalisation of industries reminiscent of fascism at its best.  In short, they’re going to make it more painful.  Then you have cases such as the Danish counter-cultural enclave known as Christiana suffering in state-issued cuffs.  But most importantly mother earth suffers just as much as people do from over-excited government officials keen to get their hands dirty and ‘help’.  Glen Allport sums it up most succinctly in his article about inflationary debt.

This is perfectly in line with a well-known natural law, which states that – as social philosopher and noted economic expert Ringo Starr once put it – “everything government touches turns to crap.” (My own formulation of the law is that “coercive government is The Worst Way to Do Anything.”)

Hell, closer to home the Adelaidean state government (or local council), which ever is responsible for the river Torrens, hasn’t been able to come up with a solution to it’s unexpected draining and required refilling, or the toxic state of its water anyway.  Then both State and Federal levels of government have failed miserably in finding a solution to the problems associated with the Murray river.  Can we trust any of these people with something so serious as the future of our planet?  Ask yourself.

So then we must ask ourselves whether or not the heart of the problem doesn’t somehow lie with government already?  I am far from being in possession of the research necessary to answer that question strongly in the affirmative, so instead I will leave it open for anyone else interested in pursuing it.  But I have a hunch that if someone were to dig a little deeper they’d find a massive amount of waste involved in the basic running of government buildings, services and departments that contribute high amounts of CO2.  It doesn’t take much to imagine how much carbon is being released from government buildings that play a key role in the mass production of bureaucracy — imagine the millions of trees alone used for hundreds of tedious forms, which might otherwise have survived to absorb said carbon.  Picture all the little black bubbles being produced by the growing fleets of government cars for its workers, or from many of those needless trips to hold a summit about a summit planned for next year.  As sure as politicians are corrupt, the immediate effect on the environment by the routine running of government infrastructure would be massive.  Ever walked into a government building on a warmish day and found it not running the air conditioning?

Allow me to further seed you with some more mutinous thoughts; those involving the way in which senior polluters, (which usually include the largest corporations from industries heavily subsidised by government or protected in some other way from honest competition through licensing, taxes, tariffs and so on) lobby hard to turn any effort by the government to combat global warming (even though we know it is doomed to be done badly, to our detriment or our doom) into a shadow of its former self.  Not only that, but it’s even conceivable that while anti-climate change legislation is being watered down, what measures remain may simply serve to diminish their competition further, while not really having a too damaging negative effect on the lobbyists business anyway.  Once again, though I do not have the resources to perform the necessary research in order to say this is so, I’ll leave these statements open in the hope that some wayward economists, or environmental activists may look into it further.

Even when government is doing good it will do bad.  Sort of like a puppy whose just been toilet trained but then goes and drags his ass on your new replacement carpet before asking for food.

It is at this point I would then argue that a better way to combat climate change is, undoubtedly, a grass roots movement that benefits people while it benefits the planet.  Proposals by governments to introduce emissions trading schemes will invariably fail and even exacerbate the effect of any recession.  Such is the nature of government and if Green Activists waste their time by putting their resources in that basket, we will wind up with an atmosphere like Venus in no time — either that or we’ll all starve to death.  Which isn’t an exciting prospect either.  No, a serious effort needs to be undertaken to get communities themselves, and not their elected officials, to voluntarily pool resources for their own benefit.  How this may be achieved, I will not say concretely for I cannot.  It is not my intention to blueprint a single program to be rigidly adhered, and if I did I would be rightly laughed at.  I don’t care whether such organisations maintain a focus on creating community gardens which limit people’s dependency on farmers and transport to acquire their food, a community power project involving solar energy or something similar or even whether the emphasis is on other eco-engineering projects, reforestation — whatever.  I don’t have all the answers and would hope some greater mind than I will take up similar ideas and expand upon them in ways I could not.

So I ask you, Green?  Then kill the cop, in your head.  If you’re going to go Green, you need to be anti-state.  The state has been responsible for not only our pain and suffering but the suffering of entire eco-systems.  Take the pro-state line and you condemn us all to the pressure cooker.


A big hat-tip to Strike-the-Root.

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