Decade Zero – Sinan Eden

The facts

§1. As of this year, the 1% has more wealth than the 99%. According to Oxfam, a mere 62 people are now richer than the poorest 3 billion people combined.

§2. According to the International Energy Agency, the energy-related infrastructure we will have by 2017 will be sufficient to lock us into a 2 degree Celsius warming. We will then have no room for additional power plants, factories and other infrastructure unless they are zero-carbon.

§3. In the business-as-usual scenarios, all our carbon budget will be used up by 2045, according to IPCC. This means we will pass the tipping point in less than thirty years; if we waited for thirty years to act, we would have to shut down civilization to remain in a liveable planet. And we will have enough stuff to make us pass the tipping point by next year!3100D2B300000578-3437556-image-m-19_1454956762176

§4. So, from next year on, if we want to construct infrastructure, we must be shutting down running factories or power plants. This is quite a challenge for those who don’t want to leave the Global South in misery, those who want electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa, etc.

The challenge

§5. Decade Zero is a term coined to designate the decade 2015-2025, in which most of upcoming history will be decided. It is the zeroth decade for either a completely different world, or a completely different world.

§6. If you want to have a glimpse of what is beyond the tipping point, suffice it to say that compared to the 4 million refugees from Syria (of which only a few hundred thousands entered Europe), climate refugees are expected to be around 200 millions by 2050. This means we will see these people, and we will see the racisms, and we will see states of emergencies. This will be a completely different world.DSCF09891

§7. Either that, or we will have to radically change the way our societies function.

§8. From a technical point of view, this means we need to change the way we produce energy, the way we transport ourselves and commodities, and the way we produce food. We have to finalize all of this transformation in thirty years, so we have to enter that path during Decade Zero.

§9. From a political point of view, this means that the biggest companies of the world have to disappear (vast majority of them work in oil, gas and automotive sectors), trillions of dollars of investments must simply go stranded, and false solutions, green-washing practices and corporate takeovers must be washed away. We must do all of these within Decade Zero, and it implies an abrupt confrontation with the 1%.

The meaning

§10. This is a heavy burden to carry, but I find it also kind of fun: The choice between socialism and barbarism has never been so clear. And until recently I didn’t realize it was my generation who would make this choice.

§11. Decade Zero is a wake up call to everyone who fights for a better world. We have to win the fight, and we have to win it soon.EJF-RS15749_UNAMID-Peacekeeper-Speaks-with-Sudanese-Youth.-UN-Photo.Albert-Gonzalez-Farran.2010-lpr

As Naomi Klein put it, “What climate does is provide the parameters for these [social justice] movements to work together. The parameters are that we’re on a deadline and, as a writer, I really appreciate deadlines. Things don’t get done without deadlines.” (The bad news is that the huge majority of the left is used to not working with deadlines.)

A just society and a liveable planet are not only possible and necessary, they are also urgent. Physics and chemistry tell us that there is no space for political conformism any more.

§12. Now, from a strategical point of view, Decade Zero puts a set of questions on the table. How can we “change everything” within this decade? What intermediate steps can we designate? To what should we be preparing ourselves?

These are (some of) the burning questions raised by Decade Zero.

§13. These are difficult questions (scary, as well). But we will either answer them, or they will answer themselves in front of our eyes.CWBdcMyXAAAo0hG

The new world begins here and now. It is up to us – and not “us” in the abstract, but “us” as in literally you, me, our friends, our colleagues and our family.

We cannot wait for a superman (or a Lenin, or a Che Guevara, or whatever your superhero is) to save the planet, and the reason is that we don’t have time left to wait.

We are the ones we were waiting for. Come on board.