Fórum Socialismo 2017: Exploração de Petróleo vs. Justiça Climática

Pelo convite do Bloco de Esquerda, Sinan do Climáximo participou no Fórum Socialismo 2017 como orador na sessão Exploração de Petróleo vs. Justiça Climática. Publicamos o contributo dele nesta sessão, publicado no Dossier do fórum.

A crise climática impõe-nos uma luta com um prazo: uma luta para mudar tudo nas nossas sociedades, antes de as alterações climáticas o fazerem (num outro sentido). A urgência em travar as alterações climáticas e a necessidade duma transição energética justa mostram-nos o caminho certo contra a exploração de petróleo e gás em Portugal e no mundo: transportes públicos, democracia energética, práticas sustentáveis na agricultura, empregos para o clima, paz, entre outros.

Cinco números são fundamentais para compreender o que está em causa:

97: Dos artigos publicados em revistas científicas nas últimas décadas e que fazem afirmações explícitas sobre o assunto, 97% concordam que as alterações climáticas existem e são causadas pelas atividades humanas. Já não existem discussões sobre esta matéria (exceto na televisão e nos tweets do Trump).

2: Acima dos 2ºC de aquecimento global (em comparação com níveis pré-industriais), mecanismos químicos e físicos que realimentam o aquecimento poderão dominar as dinâmicas dos sistemas terrestres. Passado este ponto, o aquecimento global pode tornar-se irreversível.

80: Para travar o aquecimento global antes de ele alcançar um ponto sem retorno, temos de limitar as emissões de gases com efeito de estufa. Isto implica deixar 80% das reservas conhecidas de combustíveis fósseis no subsolo.

0: As reservas atualmente em exploração são mais do que suficientes para nos fazer cruzar esse limiar. Por outras palavras, não pode ser iniciado nenhum novo furo ou infraestrutura de combustíveis fósseis.

Zero: Estamos a esgotar todo o “orçamento de carbono” permitido para manter o aquecimento abaixo dos 2ºC. Nos próximos 10 a 15 anos, vamos ter de mudar tudo nas nossas sociedades (da produção até à distribuição, do consumo até à gestão). Senão, o clima mudará tudo nas nossas sociedades (com secas, tempestades, fogos florestais, crises alimentares, inundações, conflitos sociais, refugiados climáticos etc.). Nesta “década zero” em que nos encontramos, vamos definir qual será o outro mundo que vamos habitar.

Leituras:

No such thing as lesser evil for climate: https://climaximo.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/no-such-thing-as-lesser-evil-for-climate-sinan-eden/

A base para uma transição justa: Democracia Energética: https://climaximo.wordpress.com/2016/12/18/a-base-para-uma-transicao-justa-democracia-energetica-sinan-eden/

Activism: It’s better than dying.: https://climaximo.wordpress.com/2016/05/24/activism-its-better-than-dying-sinan-eden/

Decade Zero: https://climaximo.wordpress.com/2016/02/22/decade-zero-sinan-eden/

Alterações climáticas e capitalismo: https://medium.com/praxismag/alterações-climáticas-e-capitalismo-filipe-carvalho-39cf601a277

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Glossário do Ativismo Climático

Urgência climáticatipping

Graças a vários mecanismos de retro-alimentação positiva nos ecossistemas da Terra, a partir de um determinado momento no tempo, espera-se que o aquecimento global continue a crescer por si próprio, a um ritmo exponencial, e independentemente do nosso impacto direto, tornando-se irreversível. [1] Isto quer dizer que há um prazo para vencer esta luta. Como as últimas décadas foram passadas a negociar e discutir [2], sem adotar medidas concretas para resolver o problema, este prazo é hoje muito urgente. Para evitar alterações climáticas em roda livre, temos de reduzir drasticamente as emissões de gases de efeito de estufa durante as próximas duas décadas, [3] e de manter o aquecimento terrestre abaixo de, no máximo, 2°C em comparação com níveis pré-industriais. Estamos, de facto, em estado de emergência climática.

[1] https://vimeo.com/1709110
[2] http://unfccc.int/timeline/
[3] https://climaximo.wordpress.com/2016/02/22/decade-zero-sinan-eden/

Justiça climática

As alterações climáticas não acontecem no vazio. O Norte Global [1] é significativamente mais responsável pelas emissões de gases de efeito de estufa ao longo da história, enquanto o Sul Global é dramaticamente mais afetado pelos seus impactos. [2] As nações mais pobres, praticamente sem nenhuma responsabilidade pelas alterações climáticas, têm muito menos capacidade de adaptação. [3,4,5] Num só país, os mais pobres são muito mais vulneráveis do que os ricos. [6] Em geral, a cor da pele está associada a vulnerabilidades diferenciadas aos impactos ambientais do que os brancos [7,8], assim como o género. [9]justica climatica

Toda a humanidade é afetada pelas alterações climáticas, quando a maior parte das emissões da história provieram de cerca de 90 empresas. [10] Para além disso, o poder de tomar decisões está concentrado nas elites socioeconómicas, enquanto o cidadão comum não tem influência visível no traçar das políticas seguidas. [11]

Há ainda uma outra injustiça envolvida, que diz respeito ao acesso à informação: multinacionais como a Exxon [12] ou a Shell [13] sabiam há décadas tudo o que havia a saber sobre o aquecimento global e ainda assim pressionaram contra uma política climática eficaz [14], ao mesmo tempo que patrocinavam o discurso negacionista na esfera pública. [15]

Denunciamos todos estes contextos sociais como injustiças climáticas, e acreditamos que uma verdadeira transição terá de envolver as populações, e responder a estes problemas. Acreditamos que a verdadeira solução para as alterações climáticas passa pela justiça climática.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North-South_divide
[2] http://www.carbonmap.org/
[3] https://www.nap.edu/catalog/18373/abrupt-impacts-of-climate-change-anticipating-surprises
[4] http://germanwatch.org/de/download/8551.pdf
[5] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/12/new-zealand-refuses-climate-change-refugees-mass-action-is-now-needed
[6] https://www.oxfam.org.uk/blogs/2014/03/englands-most-deprived-areas
[7] https://thinkprogress.org/low-income-black-and-latino-americans-face-highest-risk-of-chemical-spills-da1e85c4d76c
[8] https://www.thenation.com/article/race-best-predicts-whether-you-live-near-pollution/
[9] http://www.womenandclimate.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Climate-Justice-and-Womens-Rights-Guide1.pdf
[10] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/20/90-companies-man-made-global-warming-emissions-climate-change
[11] https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mgilens/files/gilens_and_page_2014_-testing_theories_of_american_politics.doc.pdf
[12] http://exxonknew.org/
[13] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/feb/28/shell-knew-oil-giants-1991-film-warned-climate-change-danger
[14] http://senate.ucsd.edu/media/206150/lobby_spend_report__april.pdf
[15] http://merchantsofdoubt.org/

Extractivismoextrativismo

Extractivismo é uma forma abreviada de nos referirmos a uma ideologia que sustenta que tudo o que existe neste planeta pode ser extraído para satisfazer as nossas necessidades, vontades, e até caprichosa de curto prazo. Ainda que seja um bom amigo das obsessões do capitalismo com o crescimento económico (crescimento pelo crescimento), maximização do lucro e financeirização, o extractivismo tem raízes históricas que remontam aos tempos do colonialismo. Uma perspetiva extractivista considera os recursos naturais apenas como coisas a ser extraídas e exploradas pelos humanos. Contra esta dicotomia entre nós e tudo o resto no planeta, propomos uma perspetiva que considere os seres humanos como parte de um organismo, onde devemos ter atenção às nossas interações com os outros seres com quem partilhamos a casa. Uma perspetiva extractivista propõe-se resolver todos os problemas com mais extração, mais exploração, mais consumo. Propomos que, para nossa própria sobrevivência e bem-estar, abandonemos esta dimensão única.

Democracia energética

Podemos resumir a democracia energética como 1) a utilização de fontes de energia limpas e sustentáveis, 2) públicas, e 3) geridas pela comunidade. [1]

A energia poluente, pelo seu impacto no clima, restringe o direito à autodeterminação das comunidades afetadas pelas alterações climáticas, assim como das gerações futuras. Por isso, uma democracia energética tem de ter na sua base políticas baseadas nos factos científicos e nos requisitos para garantir um planeta habitável.jlawrence_energy_democracy_colour_2

Garantir que temos um planeta habitável é algo demasiado sério para que nos limitemos a fazer figas e esperar que, com sorte, venha por arrasto do crescimento económico. [2] Temos apenas uma década para mudar o nosso caminho na direção de uma verdadeira transição energética. [3] É por isso que esta discussão tem de se desenvolver para lá das preocupações com a maximização dos lucros ou a economia. E é por isso que a democracia energética tem de passar pela propriedade pública da energia.

Mas enquanto a propriedade pública permite maior controlo, regulamentação e documentação pública, os governos tendem a representar os grandes interesses económicos, que estão nas mãos de multinacionais e não das pessoas. Como princípio básico, uma transição justa implica que não sejamos apenas nós, a maioria (os 99% da população do mundo), a pagar os custos materiais e humanos desta transição. Até hoje, milhões de nós continuam a pagar os custos sociais da indústria de combustíveis fósseis, de cada vez que uma seca atinge a nossa região, ou uma tempestade assola a nossa cidade. Para fazer com que sejam os responsáveis reais a pagar este preço, precisamos do envolvimento directo das comunidades nesta transição. Assim, não basta a propriedade pública da energia, é necessário também que a sua gestão, acesso e decisões-chave passem pelas comunidades.

[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2c9vsJeGFM
[2] http://www.empregos-clima.pt/base-para-uma-transicao-justa-democracia-energetica-sinan-eden-climaximo/
[3] http://www.carbonbrief.org/scientists-discuss-the-1-5c-limit-to-global-temperature-rise

Três números-chave: 80, 0, Zero

Para evitar um aumento médio de 2°C na temperatura da superfície terrestre, temos de manter debaixo do solo pelo menos 80 por cento de todas as reservas hoje conhecidas de combustíveis fósseis (para além de quaisquer novas reservas a descobrir no futuro). [1]Keep it in the ground

De entre estas reservas, só algumas estão a ser exploradas neste momento. Mas a verdade é que, mesmo contando apenas estas, o seu número é já mais do que suficiente para exceder o nosso orçamento global de carbono. Isto significa que tem de haver exatamente 0 projetos novos de extração de combustíveis fósseis se quisermos manter o planeta habitável. [2]

Finalmente, por causa da urgência climática, temos de mudar radicalmente a direção da nossa sociedade, desde a produção à distribuição e ao consumo, e esta mudança de caminho terá de ter lugar durante a próxima década. Na Década Zero [3], tomaremos esta decisão: ou mudamos tudo, ou o clima mudará tudo aquilo de que dependemos para a nossa sobrevivência. [4]

[1] http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/global-warmings-terrifying-new-math-20120719
[2] http://priceofoil.org/content/uploads/2016/09/OCI_the_skys_limit_2016_FINAL_2.pdf
[3] https://climaximo.wordpress.com/2016/02/22/decade-zero-sinan-eden/
[4] https://thischangeseverything.org/book/

Ação direta

No contexto do ativismo climático, ações diretas são ações políticas que ou confrontam os responsáveis por um crime ambiental, ou testemunham um problema ambiental em curso. Estas ações envolvem um impacto direto no crime em si, como perturbar um processo que induziria uma decisão perigosa [1], fisicamente bloquear um crime em curso [2], ocupar um local de crime [3], ou negar legitimidade a certas atividades através de protestos no local, cantando músicas subversivas ou gritando palavras de ordem [4]. Nas ações diretas os ativistas “dão o corpo ao manifesto” para interromper o business-as-usual. Regra geral a ação em si tem um impacto direto positivo no problema em questão [5]. Alguns exemplos de ações diretas incluem protestos pacíficos como sit-ins, stand-ins, ride-ins, pray-ins, incursões, obstruções e ocupações.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_4qwtkYWjY
[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xa0dTUQL-Eo
[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQP07jwBsqk
[4] link? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M53-cxC8B1E
[5] https://climaximo.wordpress.com/2016/05/24/activism-its-better-than-dying-sinan-eden/

Desobediência civil

Desde tempos imemoriais que civis desobedecem a leis e líderes injustos, no entanto, o termo “desobediência civil” apenas surgiu no século XIX.

Este conceito pode ser materializado em diversas formas tais como a não-cooperação, greves, walkouts, ações diretas e boicotes, sendo essencialmente caracterizado pela sua natureza pública e política. Esta é a grande diferença entre quem simplesmente não paga o bilhete de metro no seu dia-a-dia por ser muito caro e uma ação pública onde se faz a mesma prática [1], mas com reivindicações políticas claras, e integrada numa estratégia de longo-prazo.[2]

Nós promovemos actos de desobediência civil como uma forma de obediência a leis e regras moralmente superiores. A maior parte das atividades destrutivas das indústrias de combustíveis fósseis não são só legais, mas são também parte das suas práticas rotineiras [3]. Quem valoriza um planeta habitável mais do que leis perigosas, corruptas e injustas não tem outra opção que não passe por desafiar o status quo.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSm3fK0lp7E
[2] http://watchdisobedience.com/disobedience/
[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyDgSl13Dl8

Is the world changeable? – Sinan Eden

There is a qualitative difference between the climate crisis and the other problems we are tackling with.

Those who want to change the world assume, generally, that the world is changeable.

This assumption is valid and sound for many problems, but might be wrong in some cases. For instance, however useful it could be, no one leads a struggle for a universe where Maxwell equations don’t hold.

Thus, our initial statement should be reformulated as follows: Those who want to change the world assume, generally, that the world is changeable with respect to the problem they address.

This updated assumption is also sound and valid for many social problems. In fact, we may be led to suppose that the world can be changed with respect to all social problems.

It can be difficult, but not impossible: We can imagine a world without violence against women, and we can get closer to our goal. There can be peace in Middle East, even if it would require decades of sustained efforts.

But, what if a particular social issue involves elements of physics and chemistry? What if natural mechanisms impose restrictions to the essence of the issue? For instance, what if, after a certain stage, this particular issue becomes irreversible, for reasons purely explained by physics and chemistry?

That is, what if those who want to change the world have limited time to do so?

This is where the climate crisis differs from most of the social issues. Earth ecosystems contain “tipping points”, points of no return, when it comes to climate change.

On the other hand, having limited time to solve a problem does not mean anything by itself. We always have limited time. After all, one day the solar system will disappear altogether.

However, climate science tell us that our time frame is not only limited, but also very, very, very little.

This perspective is new. We never worked with “system change on a deadline”. Read the article here:

No such thing as lesser evil in climate.

PS: Yes, I prepared a trailer for an article.

 

No such thing as lesser evil for climate – Sinan Eden

Many people, even some activists, do not seem to yet have understood the main statement climate change has made to humankind. Many seem to treat it as yet another environmental issue, separated from the others with a comma: there is a problem, it’s about the environment, and we need to improve the way things are in order to avoid this problem.

This is depressingly wrong in many ways.

First a parenthesis: I don’t think climate change is an environmental issue; or rather, I don’t think there are any “environmental” issues. The issue is not carbon, methane, species, and so on and so forth. There is an issue, it’s about the future of humankind, and it sometimes manifests itself through what we call the environment. But let me refocus this small text without over-philosophising. Close parenthesis.

I start with an analogy I use to explain climate change:

Situation: Imagine a bus full of people, driving fast on a mountain. The road ends ahead, and if you don’t stop, you would fall off the cliff, destroying the bus itself, everything inside the bus, including the passengers. Some people are arguing about changing the driver.tipping

Options given: If the driver is left alone (he seems drunk), you would fall off the cliff in 20 seconds. There is another driver who says he would step on the gas less than the driver, so you would reach the cliff in 25 seconds. There is another driver who doesn’t even believe in the cliff, so he would just rush you there in 15 seconds.

Of course, when you mention pulling the break, they laugh at you and question where you got your driver’s licence, and if you insist they bring the police.

Now, for this exercise to make sense, please do try to put yourself into the story. I give you 10 seconds to think.

Then answer: What is a rational choice for the passengers?

Let us rewind to climate change, and please be patient with me for a couple of paragraphs because I have to be slightly technical.

The greenhouse gases emitted to the atmosphere remain there for many years, they absorb the heat, making the planet warmer. Without them, most of the energy coming from the sun would radiate away, and planet earth would not be a suitable place for life as we know it, not for our species at least. Having an excess of these gases due to human activities causes what is called anthropogenic global warming. Some of the impacts on ecosystems are: more severe and more frequent droughts, floods and storms, biodiversity loss, water and food scarcity, failures of infrastructure, and social conflicts.

So far, climate change looks like any other environmental issue: It is bad. We should avoid it. And the more we avoid it, the better.

And this is exactly what is wrong in our perception.

The missing piece in the puzzle is due to positive feedback mechanisms:

Inherent to any earth system, there are mechanisms that accelerate it and that slow it down. Think of a small snowball you roll down a hill. It has an initial speed. Then there is gravity, it increases the speed. But there is also friction, which decelerates it. If your initial speed is too low, the snow ball would simply stop. If it is high enough, then you get what is called the “snowball effect”: it speeds up, and more pieces join than those that fall off, etc.

These are “feedback mechanisms”. Pay attention to the fact that it is the dynamical system itself that feeds it. You don’t push the snowball any more, neither do you try stopping it.

Some feedbacks are “positive” because they increase or accelerate the initial situation (like gravity in our example), and some are “negative” (like the friction).

For climate change, there are several positive feedback mechanisms, I’ll give two simple examples: 1) Earth warms up, ice melts into water, water absorbs more energy compared to ice which would reflects sun rays, so earth warms up even more. 2) Earth warms up, frozen soil in Siberia melts, underneath there is trapped methane, this methane is released, meaning more greenhouse effect, hence Earth warms up even more.

Climate scientists predict that a 2C warming would make these positive feedback mechanisms dominate the dynamics, causing a “run-away” climate change.

This is why they talk about “tipping points”.graphic_retina

Now rewind again to the bus story. You remember we had 20 seconds left, with a lesser evil driver promising 25 seconds until the fall and an ambitious one promising 15? Replace “seconds” with “years”, and this is where we are on the climate crisis.

In a nutshell, what this tells us is that there are physical and chemical limits to winning the struggle. And these limits lie within a ten-year span from today. Our struggles, all of our struggles are on a deadline.

Think of something you consider worth fighting for. Then think of another one. Now consider all of them. Climate science tells you that you will have to do all those things you would like to do while reducing emissions by two thirds, and do all of that during your own political lifetime.

For, an egalitarian, emancipated, just society inside a bus rolling down a cliff is not a thing.

I know that we all like to avoid thinking in black-and-white terms. And there are loads of grey zones here too: Maybe the tipping point is not 20 years but in 18, for example. However, the cliff is there, and we have to rapidly and fundamentally change everything in our society.

So these MUST be our red lines: 1) Leave at least 80% of all fossil fuels in the ground. 2) Do not launch any new fossil fuel infrastructure projects. 3) Implement a real and just transition to a fossil-free society, starting now – well, starting 10 years ago would be more realistic, but that’s when green NGOs had told us that the Kyoto Protocol was a first step and so on and so on (wait, that’s what they say now about the Paris agreement too!).

The bus story gives a few key points on why this is a radically different situation:

  • We will either fall off the cliff, or not. All politicians and all political programs that lead us there are part of the “black” scenario (although curiously, those politicians tend to be all “white”). There are no “middle ways”. Discussing whether to jump off a cliff with initial speed 200km/h or 100km/h is plainly irrational: you would be dead either way.systemchangebanner_larger-300x199
  • The status quo, the business-as-usual, is extremely dangerous for the humankind. There is nothing more “extremist” today than killing time with populist reforms.
  • Not contributing to the problem is not enough. “Well, it’s not me who is stepping on the gas. In fact, look, I am creating friction by stretching my arm out of the window.” is silly if not hypocritical. Our historical responsibility is to topple the driver, and nothing less.
  • This is not a one-time thing. We need sustained action in the right direction. Slowing down the bus now to accelerate in ten seconds is out of question. So we need to mobilize and organize.

All these were summarized into a slogan recently: “We are the ones we have been waiting for!”

We need a major leap in our capacity of imagination, and where we see ourselves in history. We need to mobilize and organize. Join in.

hopa

One slogan, three inspirations: We are the ones we have been waiting for! – Sinan Eden

One of the slogans of the Red Lines action in Paris during COP-21 was “We are the ones we have been waiting for!”we-are-the-ones

To me, slogans are not just words but strong tools with three functions:

First, to summarize my intentions and political convictions in a simple form. (“We are nature defending itself.”, “System change not climate change.”)

Second, to remind myself why I’m there: The repetitiveness of day-to-day work of activism may have an alienating effect. So, speaking out brings me back to real life, reminds me the injustices that made me angry in the first place. (“1.5 to stay alive!”, “The people united will never be defeated.”)

There is also a third function. It applies to good slogans – these are infrequent yet abundant. To make me reflect on the current state of the struggle and my involvement in it. (During Gezi, one common slogan was “This is just the beginning, the struggle continues.” and its deeper meaning still echoes in today’s Turkey.)

Since a year, I have been thinking about “We are the ones we have been waiting for.” It is such a powerful formulation that I keep on finding new dimensions to it.

1) We are the ones we have been waiting for.

The first dimension, its simple message, is that governments or politicians cannot and will not solve the climate crisis for us. One reason is the revolving door phenomenon in the capitalist political system. Another is the 30,000 full-time employed lobbyists working day and night, just in Brussels. (The “lobbyist per policy-maker” numbers are higher in Washington D.C.)

So, we need a firm grassroots movement that demands real solutions to climate change and that challenges the current power relations.

2) We are the ones we have been waiting for.

Then there is the affirmation that ordinary people hold the answer. Through energy democracy, food sovereignty and direct democracy, it will be us who will bring the change. It is us, all of us, together, who can save the world – or rather, save us from the catastrophic planet that capitalism is guiding us to.

There are no heroes, no saviors, no supermen, no wonder-women. Or if there are, then they are the collective actions of people who are imperfect yet learning, physically weak yet morally strong, estranged to each other but at the same time emancipating each other.

3) We are the ones we have been waiting for.

The third dimension* is more about us, as I don’t really expect non-activists reading this note until this paragraph.climate-emergency

It is about time.

It is about waiting.

Those who got the first two dimensions right have the responsibility to now mobilize us for climate justice.

We, the activists, are the ones to do this “initial” work, to activate. No one else will do it for us. Nothing will happen “on its own”. (Better said, we don’t have time to wait for something to happen on its own.)

While governments procrastinate, we have to gear up the fight, and we have to do it urgently.

The good news is: We have the power to redistribute the power. This is a growing movement, and probably the most radical social movement of the century: Hundreds of thousands marched around the world for strong climate action, tens of thousands were on the streets of Paris despite the state of emergency. In Portugal alone, more than 40 thousand people said no to oil and gas extraction, and thousands marched for the climate in eight cities just last year.

The facts are on our side. The wind is behind us. We have the moral obligation and a real possibility to change everything. And we have between 5 to 20 years left.

Back to the slogan

Breathing in… Breathing out… Reading the slogan again: We are the ones we have been waiting for.

Imagining myself ten years from now… There are many possible scenarios. Whatever the results, I know that I can be held responsible (I would hold myself responsible, for sure), for the good and for the bad.

Heinrich Böll asked a question to himself and to his readers: In World War II, all Germans were at war; before World War II, when it was being prepared, where were all the Germans?

We are making choices. Particularly in the Global North, we are making a bunch of choices about how much historical responsibility we assume for ourselves. (It’s because we have the privilege to do these choices relatively freely.)

Makes me think…

We are.

The ones.

We have been waiting for.

Think about it.

***

* Disclaimer: I don’t meant this is what the creators of the slogan had in mind. I am not over-reading. I am just interacting with the slogan, and new meanings pop up.

Disrupt – Sinan Eden

This is a short note on climate justice, and is linked to the questions in this article, but you could as well move on without reading that one. I write this note for climate justice activists. So I assume we agree that climate change exists, that it’s human-made, that it’s an urgent problem, and that there is an issue of justice in its core.

Kept short, I start with the following statement: The climate crisis is a matter of life or death.

I want to point out to three aspects of it.

Quite flexibleOld-Fadama-Accra

The first one is that capitalism is flexible. Many monarchs survived bourgeois revolutions, archaic privileges of the Catholic church survived republican revolutions, high-ranking party bureaucrats survived the fall of the Soviet union; and companies survived the long-thought-to-be-impossible minimum wage laws and working-hour laws. It is theoretically possible that at some point of history, corporations give enough compromise that we would decide to focus on other priorities. In a way, green capitalism fans are right to a certain extent; and we have to acknowledge how, after decades of counter-revolutionary strategy building, capitalists learned to give up large chunks of their power in order not to jeopardize the socio-economic system as a whole.

Not so flexiblesyria

However, the second trick is that “enough compromise” in the context of climate crisis means disruption. Physics and chemistry do not negotiate: There are tipping points in the Earth systems that, once passed, would accelerate warming irreversibly. Simply put, if we pass a threshold that probably lives somewhere between 1,5°C and 2°C (relative to pre-industrial levels), we will guarantee a 4-6°C warming due to positive feedback mechanisms. Now, we already reached a 0,85°C warming. This means we have very little time left to cut greenhouse gas emissions. And by “very little”, I mean, for instance, that we must stop building energy-related infrastructures that emit greenhouse gases, by next year, worldwide. Capitalism is reformable all-right, but the nature, amount and speed of reforms necessary are too radical to be implemented smoothly. We need to disrupt the system, declare state of climate emergency, and reclaim the power and Power.

Yet flexible

The third trick is that capitalism can adapt to climate change. Latin American history is an encyclopedic compendium of social disintegration going hand in hand with capitalist integration. Middle East is a living example of collapsed societies and imperialist juggling. And then there is sub-Saharan Africa. The engines of capitalism run quite well in these barbaric cases; as a matter of fact, none of the imperialist powers found inconvenient to extend this to North Africa and Ukraine. I mean, climate crisis in itself is not a survival crisis for capitalism, unless we make it one. Entering Decade Zero, the decade in which we will decide whether to rise up or fall down, there is little to no empirical or analytical evidence to hope for a capitalist transition.CbZxOjYW4AAYO8W

So ehm, I said above that this was a matter of life or death. Maybe now I can articulate better: This is a matter of either life for us and death to capitalism, or life for capitalism and death for us. (Just so you get a glimpse of what I’m talking about: In business-as-usual scenarios, some 200 million climate refugees are expected by 2050 – compare to 4 million Syrian refugees and the political and social consequences of it in Europe.) As profit-obsession poses a threat to the world-as-we-know-it, so should we pose a direct threat to corporations.

This is a huge challenge we are facing. In other words, we live in really exciting times. The old world is being shut down in Ende Gelände, in Plane Stupid, in Cerattepe, in Keystone XL. The new world begins here and now, with Climate Jobs campaigns, with energy democracy, with numerous fights on public transport, food sovereignty and self-management.

We live in really exciting times, and this is just the beginning. It is now time to escalate the movements for social and climate justice. Because we don’t have any more time left.

1.2

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.