Is revolution the only way to tackle climate change?

Eric Holthaus writes: So it’s come to this.

Last year, a researcher presented a paper on climate change at the American Geophysical Union’s meeting entitled ”Is Earth F**ked?” which advocated “environmental direct action, resistance taken from outside the dominant culture, as in protests, blockades and sabotage by indigenous peoples, workers, anarchists and other activist groups.”

Last month, the Philippines climate commissioner and self-styled revolutionary Naderev “Yeb” Saño held a 13-day fast in the midst of an international climate summit, just hours after Typhoon Haiyan ravaged his home country. In a tearful speech quoting Gandhi, he said: “We cannot sit and stay helpless staring at this international climate stalemate. It is now time to take action. We need an emergency climate pathway.”

And only last week, a conference of climate scientists in London explored the theme of “radical emissions reduction” after noting that “nothing that we’ve said or done to date about climate change has made any detectable dip whatsoever”. Via a weblink, author Naomi Klein compared the fight against climate change with the struggle against South African apartheid, and said, “an agenda capable of delivering radical emissions reductions will only advance if accompanied by a radical movement.”

Fed up with slow (or in some cases, backwards) progress on climate change, environmental advocates are mulling desperate measures. Emerging at the head of this pack is arguably the world’s most prominent climate scientist: James Hansen, a former NASA researcher turned activist.

In a provocative study published earlier this month, Hansen and a group of colleagues make the case for why radical action is needed. [Continue reading…]

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2 thoughts on “Is revolution the only way to tackle climate change?

  1. pabelmont

    I sort of agree, and sort of not. No such movement will prevail against the consortium of BIG corporations which together make up the oligarchy (“Establishment”) which runs the USA and much of the capitalist world. China of course has an internal oligarchy.

    What’s needed is two-pronged: [1] much more education, spearheaded by universal outcry from universities, teach-ins, conferences, non-stop, seeking to rauise FEAR and UNDERSTANDING of Climate Change in most minds; and [2] defeat of the oligarchy of the BIGs (BIG-BANKs, BIG-OLI, BIG-DEFENSE, BIG-PHARMA, BIG-AGRI, etc. which all push government toward their own very-short-term goals (short term profits) without any concern whatever for the future of the human race and other animal and vegetable life on earth.

    A 4-degree-C general rise in temperature (say by 2100) will stop agriculture, forests, planckton, etc. and that’ll stop life.

  2. Steve Zerger

    Yes, the masses are poised and waiting to be led in a great crusade against the forces of…

    comfort, convenience, abundance, amusement…

    …all which is ruinous in their lives.

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