The climate is the question of the fate of this century, after 30 years of work, since Rio in 1992, this insight has spread to popular majorities around the world and at the climate summit in Glasgow, virtually all the world governments promised to do something about it.
All indications are that the broad awareness of the climate crisis will lead to extensive changes in the world’s socio-economic system. The extent to which these will save us the fatal effects of the already depleted global warming is another question.
Climate policy is stuck, albeit not steadfastly, in “ordinary politics” and its game of power, where the issue is just a chip among others that must be dealt with in the game of power.
Many western countries governments are basically using key topics to phrase climate change:
“a global climate race… and the countries in the west is running in the leadership cluster”.
“the prelude to a green industrial revolution”.
In this context, western governments are among the best of those who will not qualify, that is, those who will not be able to cope with 1.5 degrees warming with the promised measures.
As never before, the climate crisis raises issues of planetary solidarity and global humanity.
Politicians around the world are wasting that chance. Nevertheless, the climate crisis with greenhouse gas emissions has a strong class dimension. The more privileged, the greater the emissions and damage caused and the lower the personal risk.
The crisis requires reduced social gaps, large public investment and a new, widespread system of public rules.
This should be developed into other regulations in order to place the equal value of people and the right to welfare and well-being before private profit interests everywhere.
While political parties abdicate from a climate policy of social justice and turn into cheers for a small but rich entrepreneurial minority’s technology fetishism it affects the whole world.
On November 3, 2021, the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) announced that $ 130 trillion in private capital was now “committed to transforming the economy into zero carbon dioxide emissions.”
GFANZ is an organization of fund managers and bankers led by two of the UN’s “special envoys”, the American billionaire Michael Bloomberg and the former Governor of the Bank of Canada and the United Kingdom, Mark Carney. 130 trillion, “for three decades”, is almost six times US GDP and about 140 percent of the world.
Enormous sums of capital have been accumulated, from pension savers and policyholders and capitalists, large and small. The total capital of the two largest private asset managers in the world is 25 times greater than Sweden’s GDP!
This large project is part of an even larger one, which since the recent financial crash has been developed by capital’s international organizations, led by the World Bank. The agenda can be summarized in two slogans, “infrastructure as an asset class” and “development as financialization”.
“Infrastructure” has so far been public service, roads, water and sewage, school, care and nursing. Now it will mainly be private profit objects. Economic and social development is redefined as “de-risking”. The state must ensure that private capital is guaranteed a reliable profit for its road construction, schools and hospitals.
The climate movement in the broadest sense is a unique, worldwide opinion- and practice-forming movement, with five separate, interacting, but hardly interacting components. The world’s largest asset manager, Blackrock, has consistently voted against stopping deforestation on company boards.
But the talk at COP26 is nothing to ignore. The world is on its way to a historic energy shift, a radical economic-social transformation – which can go in diametrically different directions.
The American climate movement has compared itself to the struggle for the abolition of slavery. The size of slave capital in the American economy in the mid-19th century was greater than that of fossil capital today, half of all wealth in the southern states, one-fifth of all private wealth in the United States in 1860.
This is not an encouraging parable. Capitalism survived slavery and entered the “time of the robber barons”. The blacks had no land to live on and were soon deprived of almost all civil rights. After slavery came apartheid.
The climate crisis is dramatizing the ravages of capital in nature and society. The activists of the climate movement are almost the only ones who see this, but they have no influence on the ruling politicians and their capital- and technology-fixed worldview. If all revolts are stopped, the enlightened minority of capital will stop worrying.
While we are likely to survive two degrees of warming, post-fossil digital surveillance capitalism, in which civil rights are replaced by financial capacity, may resemble Jim Crow’s laws or apartheid.