Guest essay by Eric Worrall
According to Valentin Dupouey, head of communications for the European Greens, a pan-European federation of green parties, a major overhaul of Democracy is required to force acceptance of the economic de-growth required to address the climate crisis.
He also thinks its important to explain to China that because of climate change, “a Chinese average citizen … will never be able to reach the material lifestyle of a French minimum-wage worker.“
DEMOCRACY NEEDS A COPERNICAN REVOLUTION TO SURVIVE CLIMATE CHANGE
22 March, by Valentin Dupouey
Democracy and climate change: framing the question and setting a discussion ground
I believe this broad framework boils down to three core questions:
1) Can democratic infrastructures react quickly enough to prevent the climate meltdown and societal collapse foreseen by scientists?
2) Can democracy, human rights and the rule of law survive the climate meltdown if it can’t prevent it?
And if, as I increasingly believe, the only solution will be a half-planned, half-forced degrowth:
3) Can democracy accompany degrowth and its societal impacts?
Scenario 2: Half-forced, half-controlled degrowth
The only assumption needed here is the belief that decoupling cannot happen or will not happen fast enough – which in my opinion is much more likely. We also need to accept that continuous growth in the extraction of fossil energy is neither desirable (because of the climate meltdown) nor even physically possible; there is increasing evidence showing that we are approaching the peak extraction of oil, and that we could be reaching it for other fossil fuels soon.
Controlled degrowth means being able to say to voters at the next electoral cycle: “If we want to reduce our CO2 emissions, we need to decrease our GDP. Therefore, we won’t promise you more. We will need to decide which needs and desires we want to live without first and which ones we want to safeguard. You can’t have a starter, main dish and dessert anymore. It’s either/or. Which one do you want to keep?”
It is unspeakable at the level of one country but it is even more unthinkable on a global scale. We need to be able to tell a French minimum-wage worker that his lifestyle is not compatible with the planet’s boundaries, and we need to be able to say to a Chinese average citizen that he will never be able to reach the material lifestyle of a French minimum-wage worker.
I’m glad the European greens put their head of communications on the case, a person with inferior communication skills might have made a total mess of the topic of climate rationing, by producing a stream thoughtless bombastic statements of breathtaking arrogance and insensitivity.
I don’t know why a European like Dupouey thinks decoupling CO2 from cheap energy is such a problem. France, a leading member of the EU, is also the world leader in decoupling; the French successfully decoupled economic growth from CO2 emissions in the 1970s, when they replaced most of their coal plants with nuclear power plants.
If the rest of the world copied the 1970s French nuclear program, global CO2 emissions would plummet by at least 25%, likely a lot more.
As for Dupouey’s comments about Chinese workers needing to understand their position in life, that place being somewhere below the living standards of French workers, I hope Dupouey is considering a personal visit to the Middle Kingdom, explain his thinking to Chinese workers. I’m sure they would be very moved by his words.
via Watts Up With That?
March 23, 2020 at 08:16AM