Australia, Climate Change, and Green Colonialism


I’m working on a couple pieces relating to this, but I wanted to post this video, because it makes some important points. Heading into the 21st century, we’re facing a lot of big choices, and a lot of changes in how we interact with our planet, and with each other. Changing our energy sources and infrastructure, and changing how we use the resources of this planet has to come with changes in how we treat our fellow humans on a global scale.

Whether it’s helium in Tanzania, needed for things like MRI scanners, or lithium in Bolivia needed for our current battery technology, if we continue the patterns of colonialism and capitalist exploitation, we will destroy ourselves through the pattern of stripping parts of the planet bare, and “moving on”. This approach to fueling our societies leads to slavery and genocide, and is inextricably tied to our inability to meaningfully respond to our global environmental crisis.

Check out the video, and stay tuned for more on the human cost of not changing how we do things.

Climate action in the global north cannot be at the expense of the global south. We must be clear about the causes of climate destruction and support a Green New Deal that addresses the problem without sacrificing the Global South to a new “green” colonialism.

Comments

  1. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    More support for the idea that the Green New Deal is more about social revolution and up-ending the social order than it is about environmentalism. The video claims that it’s capitalism that is the cause of global warming. That’s facile and so simplified that it’s childish. No, the cause of climate change is the emission of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, and the cause of that is that the cheapest and quickest way to raise the standard of living in poor countries and maintain the standard of living in rich countries involves the emission of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. This is true no matter whether you have a pure libertarian free market economy, or a central command economy ala cliche communism. There’s a simple tragedy of the commons going on, that each individual nation and people can make themselves better off by burning coal and natural gas, at the expense of wrecking the climate for everyone.

    One of the new Green talking points is how to fix this in a capitalism framework, and that is greenhouse gas emission taxes (preferrably a fee-and-dividend approach). You don’t need to throw out capitalism to get that done.

    Similar problems would be faced in a hypothetical central command economy system, like China. If the Chinese government were to go full renewables, it would greatly hurt the prosperity of the people of China, and make them very unpopular. One of the basic reasons why the Chinese government doesn’t face more political opposition is because the economy is doing well. If that changes, then the Chinese government will face some severe political backlash.

    Fundamentally, in both the cliche pure free market economy and the cliche pure central command economy, the reason for the emission of greenhouse gases is that it’s popular among the people. Getting people around the world to stop burning fossil fuels is a colossal collective action issue that is possibly insurmountable – politically. You only need to look at Australia to see that this is true. They had a greenhouse gas emissions tax, and then by popular vote, they got rid of it.

    Fortunately for humanity, there is a third option. If we could use another form of energy that was cheap, clean, abundant, without significant greenhouse gas emissions, then we could sustain our standard of living and raise the rest of the world out of poverty, and do so cheaply. If we could do so cheaper than coal and natural gas, then we wouldn’t have to work against the innate selfishness and short-sighted-ness of the people re the tragedy of the commons. Again, fortunately, this is an option. There is such a technology. It’s nuclear power.

    Unfortunately for humanity, the people who are profiting off fossil fuels are funding shills to attack nuclear power, many leading Green experts and NGOs, who use propaganda, misinformation, and misleading emotional appeals, and romantic regressive Luddite myths, appealing back to a simpler time where people lived in harmony with nature, which is a past that never existed. The solution to these problems is to go forward, not backward. The solution to the problems of humans harming the environment is not to make humans live in harmony with nature. The solution is to remove humanity from nature and pack them into cities, and to reduce their other needs for land, i.e. farmland, and all of that requires more energy expenditure, and thankfully, nature has provided us a way to do that cleanly, cheaply, safely, and sustainably. It’s nuclear power.

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