As the IPCC report hits with the unsurprising yet still shocking news that we are sliding into an uninhabitable planet for humanity, it’s time to take stock not just of how we got here, but of the choices our political system put in front of us instead of taking action on climate change: Over the last two decades, while the alarm bells on climate change action were shrieking and the costs of action were many, many times lower than they are today, two huge seismic political shifts happened, one under a Labour government and one under a Tory one. Under Labour, we got the ‘War on Terror‘ a disastrous, two decades (so far) long policy clusterfuck that has cost billions and billions and hundreds of thousands of lives and generations of political capital. What has it achieved? The rise of the Islamic State in Iraq (which is still recovering from that conflict) and the advance of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
One report estimates the cost of the War on Terror to be $6.4 trillion and 801,000 lives. So in 2021 with Iraq on edge, divided and at a state of almost constant war and Afghanistan on the way to being run by the Taliban basically, returns things close to the state they were before, just at a huge, huge cost. Imagine that money, that human energy, that political capital spent on fighting the climate crisis instead?
Then Brexit; debates rage as to the cost of Brexit to the UK – and while the numbers vary, it is clear it is a cost not a benefit. This article had it at being around £200 Billion (with a ‘B’) by the end of 2020, so likely higher by now. So 5+ years of political deadlock and billions and billions of pounds later to basically arrive with a shitter version of trade with Europe and a bunch fewer rights for us? Imagine that money, that human energy, that political capital spent on fighting the climate crisis instead?
Our political system is adept a waste, corruption and destruction right when we need something that is cooperative, accountable and can act.
We’re in deep shit, and we need to act like our lives depend on it. Because they do.
“The true measure of the seriousness of the planetary crisis is not destruction but discontinuity…
“Not only has the Earth’s entire biosphere been transformed… but the human world has become something no human has ever experienced before.”https://t.co/tyDzNuntSI
— Alex Steffen (@AlexSteffen) August 8, 2021
The worst news: The IPCC confirms 1.5C will be breached.
The bad news: Bringing the climate back under 1.5C could happen with a global revolutionary effort unlike anything before combining civil resistance & other tactics to stop all new fossil fuel infrastructure in its tracks.
— Extinction Rebellion UK 🌍 (@XRebellionUK) August 9, 2021
Image from here.