Europe alone—only Europe
A paper for a book accompanying the campaign of a French ecologist (Yves Jadot) kindly translated by Stephen Muecke
I begin with the simple idea that climate change and its denial have been organising all contemporary politics at least for the last three decades. Climate change plays the same role that social questions and the class struggle played over the two preceding centuries.
We can understand nothing about the way inequalities have exploded for forty years, and the accompanying movement towards massive deregulation, if we don’t admit that a good part of the globalised elite had perfectly understood what was going on with the bad news about the state of the planet, which, thanks to the work of scientists, began to crystallise at the beginning of the nineties.
Since the threat was real, the elites drew the conclusion that it would be necessary to adopt two opposing courses of action. First, give up the post-war liberal dream of a common world created by the modernisation of the planet—so, let’s cut ourselves off as quickly as possible, through deregulation at any price, from the rest of the inhabitants to whom we sold this dream of universality; secondly, systematically organise long-term denial of this ecological change, which nevertheless brings in not just the environment but what is called the Earth-system.
(One can see in the case of Exxon-Mobil, which, at the beginning of the nineties, moved quickly from cutting edge scientific research on climate and the Earth, to the organisation of a denial of climatic change, a useful empirical benchmark to situate this transformation of liberal ideals).