Beyond 'Climate Opportunity Politics' (COP)

By Audio Pervert - 11/24/2021

"We are on course for 4°C of heating... 4°C future is incompatible with an organized global community... is likely to go beyond simple ‘adaptation’ and 'transition'... devastating a majority of ecosystems” – Prof Kevin Anderson 2020

We Didn't Start The Fire !?
We didn't start the fire .. It was always burning, since the world's been turning!
We didn't start the fire .. No, we didn't light it, but we tried to fight it…

Truth be told, and no disrespect to Billy Joel, collectively as a species, we did cause an immense warming coupled with mass destruction. The consequences of which are unfolding everyday. Fires and floods, spilling out as climate fury, making daily headlines, replete with stories of loss, migration and incoming global chaos. The recent COP26, United Nation’s climate summit ended in Glasgow Scotland, yet again unable to align industrial civilization with the ecosystem. Instead opposing sides argued over economic deals, carbon budgets, energy transition and net zero futures… all on paper though! Described as “epic fail” and “mere headlines”, 26 COPS later it is quite obvious, that all such summits are in essence a mighty flop! COP could be renamed as ‘Climate Opportunity Politics’, and dare we say that it merits public divestment. Boycott and move beyond the terrible (25 years) quagmire and impotency. COP is a reflection of a “a broken world” and an “appalling addiction to energy”. By now it’s apparent, that the current capitalist economic model of endless (exponential) growth on a finite planet is clearly unsustainable. Simply not possible! By definition, that means that it must come to an end. The only question is whether we will choose to end it, or whether it “ends via system collapse”. This essay is an appeal, distressing but resilient, at a personal and collective level, about transition and transformation - of our relationship with the ecosystem. How we view and use energy, land, water, food and every naturally available resource. Why that rapport has to change...

The last time (3 million years ago) there was this much CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere, the Earth was about 3°C warmer than today. The oceans were almost 30 feet higher than today! Industrial activity over the last 150 years has decimated life across the planet. This "scale of destruction" effectively cuts the brakes, of our current trajectory as well as accelerating the Earth rapidly into a new state “that will be alien to human systems”. Scientific data shows “tipping points” within erratic climate patterns have already been reached. Scientists fear is that one tipping point could trigger another, thus causing a cascade of collapsing environments, driving the planet irreversibly to a far "hotter state". We must remind ourselves, as ordinary citizens, why all such important predicaments are largely absent from climate conferences, greenwash capitalism, agendas set by solar, wind and nuclear energy and also mainstream media. Why are we being lied to

Policy makers and the enablers of green-tech and capitalism are trumpeting a new schema: “Carbon budgets”. The premise in a nutshell, is the amount of CO2 we could 'still' collectively release and hope to remain below certain temperature limits. The "underlying fault with such policy" (or many similar ones) are two crucial conditions, effectively ignored. One being Overshoot and Collapse, the other being Jevon's Paradox. Something is "terribly wrong" in the world of economics...

Mid 1970s, Donella Meadows, a scientist working at MIT, proposed that "the current trajectory of growth and required energy will rapidly reach a state of overshoot, and consequently lead to collapse". Her visionary work, backed by computer models using multiple positive / negative feedback loops showed how animals (big and small) and human societies (tribal or modern) have gone through cycles of overshoot and collapse, and the same predicament can be applied to a massive industrial civilization. Back then, she was largely ignored by the scientific sorority, mainstream economists, the IMF, World Bank and United Nations. "Any species, big or small, in the long term is generally defined by the limits imposed by the ecosystem (carrying capacity) and not the other way around" Donella said in 1976. Donella passed away in 2001, yet her legacy of ecologically motivated science grew into an open-source international foundation, with thousands of members proliferating her ideas of "stable systems". Is it vital for us? We, the consequence of overshoot, facing the possibility of collapse. Donella's attempt to combine scientific, philosophical and ecological vision can be felt in her brilliant essay (1985) titled 'Dancing With Systems'.

"The drivers of global economics and the energy needs of 5 billion people may coincide for the moment. However, no one seems to be bothered about how this 'party' will eventually wind down, or worse, just crash..." wrote Prof. William R Catton in his book 'Overshoot' in 1982. Even as Catton's book did not make an impact on the thousands of well meaning economists, scientists, industrialists and politicians, it panned out to show how disaster prone and shortsighted we are, as a species. The book does not roll out prophecies - instead it explains that the "combined overshoot" of population, consumption, emissions, pollution, production and industry would lead to an eventual overall collapse, stretching hundreds of years, before returning to normalcy (stability). "The predicament that we face now is that our population (size) is vastly outgrowing the carrying capacity of the ecosystem. It does not matter if we solve one carrying capacity (say food shortage) as multiple feedback loops effect the rise and decline of any species.. despite our technical superiority, civilization is defined by the limits of the ecosystem" states Catton in a 1988 interview. For decades his book and several papers were ignored by mainstream science and media, even as he worked as a consultant for the World Bank. Today the world is openly grappling with Catton's predicament!

"Carrying capacity of our civilization is clearly in deficit, irrespective of the fixes suggested by science and neoliberal reforms..." Catton said in 1991. "We have been stealing from the future for a long time ... our energy demands are generated by systems which cannot be replenished in the short term ... we are changing the basic conditions of life on earth... from the pristine to the abandoned or ruined.." (Overshoot 1982)

The deep faith in technology that industrial civilization is vested upon, is described as a condition called "Cargoism" by Catton, as early as 1981. New Delhi, the world's most polluted city is a perfect example of Cargoism. 22 million people living inside a massive 'gas chamber', where decades of technology based intervention has failed to curb pollution, contamination and widespread rise of respiratory diseases. Yet Catton was ignored like Kepler! "It's an astonishing fact that we have managed to destroy vast parts of the ecosystem, without violating a single law. If destruction leads to profit, it's legal!"(Overshoot 1982). Till the end of his life, he maintained a realistic type of optimism, encouraging us to think and act ecologically, as well as enjoy life despite the catastrophes invoked by industrial civilization. We urge the reader to read Overshoot! (Open Source Book)

The foxes in charge of the hen-house! A brief look at how COP summits are organized reveals the farce and eventual mockery of climate justice. COP is divided into two zones - blue and green. Both zones are manned by the United Nations and it's own police. While activists, journalists, NGOs and scientists interact inside the green zone - the politicians, lobbyists of green-tech, agents of the fossil fuel industry, economists, celebrities and VIPs are busy making future deals inside the blue zone. A common citizen has no access to the blue zone, yet shelling out approximately 100+ euros per day, to be able to access the green zone. "COP organizers (United Nations) don't keep a count of the carbon emissions of the summit itself. There were zero CO2 detectors placed at the conference... flights and hotel prices four times higher than usual..." states Canadian climate scientist Paul Beckwith. Mass media laps up, amplifying the green lies, mandates and mantras. "This is climate countdown" cried the simple minded liberal Amy Goodman! Majority of the speakers and presentations at COP26 belonged to the global north, plus the cherry-picked climate celebrities like Greta Thundberg, Leonardo Di Caprio etc taking up needless space and attention, while thousands of activists, scientists and NGOs from the global south stuck outside Scotland, most of them denied entry into U.K due to Covid. "Hundreds of delegates were ripped off, having to pay thousands of euros for accommodation, local transport, food and even water, all mandated by the British Government..." states a Scotland based newspaper.

So how does this party wind down? Well, no one really knows, and even worse not many want it to end. However, a system (our civilization) which is based on "robbing from the future" or facing "Overshoot and Collapse" is not going to last for long. Not at least in it's current form. 'Trade-offs' between economics and the environment is a really bad joke perhaps. Whatever type of economy, just cannot thrive without an ecosystem. Sorry 'Captain COP' but time up! Inaction is denial. There is a difference between believing in something and acting like it's true. At this point, we are taking the first steps of transition, by divesting bit by bit from the maddening schemes of industrial civilization. After all the anxiety and doom, we do have new indicators of resilience, success and security. A pro-future and pro-planet... Those who disagree and want business as usual, we say adios (goodbye)!

We cannot alter climate change and global warming. Both are well in motion in thousands of ways. The gap between those (billions) worst effected by global warming and climate and those (few thousands) who are swearing by unsustainable policies (and getting richer) is widening. The young climate activist who swears by Green-Energy is as delusional as the agents of Exxon, Shell, Mercedes and Toyota selling lies about a future long cancelled. Is why COP and all such institutionally controlled affairs, will always serve economics and industry, and not nature. "There's a great awakening across the world, however small in numbers, after almost 600 years.. people who are rising up against the murder of the planet... That it's NOT OK anymore, to take another person's life, NOT OK to destroy rivers, oceans and forests.. world leaders and the dominant way of thinking cannot provide us with answers nor security..." underlines award-winning writer and journalist Dahr Jamail.


As individuals, without passing the blame, without heckling and wasting time, we are compelled to take our first steps towards transition. Align our lifestyles rapidly over time, building loyalty towards ecology and the living planet (or what remains of it). There's got to be 'enoughness' which is not linked to success, wealth and endless material growth. Love, clarity and compassion over personal ambition and success. Even if we are set for extinction, we seek resilience, adaptation and empathy. Out of that realization comes the will to change. Converging at a personal and collective level, as artists, creators and innovators, we are planting new seeds of transition based on shared visions. Join us?

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