Note — Sep 01, 2019

The Glimmer of a Climate New World Order

David Wallace-Wells, being almost optimistic, goes over some of the recent Bolsonaro-induced climate anxiety and political moves, as well as some thoughts on the book Climate Leviathan, by Geoff Mann and Joel Wainwright. He inventories a number of possible coming political forms and combinations as they relate to climate collapse. And quadrants! “Climate Mao (anti-capitalist and nationalist); Climate Behemoth (capitalist and nationalist), Climate Leviathan (capitalist and globalist) and Climate X (anti-capitalist and globalist, basically ecosocialism, which they’re rooting for).”

In other words, a threat to apply the same tools of leverage and sanction and shame to crimes of climate as have been applied, in the past, to violations of human rights and territorial sovereignty. […]

If the 21st century is conducted in the shadow of warming as the second half of the 20th was in the shadow of the Holocaust, that sort of succession — from human rights to climate change as the universal touchstone of geopolitics and speakable expression of great-power rivalry — seems not just possible but inevitable. […]

But on the left, some modulated versions are probably likelier, too: a more empathic and redistributive politics that stops short of true collectivization, for instance, and some growing awareness among left-wing leaders around the world that growth is merely one measure of progress, and perhaps a misleading or counterproductive one. […]

In fact, every single member nation of the G-7 is hiding some significant climate hypocrisy behind their pressure on Bolsonaro, however laudable that pressure is. […]

To pretend that Bolsonaro is the world’s only climate villain, or the Amazon the only region in the world currently in climate crisis, is an act of grand self-delusion.