Wednesday, April 17, 2019

What Is the Extinction Rebellion?

You don’t live under a rock, but still, I imagine that you have never heard of the new group called Extinction Rebellion. It was formed in Once-Great Britain by people who have taken the environmental apocalyptic hysteria a bit too seriously. Their goal has been to shut down commerce and industry. And to reduce carbon emissions to zero in the space of a few years. Thereby to save the planet, no matter how much human misery it produces.

The Guardian has the story, from a couple of days ago:

Thousands of people have blocked well-known landmarks including Waterloo Bridge in central London, bringing widespread disruption to the capital in a “climate rebellion” that organisers say could last several days.

Parents and their children joined scientists, teachers, long-term environmentalists and other protesters both young and old to occupy major junctions and demand urgent action over the escalating ecological crisis.

The protests are part of a global campaign organised by the British climate group Extinction Rebellion, with demonstrations planned in 80 cities across 33 countries in the coming days.

The group is calling on the UK government to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025 and establish a citizens’ assembly to devise an emergency plan of action to tackle climate breakdown and biodiversity loss.

Theresa May’s Minister of State for Energy, one Claire Perry, finds it all illuminating. She met with groups and declared their talks to be productive. Dominic Lawson disagrees.

We happily allow Lawson his word:

Really? Extinction Rebellion is this week launching mass protests designed to shut down or obstruct transport links, causing (more) misery to commuters and business. If that’s the result of ‘productive’ talks, I wonder what would happen if they had gone badly.

But making Britain hell for business (and anyone who drives a car) is what Extinction Rebellion stands for. As the Energy Minister must know, its mission is to ‘save the planet’ by eliminating Britain’s CO2 emissions entirely by 2025.

These people make the supporters of the Green New Deal sound sane. Which is an achievement in itself. But, practically speaking, what would the Extinction Rebellion policies produce in the real world:

Or in other words, to reduce us to a state of mere subsistence, last seen in the pre-industrial age when life was (for the great majority) nasty, brutish and short.

As if to emphasise the primitiveness to which they wish us to return, this is the group which on April Fool’s Day performed a naked protest in the public gallery of the House of Commons.

Actually, this is the only way people with such views could take part (so to speak) in parliamentary debate. Because any party which tried to get MPs elected on a policy of mass immiseration would not win a single seat. There might be some thousands of middle-class students and drop-outs sufficiently aesthetically offended by mass consumerism to vote for such a manifesto, but that would be it.

But, you will ask, what would happen if the economy stops growing. George Monbiot is all for it. It would mean the destruction of capitalism, which, you might have guessed, is responsible for all the world’s ills and is destroying the planet.

Lawson continues::

Last week,  Monbiot appeared on Frankie Boyle’s television show, New World Order, and was cheered by the youthful audience when he demanded action to end economic growth, adding that this meant ‘we’ve got to go straight to the heart of capitalism and overthrow it’.

Monbiot has been consistent in this: in 2007 he wrote an article for the Guardian welcoming the prospect of a recession, even though, as he acknowledged, ‘it would cause some people to lose their jobs and homes’. (He got his wish: it turned out not to be popular).

Among the total absurdities in this children’s crusade is the simple fact that, when it comes to carbon dioxide emissions, Great Britain is not even in the game. Its contribution to global warming does not even register. So, the Extinction Rebellion cannot possibly have any effect on the state of the planet. This means that it must count as virtue signaling by the jejune:

But if it’s the planet you want to save, and you believe its very existence is threatened by excessive emissions of CO2, then what happens in this country is almost beside the point. The UK contributes little more than one per cent of global CO2 emissions. Even if the inhabitants of these islands were reduced by an environmentalist version of the Cambodian dictator Pol Pot to a state of pre-industrial and self-sufficient subsistence farming — no wicked imports of food via boat or plane — it would have a minuscule effect on the planet’s future.

In fact, the UK — chiefly through the steady closure of the domestic coal industry — has been in the vanguard of reducing CO2 emissions: in 2018, our emissions were at their lowest levels in 120 years.

Who is responsible for most of the world’s pollution? Why, Lawson explains, it’s China. Surprising, don’t you think. And why is China doing it? Because they want to feed their people. Clearly, this puts it at variance with the wish to save the planet and to pay for it in human suffering:

It’s not British politicians that groups such as Extinction Rebellion should be haranguing and demonstrating against, but those in the People’s Republic of China. That is the nation responsible for 60 per cent of the growth in global CO2 emissions over the past decade.

And China is currently building almost 260 gigawatts of new coal-fired power generating capacity — in itself almost the size of the entire U.S. coal-fired capacity.

The trouble is the Chinese state would treat rather robustly any Extinction Rebellion activists who attempted to demonstrate on its busiest streets, or to mount a naked protest in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. I don’t recommend they try that.

But, seriously, wouldn’t that be interesting. Of course, China has already had its own Extinction Rebellion. It was called Maoism. It overthrew capitalism and saw tens of millions of people starve to death. Surely, that rid the world of a lot of carbon dioxide emissions… that is, exhalations. Better yet, China had its very own children’s crusade, called the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. How did that one work out, bunky?

So, perhaps the Extinction Rebellion should occupy Tiananmen Square. Turn on the cameras and watch the show:

Nor should we be so critical of the Chinese. They, as we in the West did before them, are using cheap energy wrenched from the Earth’s resources to escape from lives of almost unimaginable poverty. And it was economic growth which ultimately created the circumstances in which peace rather than conflict became the normal state of human affairs: nations could prosper and enrich themselves through trade rather than the plunder of neighbours in a zero-sum world.

If the likes of Extinction Rebellion were to get their way, it is something like that bleak past which would be revisited upon us. And the political forces emerging from that would be truly terrifying.


trigger warning said...

Extinction Rebellion sounds like a group worth donating to. I recently re-watched "The Battle of Britian", and I'm convinced, if ER are successful, survivors would make much better allies. The UK, like the US, is suffering from far too many residents bobbing about on inflatable Flintstone rings in the Pissing Section of the intellectual pool. Makes the pool nasty for everybody.

Anonymous said...

Here, Stuart. Read this:

Sam L. said...

Remember, folks, that Mr. Monbiot was the one for whom the term "Moonbat" was named.
Just One More piece of evidence of the truth!

Anonymous said...

There's never an Islamic mass murderer around when you need one.