Why & How (Not) To Care For The Climate

Posted on Posted in Social Justice

Michael Northcott, from the University of Edinburgh, gave the third plenary talk on Saturday at the climate change conference.

  • Fossil fuels are a subterreanian forest.
  • Capitalism is run on underground stored carbon. Burning it threatens the 10k years of climate stability in which civilizations have endured.
  • Deforestation is responsible for more than 20% of annual carbon emissions.
  • Inequity is the central ethical feature of climate change.
  • The earth system makes neighbours of the rich & the poor.
  • Neighbours have moral duties of care & love but distance diminishes the sense of duty.
  • How do we get over the distance? “We believe in the communion of saints” Duties across time & space.
  • The atmosphere is a common realm. Commons are traditionally managed by communities.
  • Neoliberalism is the current regnant business & economic ideology.
  • It sustains the idea that there are only two devices – states or markets – for managing collective goods.
  • Climate change is about the strong oppressing the weak.
  • Money is a construct which emerges out of human & ecological relationships. It gives dominion over people.
  • Real wealth is relational.
  • We need monetary accounts that reflect real-world events.
  • Forest people look on carbon trading as another attempt at colonial landgrabbing.

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