Extinction Rebellion starting to look more and more like a legitimate protest group rather than cheap political astroturf, after getting banned in London



I still don't know what XR actually *want* other than 'emit vaguely protest-flavoured extruded media product', because the way you actually *fix* the climate crisis is 1) literally shut down all transport and manufacturing in the USA and Europe, 2) stop buying anything from China, 3) accept that millions of the poorest people will immediately die

and I don't imagine there's a huge amount of left support for that

but at least getting banned in London is a beginning to getting some street cred


Realistically the best they can hope for is for British people to start doing things others in Northern Europe have already been doing for 30-40 years, and reduce levels of car dependence (which is clearly why these protests are more popular in London and other cities) - but the presence of all these older folk *and* a whole family of British Asians isn't a bad thing and I do see a much larger diversity of supporters than 1990s eco-protests..


@natecull Meanwhile, the left feels that XR is a police/GCHQ sting operation, designed to usurp the protests (which are actually made up of anarchists of various kinds) and gather incriminating evidence on participants.

Case in point : sunbeam.city/@scottishwobbly/1

@ansugeisler Mmm. And this sort of thing is why I also feel very arms-length about XR, and increasingly so.

@natecull Come on, you know there is a middle ground between "do nothing" and "turn all the lights off and wait to die".

And "do nothing" option doesn't mean millions of poorest people won't die from floods, heat waves, famines, and civil unrest caused by mass migrations from no-longer-habitable regions.

@kornel << Come on, you know there is a middle ground between "do nothing" and "turn all the lights off and wait to die". >>

But is there, though? If so, what IS that middle ground? "Turn off only some of the lights, and watch only some people die"?

CO2 emission pretty much scales directly with life, given that we're burning oil to grow food and truck that food to our tables.

That's the elephant in the room that groups like XR aren't discussing.

Would very much like to see a solution though.

@kornel Like, actual practical steps that could be taken that might make a dent in global CO2:

* ban all Chinese imports, because Chinese factories are dirty. Start by putting tariffs on China. Oh wait! Donald Trump just did that, and the left hates him for it. So how does that idea get traction? Gonna need tariffs and trade walls to fight CO2.

* Ban meat. Might work! Expect a political fight that makes gun control look easy; entire agriculture sectors collapse; synthmeat CEOs new oligarchs.


* ban or heavily tax private cars. Everything collapses, the survivors create small businesses and shops from their now empty garages and/or telework...?

* something something miracle extremely powerful and cheap and affordable electric cars replace all petrol engines? Outcome: entire oil sector collapses; Elon Musk gets so rich he buys and then moves to the Moon.

Basically the answer is we have to destroy entire industrial sectors. Okay. We need to admit that and plan HOW to do it.


I'm not saying all of this is inherently impossible, unachievable, or immoral.

But saying 'reduce CO2 output to zero in 5 years' without admitting that doing so requires shutting down huge chunks of our economy and WITHOUT showing a clear and yet flexible plan for doing that... that strikes me as kind of immoral.

'CO2exit' makes Brexit look simple in comparison. There will be VAST scope for massive failure and enrichment of elites if rapid massive change like this is not done well.


So again:

I generally feel that XR and all other climate change activists are on the right track. Have felt that since the 1970s.

But I don't see them facing up to the human cost and scale of what they're asking.

A serious plan to achieve global CO2 neutrality will, in reality, look very much like Brexit and a trade war with China, combined, multiplied thousands of times over. It will require an economic downturn, harsh sanctions on noncomplying nations, loss of freedom to travel.

@kornel So if this is what the left wants, sure. It's probably a thing that needs to be done.

Just, please, don't also point fingers at say Brexit or the China trade war and say 'we can't have any economic disruption like that!'

We're going to inevitably have economic disruption a lot bigger than those two events when we get serious about slowing CO2.

And if we're going to smash our global economy - fine, it's not that good for us anyway - then we should probably fix more than just CO2.


Just to finish with:

The simplest way of fighting CO2 would simply be to raise the price of oil by some very large multiplier. Say a hundred times. Just raise taxes.

Voila. Oil burning drops. CO2 drops.

And then the market will sort out the rest, including who lives and who dies due to all the resulting shortages.

Would you be in favour of doing that within five years? If not, why not? It's very achievable.

Mitigating the *results* of making oil expensive? That's the hard part.

@natecull The deadline for orderly reductions, without inconveniencing local businesses and steak connoisseurs, has passed. Gone. You can't still hope for it (which you seem to).

There are many many sensible things that can be done. For things we don't know yet, research should be done — urgently.

It's not as impossible as you say. For a start, dropping of coal and oil *subsidies*. That's not hard! Stop paying our money to make our own situation worse.

@natecull Invest in public transport. China is actually doing very well on that front. They have tons of electric trains and ebuses. Not as convenient as a SUV for everyone, but better than hurricanes and fires.

I'm sure that some rednecks will literally die for a steak, but most people can live without beef. Most populous area of the Earth doesn't eat it, the rest can do too.

@natecull It does mean sacrifices, inconveniences, upsetting economies. It will ruin lives of some people. The thing is, if we act now, it'll ruin fewer lives than if we just say "too hard!" and continue as usual until major economic collapses will leave us no choice but to make all these drastic changes *and* deal with natural disasters.

@natecull and what's the human cost and scale of disruption if India becomes unhabitable?

If your country won't be able to grow its staple food any more, how will that not cause economic turmoil?

Brexit fuckery, or taxes on Chinese gadgets, or loss of holidays on another continent, are tiny in comparison.

The Titanic is sinking, we're past worrying whether the band will continue to play.

Sign in to participate in the conversation

Server run by the main developers of the project 🐘 It is not focused on any particular niche interest - everyone is welcome as long as you follow our code of conduct!