2022-08-13 DrVive on moving to a planetary systems view

WLA note (2022-08-14): this Twitter thread by Dr. Genevieve Guenther (@DoctorVive) lays out a way to think about, and then act on, what we (I) need to understand about the geo-socio-econo-polltical changes in which we are now involved and embedded. We cannot put aside the inertia inherent in our present and past behaviors and socio-political choices, while we imagine and envision new geo-political arrangements, and global and planetary societal relations and relationships.

Dr. Genevieve Guenther (@DoctorVive): There is a politically significant difference between the inherent tension of a transition to a different energy and economic system (in which old processes and structures of feeling still linger even as new technologies and ways of being emerge) and...


a hope and plan to keep fossil fuels significantly in the mix in the next iteration of our economy. It is this that is so dangerous, because, insofar as it succeeds, it ensures that the world won't halt global warming at a relatively safe level.


And that is because, to the extent that it's not just a cynical, nihilistic desire to maximize extractive profits (i.e., the current position of oil and gas companies), it relies on the belief that we can use CCS & CO2 removal to offset fossil fuel production AND deliver negative emissions.


But this belief itself is a form of blind faith, of "economic optimism" about the power of human beings to build amazing things that seemingly transform our lives. It's not supported by the scientific evidence about the relationship between CDR & planetary & human systems.


Because what we have to do to resolve the climate crisis is fundamentally different from what we needed to do to, say, take one small step on the moon, representing one giant leap in our conception of ourselves.


We need not to build one thing, or one kind of thing, or overcome technical obstacles without worrying about the knock-off consequences of our overcoming.


We need to do what we've never done: we need to figure out how to integrate our economy and, hey, the creation of wealth, into the planetary systems that are, I'm sorry, fundamentally the only things that give human beings life.


The whole point of a tragedy is that the thing that seems to give you your unique, transcendent power is the very thing that leads to your downfall. Our embrace of fossil energy is that very thing.


But unlike in a tragedy, where the hero has no capacity to change course because his fate has been predestined by the gods (or, in Shakespeare, because he uses categories of thought inadequate to his situation), we have the power to see and correct our error before it's too late.


It's already too late for millions, possibly billions of people in the global south whose lives are in the process of being destroyed by the warming that's already locked in. Climate change is perhaps the greatest injustice by scale in all of human history.


But it's not too late to swerve and set ourselves on the epic course to remaking our so-called civilizations.

And we can do this—we are capable of absolutely extraordinary transformations. We are not determined by our biology like other animals. We can recreate everything.


But this vast, generational journey must start with the first step, as the saying goes, & that step is to accept that for all their glorious benefits for the rich, fossil fuels & the systems that enable them are poisons destroying the capacity of this planet to support life.


Government support for fossil fuels as a political compromise is one thing, but ongoing committed support for attempts to "abate" fossil fuels, or create "carbon negative fossil fuels," as part of whatever world we're trying to build, is only going to lead to utter disaster.


I hope we all can keep those two things separate in our heads.


Acronyms: CCS: Carbon Capture and Storage CDR: Carbon Dioxide Removal


See also:
eco-modernism defense (wtfit)

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