Global Warming Is Here

What Can Be done About It?

T Vijayendra

Today everyone knows that global warming is a real ity. Many of its effects, like climate change, extreme natural disasters, ecological degradation, crop failure etc. are fairly well discussed. However, what can be done and how to do it is fairly hazy.

In essence there is only one thing need to be done. Reduce CO2 emission to zero as soon as possible. Not later than 2025, but preferably before 2020 is over.

There are only two possibilities:
1.   The governments of the world take action either on their own or under pressure from people's movement.
2.   Economy collapses due to variety of reasons—misadventures of crony capitalist class [1] that has emerged in a big way since 2008, misadventures of powerful governments leading to local wars -Iran, Korea, India-

Pakistan and many smaller wars in other parts of the world.

Of the two the first one may appear desirable but unlikely to happen. For one, the governments are too slow to react, they would want a slow and impossible transition to renewables and end up failing. This is exactly what is happening now. However, people's protest may hasten option two.

There is nothing wonderful about the second option. It is actually horrible as people are not prepared for it. There will be immense suffering, large scale famines and millions of people dying. But it appears inevitable.
Essentially the first option means a slowly roasting and death of life on planet over several decades or in the second option, a relatively shorter horror, but the planet may survive. And if we prepare wisely for it the transition may not be so horrible.

A Wiser Course of Action
We have only one good and significant example of a wise course. It is that of Cuba and its 'Special Period' during 1991-1995. There is a lot of material—books and films available on the net. There is a small booklet [2] that I wrote and is available in pdf format to anyone who wants it. I think we should all study Cuba carefully and learn from it.

Cuba had one advantage which we don't have. Its government was fully involved in the transformation. So only those smaller countries, which are also very vulnerable and don't have a crony capitalist class will learn from it and benefit from it. In fact, to some extent it is already happening in Latin America. In South Asia, Nepal is closest to it. I think Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Maldives also may benefit from it.

India is too powerful and the crony capitalist class is too big. So, there is little chance that government will be able to do much. Still in some areas, like Sikkim, North East region the local governments may be able to do some good.

For rest of us, I think, we have to prepare for disaster in every way. Those of us who are aware can have several responses:
1.   Engage with government. Mobilise people, make demands directly and through political parties, trade unions and other people's organisations including women and children. This is what happening in most cases. I don't see government reacting to it in meaningful way. It will either make sham promises or if you are too radical it will punish you. The present government due to its very comfortable majority can do what it wants to do with immunity.
2.   There is another path of local action [3], but most of the people in the country will not be able to follow it. The time is too short and our dependence of fossil fuel economy is too big. Still some of the aware people are following it, mainly in rural communes. They are too few and they don't have enough people. The best thing for us may be is to join them.
3.   Those of us who can't do it, in my opinion should move to smaller towns and villages, which are less dependent on fossil fuels and try to become useful members of the community so that we can relate with the community and prepare for the crisis.

Finally, I do hope that there are better options for the people of the world and the future is not as bleak as I am presenting it. ooo

1.      Crony capitalism is an economy in which businesses thrive not as a result of risk, but rather as a return on money amassed through a nexus between a business class and the political class.—Wikipedia
2.      Cuba—Road to a Fossil Fuel Free Society by T. Vijayendra. Booklet.
3.      Global Emergency and Local Action by T Vijayendra. Booklet.
Note: I can send pdf copies of the booklets mentioned above by email to anyone who wants

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Vol. 52, No. 11, Sep 15 - 21, 2019