Very simply and to paraphrase for those of you who have so little time that you cannot spare ten minutes to scan the above Will Hutton assessment it runs like this:
“We lost and we’re all doomed”.
“The scheming right wing libertarian plutocrats have got their wicked way by plying to the people’s personal avarice rather than instill social responsibility”.
“Here’s my towel and I’m throwing it in”.
Too many of us need stuff like fast cars, foreign holidays, fighting wars, second homes and tomorrow’s new gizmos. What’s more in order to create employment for people, such that they can attempt to pay for all their apparent necessities, these services are wholly required by a modern, global society. All this needs must be underpinned by the continued extraction and burning of whatever source of fossilised carbon we can find. The efficiency of such processes seems to be increased by allocating ownership and, thus control over the use, to as few individuals as possible – the market smiles upon monopoly.
Will bemoans the European Eunion’s inability to stand up to the carbon market it had itself set up and say “Hey, you, play this game properly. We all know you’ve been cheating so we now want to spend a whole lot of money on you to make the rules fair. And then you must PROMISE to play the game properly or we shall sulk very much. See!” Instead, the European Eunion has just said “Sod it” and, presumably, went off to sulk anyway.
“Psst, hey, you, wanna buy some carbon credits. Special offer today only - we’re giving two for the price of one and, if you pay a bit extra, we’ll wait until tomorrow before we devalue them by a further 75%”. Yeah, I know, I’ve writ that before but these guys even ring me up, you know!
Clearly the mechanism ain’t working. Some of us always felt it was a pointless distraction from the reality of the modern World, in some bizzarre manner imagining that creating a new market in obscure permits would have any effect other than to hasten the decline in heavy industry in the developed world and it’s move to poorer areas where profits could be far higher when wages were so much lower. And, of course, where environmental lobbies would be easily squashed.
OK, well all that has indeed happened but now Hutton is giving the destructivist agenda extra fillip by suggesting they have won a rational debate.
“A decade long fierce fightback by the conservative right…..has struck a near fatal blow to the climate change case. CC deniers insist that the volatility in world weather patterns and the rise in temperatures evident in the rapidly melting Arctic are most likely natural phenomena and the science is wrong.” He goes on: “Or even if it is right, the better option is to adapt to climate change rather than give in to “socialism” to prevent it.”
The prominence and widespread acceptance of this stance, he reckons, is due to the geo-political constructs of today, particularly arising in the economically dominating, Anglo-Saxon centred countries, which, he seems to feel, is un-resistable. The oddly phrased title to the piece is, as far as I can see, not the threat being posed to triumph in this contest. They are saying “Burn our planet or be stuck in permanent recession”. The way out of the present collection of economic catastrophes is seen as growth through cheap carbon. Burn, burn, burn our way out of the doldrums, produce, produce, produce, consume, consume, consume, increase your debt this time to save the global economy. (Remember the same cry to restore the American economy post the terrorist attack on New York?)
So William would then have “today’s scientists ….take on the right in order to prove that climate change is man-made” which is again wrong – for several reasons
- It’s not the scientist’s role.
- Climate change is not a simple on-off switch.
- Climate change is only one of the many symptoms of the malaise.
When it boils down to it we are, once again, in “The Tragedy of Expertise”. This exploding problem of modernity is such that in order to become an expert and have your opinion valued, you have to lose any sense of perspective and objective rationality. Within an arena of expertise there is such intense internal scrutiny that you are drummed out if you do not conform and so are unable to stretch understanding beyond zones of comfort.
Thus he ends by stating “what is needed is a new [way] to do capitalism..in which enlightened self interest is hard wired into its operation. This report:
“contains instruments which…mesh with….stakeholder capitalism…to underpin a new consensus and a new narrative.”
Hastily, he ends: “There is no time to lose.”
So, we tweak stuff around a bit and it’ll all be OK?
Obviously not. This is what happened when economists led us into the Carbon Market LockIn Maze in the first place – run around for a few years, totally lost, often told “We’ll be out of here soon” but knowing you’re getting absolutely nowhere all the time. It’s not a new economy we require - it’s a new mentality which is not led by the marketplace, not led by promises of a better tomorrow but by actively creating the better place, the stable and sustainable future on a daily basis. The economies, the economics of such will emerge – they should in no way pre-form or define it.Such is the route to further disaster.