Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Climate Crisis or the Crisis of Climate Politics?

By Andre Pusey and Bertie Russell
Institute for Anarchist Studies

The threat of an impending climate crisis has rightly dominated the headlines over recent years – unabated carbon emissions, alongside peak oil, are leading us to a bleak, even apocalyptic scenario. In addition to this we are experiencing a crisis of neoliberalism, where the restructuring of capital is finding ways to exploit (and hence worsen) the ecological collapse it has fomented. Both in the UK and worldwide, we have seen the emergence of movements aiming to tackle climate change. These movements embody a politics that appears to cross the political spectrum, but in fact all gravitate around a single apolitical space, or as Steven has termed it, a “post-political space.”

As the UN prepared to meet for the COP15 in Copenhagen, we found our movements in a state of political crisis. Dominated by methodologies that rely on an emerging carbon consensus as the basis of their (a)politics, movements such as the Camp for Climate Action find themselves powerless to engage with the decentered problem of climate change. There is an urgent need to reassess climate change in terms of power and productive relations, and to move beyond the single-issue environmentalism that has isolated climate change as the preserve of a specialist eco-activist vanguard.

This essay understands the COP15 and its aftermath as a potential for revealing and overcoming the schizophrenic tension of environmental movements. We point towards the emerging climate justice movements as an opportunity to move beyond the post-political towards an antagonistic politics of the commons.

Read this article at The Institute for Anarchist Studies website.

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