The Green Deal
There’s a political and scientific movement diabolising CO2. CO2 has been portrayed as the modern day evil.
The European Commission defines the Green Deal as a set of proposals to make the EU’s climate, energy, transport and taxation policies fit for reducing net greenhouse gas.
One could say that with the Green Deal, the European Commission blames GHG (greenhouse gasses) but mostly CO2 (carbon dioxide) on everything that goes wrong on the planet.
But what is carbon dioxide exactly? It’s a molecule made of 1 atom of carbon and 2 atoms of oxygen. Has our civilisation come to a point that we need to blame molecules and atoms? Seriously?
CO2 is a not a devil as we need it for several reasons. CO2 is indispensable for life on earth. The human respiration relies on CO2 and it maintains our blood PH. CO2 enables our earth to be liveable for humans as it traps heat and avoids earth of becoming too cold.
Carbon dioxide is not the cause of the problem; it’s the consequence of the problem.
The Real Problem of Climate Change
The real problem of climate change is not carbon dioxide or climate change denial, it’s our lifestyle and more specifically, our unwillingness or inability to change our own life pattern and style. Let me re-phrase this: It’s our quality of life; our unwillingness or inability to change our quality of life.
Our quality of life is the source of CO2 and pollution; our quality of life is incompatible with sustainability.
Everyone is in favour of a more sustainable world and less pollution but people make abstraction of the real changes it could have on their lives.
When you explain what it really means to go full speed on sustainability …. no more fast fashion, food, consumption, cars, travel, …. replace single use with reusable, replace all processed with natural, replace all luxurious with casual, …. replace all spontaneous consumption with reasonable and necessary purchases.
The first reaction most people have is …. life will become boring; and most people don’t want to give up on their convenient lifestyle even if it comes at a certain environmental cost.
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”Leo Tolstoy
Natural and Cultural Climate Change
Many people agree that our climate is changing. There are two causes for climate change: natural and cultural (man made).
Our planet is billion of years old and our climate has been changing for millions of years even before human presence on earth. Our planet is a ball of magma speeding across our solar system and the movement of that magma is probably the single most important factor to explain the climate and ocean activity on our planet. The earth magnetic field and polarity is probably caused by that liquid magma.
Magnetism and polarity involve positive and negative poles; or as we have called them the North and South pole.
There a two things that we need to know: there’s difference between the magnetic and geographical poles, and they change over time.
Once in so many thousands of years the polarity of our planet switches. The geographical north has been the south and alternatively the north magnetic pole thousands of times. And when that change happens, the oceans are displaced and this is what mythological and religious literature have referred to as cataclysms.
And cataclysms are a bigger threat to humanity than greenhouse gasses.
Banning Climate Change Denial
Many people agree with the claim that human activities influence climate.
I think that …. Human industrial and commercial activities have been disrupting all the planetary eco-systems.
However, I do believe that freedom of speech and right of opinion are more important than being scientifically correct.
It’s everyone’s ‘s right to agree or disagree with the concept that human activities are solely responsible for climate change.
However, I disagree with the fact that our individual rights could be reduced to stop climate change.
Our individual freedoms and rights are more important than any other rights and freedom.
Let me extrapolate this – politicians have no right to reduce our basic individual rights … such as our right to physical integrity, freedom of speech, right of opinion, right of movement and consumption, right to be informed … to stop climate change because this would be authoritarianism. Politicians cannot lock us down at home to reduce our carbon footprint.
The people should decide for themselves. If the people are not educated enough to take the decision, well then they should be educated. But always allow open debate because people have the right to be informed on all their options.
Production vs Consumption
Theoretically, we can work on the “consumption” or on the “production” side to tackle CO2 emissions.
The European Commission wants to focus on the production side and this is known as the Circular Economic model. To make it short, they want to replace fossil feedstock with non-fossil feedstock.
The European Commission believes that a circular economy will solve our GHG emissions problem. It’s a bit naïve and a bit “greenwashy”:
- Our dependency on fossil feedstock is too important;
- Replacing fossil feedstock with non-fossil feedstock will shift the environmental impact on other environmental assets such as farmlands, soils and forests;
- The circular economy relies too much on intensive agriculture which is a calamity for our soils, forests and oceans;
- Too much focus is placed on CO2 while we’re dealing with many other environmental calamities. We have already crossed the “no return” line regarding the destruction of our planet; and GHG emissions is just a chapter in this book.
- What about an EU carbon tax?
They intend to discourage “consumption” by taxing carbon. However, this is a bourgeois attitude because people are not socio-economically equal. A carbon tax is not equal: it will weight heavier on the poor than on the rich.
- What about Green Subsidies?
The European Commission takes tax money from EU citizens and redistributes it as “green” subsidies to industrial concerns.
This is corporatism or as the German called it during last century: fascism. Fascism is the involvement of agro-industrial and industrial concerns in the decision-making process of the state. It’s creating a fourth corporate pillar, next to to legislative, executive and judicial pillar of the State. The current power of lobbying and public affairs is corporatism.
And let’s not forget, Ladies and Gentleman, that it was Adolf Hitler who wanted to create that fourth pillar. It was his vision of society.
Corporatism is a dangerous tendency as it involves giving political power to entities who do not abide to electoral or democratic processes.
The European Commission should not forget that their main goal should be to “create prosperity for all the people” instead of creating prosperity for some industrial concerns.
Maybe, the real motivation of the European Commission is somewhere else and CO2 is just a sacrificial lamb.
There are other factors and interests that play a role in the strategic vision of the European Commission; such as
- Geopolitics: to create independency from oil and gas exporting countries;
- Corporatism: to give more importance to corporations than individuals.
- Agricultural subsidies – increase the subsidies for the agro-industrial concerns which have been heavily criticised under the current “corrupt” CAP (Common Agricultural Policy).
- Space Conquer should rely on renewable feedstock; fossil fuel is not an efficient resource to conquer space, we’ll need other feedstock than fossil fuel as it cannot be produced on a space ship.
We could say that the European Commission is being naïve or not being transparent and honest.
Or maybe the European Commission has become a bourgeois institution living in an ivory tower … completely disconnected from the real life of the real people.
Consumption is the driver of our economy and Western civilisation as a whole. Welfare is measured in economic growth and economic growth is mostly influenced by demand and supply … consumption and production.
Consumption is more than just an economic act, it’s an existential act. It makes us who we are as individuals. It differentiates us from each other. It enables us to live and survive in today’s world. It gives us our place in society. It defines who we are as a person.
In the West, we’re all used to a certain level of comfort, convenience and to some extend luxury. Let’s call it as it is: we have a bourgeois lifestyle. Nobody is going to complaint about it because it’s great.
It was John F Kennedy and the Consumer Bill of Rights who initially established four basic consumers rights; the right to safety, the right to be informed, the right to choose, and the right to be heard.
The European Commission has no legal mandate to reduce our consumption rights; or to remove our right to be informed and our right to choose.
The European Commission is not a European Government …. it’s just a commission. The European Commission should do what the European people tell them to do …. our democratic aspirations…. the European Commission shouldn’t tell the people what to do.
Most European citizens have taken democracy for granted and many citizens have given up on democracy in the sense that it doesn’t bother or interest them anymore.
Who’s fault is it? I don’t know. Maybe it’s a vicious circle, political debate have become too boring or complex for average people and most people do not recognize themselves in today’s politicians.
Today’s politicians and political institutions are perceived by most EU citizens as the emanation of a bourgeois ruling class.
Politicians and political institutions should be reminded that they are at the service of the people … It’s not the people who are at the service of the politicians.
Sometimes, I have the impression that top EU public officials and politicians consider themselves as superior to the rest of the population.
Our western societies are bourgeois societies and this is OK; in fact it’s a bit more than OK; it’s the culmination of our civilisation. There’s nothing wrong with a bourgeois society as it’s mild and kind with its members. It’s an enjoyable lifestyle. It may well be the best socio-economic model ever been developed.
However, bourgeoisie is a pejorative word when it relates to political institutions.
And the European Institutions (Commission and Parliament) have become bourgeois institutions; and this is not acceptable as it indicates a “class struggle” and a politically dominant class.
Bourgeoisie may be a great lifestyle but our institutions have to reflect the majority of the population; and most of the populations doesn’t belong to the haute bourgeoisie.
Our institutions should be honest, people-oriented and above all efficient. The European Commission and Parliament are none of the above.
The younger generation seems to be aware of climate change and involved in some kind of social movement. It could be compared to the Hippy movement during last century. I like it because it’s a noble cause.
However, when you listen to today’s teenagers … they want everything. They would rather have 10 gifts on their birthday than just one gift.
They want mobile phones, fast fashion, fast food, travelling, fast entertainment. They want it all. But isn’t that in contradiction to a more sustainable world that they are demanding?
The problem is that when you have tasted the western lifestyle, it’s hard to give up on your personal comfort, convenience, your right to consume whatever you want, whenever you want.
And that’s OK because we are humans. We deserve comfort and convenience. We deserve to have an easy life as this is the culmination of our human evolution.
We’re not perfect; and we need to remember that inperfect beings cannot create a perfect society.
I’m waiving a red flag here as an EU citizen. The European institutions have been misdirected. They have become bourgeois institutions, a platform for privileged people.
But what about the average people in the street? What about the homeless people living in cardboxes at the door of the European Parliament?
Instead of telling us what to do, why don’t the EU institutions lead by example?
Why don’t they reduce the carbon footprint of MEPs by getting rid of the second parliament in Strasbourg as the unnecessary travel between Brussels and Strasbourg is a carbon footprint nonsense.
Is having two Parliaments even compatible with the Green Deal?
You know what the European Parliament would say: We can’t do that. We need two Parliaments due to historical and practical reasons.
Well you know what the average EU citizens would say ? We don’t need a Green Deal. We need to keep our prosperity and lifestyle due to historical and practical reasons.