Something I have been thinking about lately is the left’s calls for immediate cuts in carbon emissions moving to a 90% cut in emissions in the near future. This level of cuts would slow climate change and would hopefully prevent many key tipping points in the climate change saga from being passed.
What I’m interested in is the effect a 90% reduction in emissions would have on our economy. How would sectors such as agriculture and transport survive if 90% cuts were enforced and how would industries such as tourism survive any major cuts. The answer would probably be a major slowing of the entire economy and widespread job losses as entire sectors dissolved. It is highly likely that any form of large scale cuts in emissions would trigger a wide spread recession – that due to the permanent nature of the cuts would likely never end. Individuals would have to come to accept dramatic changes in lifestyle as widespread meat consumption and motorized private transport become a thing of the past.
Due to the completely interconnected nature of the global economy with each part need to prop up each other part a 90% reduction in CO2 emissions could well trigger an industrial collapse. It would reshape our entire civilization and result in changes which unimaginably to the middle class affluent west.
If 90% cuts will cripple the economy what government can be relied upon to bring these cuts about? What industries would happily go along with being phased out? How would the public react to mass job cuts and a move back to an agrarian centered economy? The reaction would of course be negative – the social upheaval caused by 90% cuts would be large enough to question the commitment of even self declared greenies. And these kinds of cuts would require massive changes in the way we live, work, and produce. Nothing as simple as a change to socialism or any other such system would be enough.
How does this affect our tactics and our strategy? I don’t know. I know that relying on the government won’t bring about any meaningful change. I also think that relying on the public to dramatically drop their standard of living would be foolish. And the kind of direct action necessary to even remotely affect our emissions would result in huge state and public sanctioned repression.
Realistically I don’t think we will see change until the public must confront climate change in their day to day lives and by this stage it will be too late. The left are being incredibly naive or deliberately misleading in their campaigning on this topic in their call for 90% cuts by not mentioning the effects of this change. We must realize that 90% cuts effectively means the collapse of industrial civilization and we should shape our strategys accordingly.