It's time to act like that truth is real.
October 28, 2018 4:04 PM   Subscribe

A group of campaigners called Extinction Rebellion are planning a series of escalating acts of civil disobedience in London over November as a response to a lack of action by the UK government on climate change, culminating in a Rebellion Day with a sit-in at Parliament on November 17th.

This month, the IPCC released a report warning about the dire consequences of exceeding 1.5C of global warning (previously), while atmospheric CO2 concentration currently sits at 405ppm - that is, 55ppm higher than the maximum of 350ppm recommended for us to avoid disaster.

Meanwhile, the UK is restarting fracking after a 7 year pause, and the controversial Heathrow expansion is set to go ahead.

From the Extinction Rebellion website:
We demand the UK declares a state of emergency, takes action to create a zero carbon economy by 2025, and creates a national assembly of ordinary people to decide what our zero carbon future will look like.

We are willing to make personal sacrifices. We are prepared to be arrested and to go to prison. We will lead by example, to inspire similar actions around the world. This requires a global effort but we believe it must begin in the UK, today, where the industrial revolution began.

We will not be led quietly to annihilation by the elites and politicians. We will fight their genocidal behaviour with honour, resilience, and peace, in the spirit of all those who fought for our freedoms before us. We call on everyone, regardless of your political beliefs to join us in fighting for our nation and life on earth.
In an interview with Extinction Rebellion:
In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), scientists mention that there already exists a 1 in 20 chance that the 2.2 trillion tons of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere could cause an existential warming threat. This “fat tail” scenario would mean the world experiences “existential/unknown” warming by 2100 — defined in the report as more than 5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. We cannot afford to run that risk. As one of the scientists who wrote the paper comments, “How many of us would choose to buckle our grandchildren to an airplane seat if we knew there was as much as a 1 in 20 chance of the plane crashing? With climate change that can pose existential threats, we have already put them in that plane.
And in an interview with Nils Agger, one of the organisers:
People don’t realise it is an emergency until they see other people acting as if it is an emergency. If the house is burning and you are sitting down with a cup of tea, no one would believe it is an emergency. We say it is an existential threat and behave as if it is real to convince everyone and we try to have the local government acting as if the emergency is real as well.
Over 90 scientists and others have signed a letter in support of Extinction Rebellion:
When a government wilfully abrogates its responsibility to protect its citizens from harm and to secure the future for generations to come, it has failed in its most essential duty of stewardship. The “social contract” has been broken, and it is therefore not only our right, but our moral duty to bypass the government’s inaction and flagrant dereliction of duty, and to rebel to defend life itself.
And Brenda the Civil Disobedience Penguin would surely approve.
posted by AllShoesNoSocks (32 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
 
The UK response to the need to decarbonise by2030 was to order a review of UK climate change targets, but only from 2032 onwards.
posted by biffa at 4:53 PM on October 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


Pretty much anything short of threatening to drag them out of their palaces by their hair isn’t going to move the needle at all toward the whole “continued existence of human civilization” thing,
posted by The Whelk at 5:27 PM on October 28, 2018 [3 favorites]


I admire their optimism, but as the truth begins to force itself in on a increasing number of people, the air of magical thinking seems to be growing stronger and more pervasive. My heart breaks for my kids, but at this point I don't even think terrorism directed at the major carbon emitters would be effective in breaking the spell. We are up against some hard human cognitive and cultural limits, it appears.
posted by ryanshepard at 5:53 PM on October 28, 2018 [8 favorites]


Mother nature with a pike in the conservatory.
posted by clavdivs at 6:21 PM on October 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


Pretty much anything short of threatening to drag them out of their palaces

I really hate to say it, but I think it would probably take them being actually dragged out. Unfortunately, I think history can back me up on this.

I don't really see this movement as optimistic about what it can achieve. I know someone who's going to participate, and mostly they see this as a duty, even though they realise that they probably won't get what they want. But no matter - they're still going to protest.

There's only so much individuals can do. You can cut down on, or cut out meat and dairy products. You can use public transport or cycle instead of driving. But if you live in a country where the policy has been encouraging and enabling a car-centric existence for decades (I'm not looking at any nation in particular) then moving to a low-carbon alternative is something that requires the engagement of lawmakers.
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 11:36 PM on October 28, 2018 [2 favorites]


But if you live in a country where the policy has been encouraging and enabling a car-centric existence for decades (I'm not looking at any nation in particular) then moving to a low-carbon alternative is something that requires the engagement of lawmakers.

I said it like this to an old fellow cynic:

One bacterium in the petri dish saying "I will be a responsible consumer of the sugar solution" does fuck all. It is a global problem that needs top down radical change in policy for all of us.

But then my conclusion is generally "fuck it, man, game over"... and from there encourage the consumption of wild tuna, etc., get while the getting is good because no matter what ocean is cooked. We are already circling the drain.

And I have young children.

So bravo to these guys, no matter how fucked we are, gotta do something.
posted by Meatbomb at 2:19 AM on October 29, 2018


Yeah, I think this is unlikely to get any traction at all.

The uk government is already overcommitted to “global warming” beyond any logic.

While the risk of Fracking is massively overblown.
posted by Middlemarch at 2:54 AM on October 29, 2018


The UK cannot seem to focus on anything part from Brexit at the moment - people I know who work for the government are dropping all projects apart preparing to leave the EU - That ranges from Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
posted by Mark Harris at 3:42 AM on October 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


While the risk of Fracking is massively overblown.

The fracking being done at Beckingham Marshes is very different to the Shale Fracking happening in Balcombe and in the US. It's not comparable.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:38 AM on October 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


It's amazing to me that when people ask, "what can I do about climate change," they always get the answer "you can't do anything meaningful on an individual scale; we need state-scale action." And then, when these people show up to try and create state-scale action, people say "it's never gonna work."

This is just a sophisticated way of saying "you should just lay down and die already."

Well, fuck that.
posted by ragtag at 6:15 AM on October 29, 2018 [16 favorites]


Incidentally, I disagree that individual action on climate change is useless: it is how you build knowledge, experience, connections, and moral authority. You're gonna need all of those if you want to make a difference on a larger scale.
posted by ragtag at 6:16 AM on October 29, 2018 [9 favorites]


While the risk of Fracking is massively overblown.

Do you have a link to that info that isn't the racist, fascist, bullshit-spewing Daily Mail?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:43 AM on October 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


I mean just from the URL I can see it calls environmental campaigners "zealots", so you know, fuck them.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:45 AM on October 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


I really hate to say it, but I think it would probably take them being actually dragged out. Unfortunately, I think history can back me up on this.

So who gets to decide who "them" is, and what constitutes a "palace?"

You better hope the permissability of "dragging people out of their palaces" is pretty damn well defined.
posted by lstanley at 7:53 AM on October 29, 2018


Oh, I don't know, in a region as rich with actual PALACES as the UK, you could start right there with the buildings with palace in the name.
posted by DSime at 8:01 AM on October 29, 2018


So who gets to decide who "them" is, and what constitutes a "palace?"
You better hope the permissability of "dragging people out of their palaces" is pretty damn well defined.


As I severely doubt that any of these things would be well-defined, I would say it's best to try and avoid getting to that state of affairs in the first place.
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 8:26 AM on October 29, 2018


Nb, Just because it’s the daily mail doesn’t mean it’s not true.
posted by Middlemarch at 8:26 AM on October 29, 2018


Nb, Just because it’s the daily mail doesn’t mean it’s not true.

No, but it suggests it pretty strongly. If it is true, surely somewhere with a less intense reputation for being terrible will have the information.
posted by entity447b at 8:40 AM on October 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


in a region as rich with actual PALACES as the UK, you could start right there with the buildings with palace in the name.

You’d get a small handful of royals and a much bigger crowd of National Trust employees, tourists, wedding guests and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
posted by Catseye at 8:40 AM on October 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


Fun fact: Big Ben is the name of the bell inside the clock tower.

Another fun fact: the Houses of Parliament's proper name is the Palace of Westminster.
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 8:45 AM on October 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Nb, Just because it’s the daily mail doesn’t mean it’s not true.

Which I why I stated up thread why it wasn't true.
The two types of fracking are not comparable. It's a bullshit comparison.
The article even states near the bottom that it's not same process and that shale fracking. It is full of red flag bad faith arguments.

Even if you disregard the externalities fracking (either shale or non-shale enhanced recovery) is expensive. Price per MW of shale gas is significantly higher than onshore wind and usually a little more expensive than offshore wind. It should be treated as being an end of life tech and phased out.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 9:38 AM on October 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


You’d get a small handful of royals and a much bigger crowd of National Trust employees, tourists, wedding guests and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Given that the former archbiship of Canterbury is one of the ones pioneering the 'Extinction Rebellion,' I think you'd definitely need to be a little more specifically targeted.

I'm all for this movement. Whatever we can do to wake people up to the reality of our situation, we should be doing at this point. If civil disobedience is the only method the public has to realistically influcence policy makers - then we had damn well better be milking that option.

Individuals can only control themselves and their behaviours - and any concientous person has a moral imperative to be doing this in order to live at peace with themselves - and the more people who wake up to fight for change, the more momentum will build. This is how the civil rights movement started.
posted by TruthfulCalling at 9:59 AM on October 29, 2018 [2 favorites]







As a Brit, I’m intensely relaxed about Fracking, of all the issues one can think about currently I can’t think of anyone I know for whom this campaign will even register.

Climate science at this level is a question of faith as much as science. It’s not surprising that people use the terms “zealot” on one and “denier” on the other, so it’s not surprising that most sensible people just think “a plague on both your houses” and stop reading.

While energy policy is such a mess, politically, economically and commercially and so endlessly cocked about with by politicians that talking about any of it is meaningless to anyone outside the bubble.

The idea that these actions will mobilise anyone not already ideologically committed is a bit of a joke frankly, to anyone with a job, a family and an energy bill.

The equation for most people will be - will this make my bill cheaper? Crack on, no matter what Timothy or Tabitha have to say about it.
posted by Middlemarch at 12:53 PM on October 29, 2018


As a Brit, I'm intensely worried about fracking. People across the political spectrum are united against this insanely shortsighted 'Friends of Cuadrilla's brown envelopes' policy and I'm sad to see patent nonsense from the Daily Mail being pushed here in order to justify why some sheltered folks plan to fiddle while Rome burns.

And it won't even result in cheaper bills. Suspect we'll end up spending billions in taxpayer money cleaning up the resulting aquifer pollution. Grr.
posted by doornoise at 6:13 PM on October 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm very wary about saying what "most sensible people are thinking"
That's an inherently political position. At that point it's not a question of the science it's a question of politics and it's a game that the big energy producers have been playing for decades.
Climate science is in no way a matter of faith. Climate science is real, consensus science. We KNOW that anthropogenic climate change is occurring. It's a known fact.
The only people who are trying to tell anyone different have a vested interest.

Political change isn't a matter of changing the minds of a few people at the top.
It's about getting everyone to understand that this is happening. An individual can make a difference and that difference is to make it politically unacceptable to spend billions on ekeing out the last dregs of fossil fuels compared to installing renewable energy sources.

And if what most people care about is cheaper bills then the answer sure as hell isn't fracking.
The answer is taking all those tax cuts for north sea oil exploration and all those subsidies for fracking, or coal and spend them on things which actually will lower energy bills, and that's energy efficiency, solar, wind, and tide.
Even if you care not one bit about climate change, it's by far the best economic choice. These people are taking your tax money and wasting it on pretty much the least efficient way to heat your home.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:44 AM on October 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


Humanity has wiped out 60% of animal populations since 1970, report finds. The huge loss is a tragedy in itself but also threatens the survival of civilisation, say the world’s leading scientists:
The Living Planet Index, produced for WWF by the Zoological Society of London, uses data on 16,704 populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians, representing more than 4,000 species, to track the decline of wildlife. Between 1970 and 2014, the latest data available, populations fell by an average of 60%. Four years ago, the decline was 52%. The “shocking truth”, said Barrett, is that the wildlife crash is continuing unabated.
posted by ragtag at 5:26 AM on October 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


Here's the full report (PDF): Living Planet Report 2018: Aiming higher
posted by homunculus at 11:42 AM on October 31, 2018


And then here is the latest dire scientific research report: "Startling new research finds large buildup of heat in the oceans, suggesting a faster rate of global warming." Should Metafilter have a perpetual 'climate disaster' thread, similar to the 'current politics' thread?
posted by PhineasGage at 2:03 PM on October 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


You might be interested in coming on over to the unofficial PoliticsFilter Slack and joining the #climate-change channel.
posted by ragtag at 5:09 PM on October 31, 2018 [1 favorite]




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