by Thomas Cothran
Let's set aside the empirical question concerning climate change (i.e., is human activity causing dangerous weather patterns) for a moment and ask about what sort of politics under-girds the climate change movement.
I propose that the concealed political agenda behind much of climate change advocacy is, at bottom, anti-environmental. The reason behind the regulations issued in response to climate change warnings is precisely the desire to avoid real change; environmental regulations seek to preserve technological society. If we could find a new source of energy in nature, a cleaner fuel, and so on, we could maintain our environmental ideology--that nature exists primarily to be exploited by a form of industrial capitalism set free from the natural limits of human needs.
Climate change advocacy warns of an apocalypse that will end life as we know it, precisely because it seeks to protect life as we live it. As the global economy increasingly becomes driven not by the satisfactions of basic human desires but by profits abstracted from fundamental human needs, the natural limitations on industrial activity are increasingly abandoned; for profit, unlike human needs, has no upper limit.
The fundamentally violent relation of human beings to nature that regards nature primarily as a resource to be appropriated rather than as a creation that is good in itself, a thing to be safeguarded rather than assaulted, is not called into question by the climate change movement but rather sublated, concealed, made more sustainable.
Climate change advocacy therefore does not seek to end the assault on the earth, but to extend it, to make it more complete, to make it more cunning.