'Saving the Planet' vs Saving the Working-Class
See, the liberal discourse about taking action to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the name of ‘saving the planet’ isn’t much more than a moralistic argument without basis in reality. The planet’s going to be just fine. Carbon dioxide levels have fluctuated wildly over the last 4-and-a-half billion years, with various forms of life flourishing for nearly all of its known history. Anthropogenic climate change is actually all about class.
Transitioning to a sustainable society is really about averting a 2 degree global increase in average temperatures above pre-industrial levels - which would result in the desertification of much of the middle latitudes of the planet, the infertility of much of the world’s agricultural land, and the catastrophic mass migration or starvation of a great proportion of much of Earth’s poorest inhabitants. This is unavoidably a class issue - the wealthiest inhabitants of even the most disastrously effected underdeveloped nations in Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia have the means to insulate themselves from the effects of climate change through migration or the creation of enclaves, whilst the toiling masses of subsistence farmers, poor labourers and industrial workers have no such luxury.
When viewed from this point of view, those who deny climate change are not, as liberal political discourse would have it, ‘stupid’ or ‘badly informed’. They are making a deliberate choice conditioned by class allegiance. Those with a vested interest in preserving the carbon-based economy make a cold economic calculation, rooted in the direct logic of capital accumulation: costs sunk into the behemoth industry of the oil economy - from trillions-worth of plant material to the incalculable political infrastructure buttressing dictatorial oil-rich regimes across the globe - must be recouped, locked in place as they are by a labyrinthine network of debt obligations and banking compacts within and between Third World nations and the developed West. It is therefore utterly unsurprising that climate deniers place the profits of a tiny group of oil barons, shadowy shareholders and political stooges above the interests of the vast majority of the working-class people of the world.
All the objectively correct science and liberal moral arguments in the world will not convince climate change deniers to change their positions - since their wealth depends on the contrary. It cannot be overstated: climate change is an economic problem. Climate change is a class problem. It demands economic and political solutions based on the interests of workers across the world.