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Global Warming as aCataclysmic Horizon of History. Grade 1: The Antechamber to Hell
In recent weeks, a new report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been released, stating, among other things, that the threshold of irreversible and catastrophic global warming is about a decade away. This report, presented in South Korea, states that several of the effects previously associated with a two-degree Celsius increase in global temperature would actually occur at just a 1.5-degree increase. According to this agency (very often criticised for its conservatism in referring to the dangers associated with the climate crisis), this level of global warming would be reached during the 2030s. As a recent BBC World article points out, referring to the possible effects of exceeding this barrier:
"The total extinction of coral reefs, ten million more people exposed to flooding, fewer and fewer areas suitable for growing cereal crops (...) A difference of just half a degree Celsius would have devastating consequences for our planet, making it increasingly urgent to limit global temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned on Monday. And time to act is running out, says the IPCC's latest report, which has been described as "a last call" to save the Earth from imminent catastrophe. In fact, according to the report, we are currently on track for a 3°C rise, well above the 2°C maximum envisaged by the Paris Agreement on climate change." ("Why 2030 is humanity's deadline to avoid global catastrophe", BBC Mundo).
Global warming surpassed the first degree increase over pre-industrial times a few years ago, with an increment of between four and six degrees Celsius predicted for the end of this century. But what does an increase of one, two, four or six degrees Celsius over the next few decades mean in concrete terms, and what might be the relationship between these levels of warming, the historical process and the viability of traditional anti-capitalist strategies? This question is not of minor importance. On the contrary, if the fact that global warming and the ecological crisis have already become the main threat to the survival of the exploited classes, civilisation and our species as a whole is considered, it represents then, as we shall see throughout this article, a life and death dilemma for any project of revolutionary transformation.
For now, we can state the following: the current dynamics of climate change and ecological crisis would pose during the 21st century the danger of a catastrophic horizon of history unprecedented since the origin of the first Neolithic societies, developed in the context of the environmental transformations which characterized the transition between the Pleistocene and the Holocene. Among other things, this catastrophic horizon would be associated today both with a potential (unprecedented) phenomenon of slowdown, decline and abrupt fall in the development of productive forces worldwide, as well as with the possible disintegration in the medium and long term of the contemporary class structure and of the pillars of modern civilisation. All this possibly associated to a probable event of fulminant extinction of our species. In programmatic terms, this would mean for anticapitalist organizations the opening of a period of "strategic uncertainty" characterised by a growing expiration of the anti-capitalist programmes of the 19th and 20th centuries (for example Marxism or Anarchism in its various variants), based to a large extent on a dependence on the productive schemes of the industrial era and the central role of fossil fuels in the economic process. An example of this would be the progressive uselessness of some of the main reivindications of such programmes (among others workers' control of production) to offer an integral solution to the future sufferings of the human population in a scenario of super catastrophic environmental change. The latter (as said) due to the structural collapse of the productive forces that the climate crisis would bring with it. (Continue reading in the link below).
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