Everyone, it seems, is disappointed with the Copenhagen Deal drawn up by world leaders, with its promise of more money to tackle climate change and its commitment to stop the planet from warming by more than two degrees. But never mind all that. As spiked kicks off a major online debate about the future of the planet and humanity post-Copenhagen, here is our Alternative Copenhagen Deal.
#1 Hands off the human footprint
From Genesis to the Enlightenment, mankind was seen as the master of the planet. We have ‘dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and every other living thing that moves on the Earth’, said the Bible. Let’s put ‘nature on the rack’ and ‘extract her secrets’, said Enlightenment thinkers. Now we’re described as a malignant tumour, a ‘serious planetary malady’, in the words of one leading green, and our achievements – industry, cities, skyscrapers – are disparaged as the ‘human footprint’. The goal of environmentalism is to shrink this ‘footprint’, speaking to a view of humans as ultimately destructive and of our breakthroughs as gigantic follies that must be decommissioned. No way. We have not poisoned the planet; we have humanised it. And far from being shrunk, our ‘footprint’ – our 5,000-year project of taming and transforming this wild ball of gas and water – must be expanded further.
#2 Ditch the carbon calculators
Every human activity is now judged according to how much carbon it emits. Flying, working, eating, development and even reproducing – people’s decision to create new human life – are measured in ‘tonnes of CO2 emitted’. A baby is another 10 tonnes of carbon a year, we’re told; more fridges in China will add too much CO2 to the atmosphere, it is claimed. But human activity is not reducible to the number of toxins it allegedly creates. The carbon judgment on our daily activities has replaced God’s judgement – except where the God squad at least distinguished between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ activities, under the morality-lite, toxins-obsessed tyranny of original carbon sin, everything is potentially harmful. Stop carbon-calculating our lives, and let us celebrate people’s activities in human terms, recognising them as good, creative, explorative, industrious, or simply as making people happy.
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After Copenhagen: Heating up the debate about the future: (1)