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By Santiago Sáez
Climate change is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, collective challenge humanity has ever faced. Ecologists, scientists, politicians and businessmen agree on this diagnosis. However, climate change does not occur naturally. The accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and oceans is the product of a production model with those responsible and victims. And yet, in both scientific and journalistic coverage of a phenomenon of such magnitudes, causality is very often ignored, and the focus is only on the victims and the effects.
That is the premise of Cambio Climático SA, a book edited by Nick Buxton and Ben Hayes, from the Transnational Institute think tank and the Statewatch civil rights organization and recently translated into Spanish by Fuhem. Last Thursday, Buxton presented the publication in Madrid, in which he defended his thesis that power "is shaping a world of the privileged and dispossessed in the face of the climate crisis."
In addition to Buxton, the event was attended by Erika González, representative of Ecologistas en Acción and OMAL (Observatory of Multinationals in Latin America) and was presented by the director of the FUHEM Ecosocial Foundation, Santiago Álvarez Cantalapiedra.
The event revolved around Buxton's main idea: corporate elites are preparing for a climate adaptation that does not reverse the current hegemonic system. This preparation is taking place, above all, on a military and security level.
It all started in Copenhagen
Buxton began by recounting the origin of his interest in the climate fight and its ramifications of decentralization. It all started for him in 2009, during the Copenhagen Climate Summit, where expectations of obtaining a binding international pact soared. Buxton had come to collaborate in communication functions with the Bolivian delegation. "In front of the public, they all made beautiful and committed speeches, but then, behind the scenes, I saw that they were not interested in reaching any agreement, only maintaining their hegemonic position," explained the editor.
From that point on, Buxton and his fellow editor, Ben Hayes, set out to investigate the climate preparations of corporate and military elites. And, according to the speaker, it didn't take long to find what they were looking for: companies like Shell and military institutions like the Pentagon already warned, in their internal models, that the change would cause serious geopolitical instability. But instead of minimizing the effect, they were preparing militarily for it. The message is that we are going to enter a very dangerous world, and the subtext is that we are going to need armed forces to control the situation, ”Buxton explained.
The publisher does not refer to conspiracies. In the book, as in its presentation, the protagonist is the hegemonic discourse, focused on security, as a military and social concept. “It is not a discourse of justice, but of fear, in which we are bombarded with messages about security. The argument for Trump not to remove the United States from the Paris Agreement was not social or climate justice, but the security of the country, "explained Buxton, adding that this is a dangerous speech:" Really all this is about your security, the of their profits and of the control of their territory ”.
Transnational corporate hegemony
Erika González, in turn, made a presentation on how these militarization tactics reinforce the corporate power of transnational companies, which is the object of OMAL's study. The ecologist harshly criticized the corporate social responsibility strategies of large companies, which she defined as a "face lift." In addition, González affirmed that concepts such as "green capitalism" only seek to create new business niches, without proposing the abandonment of fossil fuels and other practices that allow to minimize the effects of climate change. "No change in the system is going to be proposed that does not give benefits," said González.
The activist praised the book and stated that militarization strategies are already being reflected in the murders of environmentalists in Latin America. For Erika González, these crimes will not stop occurring, due to an increase in competition for natural resources.