Someone on Facebook pointed out that Forbes was one of the few places that got Greta Thunberg’s message about the Green New Deal. However, Forbes smoothed over the problems quite noticeably, suggesting the problems were made by the ‘left’ being political….

The Forbes author (Jeff McMahon) wrote:

The climate crisis is a universal cause [not a political cause].

Conservatives need a way to get on board. It’s difficult for them to support a policy that evokes the New Deal. And conservative opposition will relegate the Green New Deal to the realm of fantasy at least until a cataclysm arrives like the one that inspired the original New Deal.

Fair enough one might think, especially given the propensity of leading politicians and academics for travel in limousines and planes, which the author remarks on, and the problems conservatives have with responsibility towards others which the New Deal idea invokes, and which the author does not remark on.

Anyway, in her speech, Thunberg apparently said:

The science doesn’t mainly speak of ‘great opportunities to create the society we always wanted’. It tells of unspoken human sufferings, which will get worse and worse the longer we delay action….

This is not primarily an opportunity to create new green jobs, new businesses or green economic growth. This is above all an emergency, and not just any emergency. This is the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced.

So let’s be clear here, the Forbes argument is that a “green new deal” both cannot solve our problems, and politicises the problems alienating so-called ‘conservatives’….

The author is missing Thunberg’s implication that pursuing business opportunities as usual also cannot solve our problems, even if this pleases ‘conservatives.’

We might be pushed to wonder why is it that staying on the road to profit for some and destruction for most, cannot be described as political, while necessary change for survival is necessarily described as political? Perhaps the suggestion that preserving established power/wealth relations might have something to do with that, is too obvious….

However, a more important paradox is that people will not take the political action to move away from the situation we live in, if they don’t have a vision of where they are going. And it is hard to have a vision of where we are going that is not political.

To survive, we may need radical change. We probably need some form of ‘degrowth’. At the least, we probably need a change in capitalism, and ideas of ‘development’ – otherwise why would we not continue on as we are doing? Any change challenges what we have now.

Those who support the inequalities, destructiveness and comforts of the current system (and who usually call themselves ‘conservatives’), will probably never “get on board” and support doing anything useful about climate change because they are likely to see it as political, as it involves changing the arrangements we have now. The more change becomes necessary, the more they are likely to see it as politically inspired, and thus resist it….

So if action seeming to be political in conservative eyes, is to blame for us refusing to change, then we will never take positive action, because such action is inherently prone to being seen as political…

We can probably never take such people with us. So people who want to change, and who want to make change, have to go on without self proclaimed conservatives. Rather than asking for fairness, we might have to allow them to freeload, until they get the message.

We need climate generosity not climate justice.