22 July | Sebastian Smith

Climate Lockdowns: Totalitarianism In The Light Of Green Activism?

In the name of health, in the name of climate: it is evidently clearer that the mainstream establishment uses crises to remove rights and destroy democracy.

Climate Lockdowns: authoritarianism in the name of health
Mariana Mazzucato | World Economic Forum | Flickr

It appears that in times of fear, the human conscience becomes malleable and susceptible to accepting the most radical of ideas. So long as the proposed solution gives an apparent fix to the threatening problem, people will, and have been willing to accept anything and everything to help them survive, that seems to include totalitarianism. If I have learnt one thing throughout this ‘pandemic’, it’s that in times of fear, often exasperated by the mainstream media, people will not only seek authoritarianism but will beg their governments for it and will beg for any remaining rights to be removed.

Towards the start of the pandemic, I remember a common theme of people thinking we will never have lockdowns in the west, ”it will only be in China because they are controlled by communism, they have no democracy!”. Alas, they were wrong, and more ironically, it was those same people who later demanded that politicians shut down the country without vote, and without any form of democracy.

 ‘Two weeks to stop the spread’ progressed to a year and a half and counting of lockdowns, mass silicon valley censorship, protests laws were changed, vaccine passports took place, and the chase for the ‘great reset’ begun. A year gone by, and it seems that communism in the west might not be such a distant sight anymore. At least, we shouldn’t forget that all totalitarian structures are precedented on the idea of ‘protecting citizens’ from crises, and the events of the 20th century all proved that.

Noticeably, two key forms of manipulation for grasping control, it seems, would be repetition and fear. If something is repeated enough times, it transitions from a state of uncertainty to a state of “everybody knows that” therefore, it must be true. Throughout the pandemic, dissent became the enemy of mainstream journalism; laughably ‘independent’ corporations like the BBC truly showed their lack of independence when they created the same establishment stories as ITV, CNN, the Guardian, etc. Currently, in America, it is estimated that just five corporations control the majority of the mainstream media. The other form of propaganda, fear, used by the Communists and Fascists of the 20th century, succeeded on the premise of exploiting peoples fears and then taking those people rights and power to ‘protect’ them from whatever fear the authority has inflated in the first place.

Worryingly then, in April 2021, CNN – one of Americas largest broadcasting and media corporations, was caught undercover by non-profit Project Veritas,  explaining how the network worked in ‘propaganda’. In a conversation regarding Covid-19 and climate change, when asked, “why don’t you guys show the recovery rates on the death tolls, at least?”, the networks technical director explained: ”Because that’s not scary … if it bleeds, it leads”. Later he explained the shift of focus on climate change: ”they’re going to latch onto it, they’ve already announced in our office that once the public is, will be open to it, we’re going to be focusing mainly on climate.” ”Our focus was to get Trump out of office, right? Without saying it, that’s what it was, right? So now our next thing is going to be for climate change awareness.”

After the events of the ‘pandemic’, it might not seem such a controversy then, that those same media corporations and governments might want to latch onto the next crisis for power, evidently… the climate crisis. 

Whether or not this ‘climate crisis’ is as detrimental to humanity as mainstream science says, it’s worth noting the similarities in the way the climate crisis is being used as a means of causing fear. In an article written by UCL professor and economist Mariana Mazzucato for the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBSCD) titled: ‘avoiding a climate lockdown‘, she warns: 

Shifting Arctic ice, raging wildfires in western US states and elsewhere, and methane leaks in the North Sea are all warning signs that we are approaching a tipping point on climate change, when protecting the future of civilization will require dramatic interventions.

Under a “climate lockdown,” governments would limit private-vehicle use, ban consumption of red meat, and impose extreme energy-saving measures, while fossil-fuel companies would have to stop drilling. To avoid such a scenario, we must overhaul our economic structures and do capitalism differently.

Whilst it is pleasing to see some sympathy for the environment rather than just pure profit, and I do not question the writer’s authority as an economist, as with the lockdowns used to ‘tackle’ the pandemic, the word Orwellian quite humbly comes to mind. Evidently, both the solutions used to tackle the pandemic and the increasingly alarming climate crisis, directly correspond in limiting freedoms and gaining greater government authority. Lockdowns specifically required ‘non-essential’ workers to stay home at all hours, while climate activism asks people to limit their carbon footprint by decreasing transport or using more expensive or obsolete methods of transport. Mazzucato writes herself, the solutions to the major crises are interconnected.

Among the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s members’ list includes Google, Apple, Microsoft, Shell, Procter and Gamble, Unilever, Nestle, PepsiCo, BMW, Toyota, Volkswagon, Chevron, GlaxoSmithKline, Bayer, Bloomberg and many other mass food, energy and technology companies. I often wonder why companies like Apple, who place suicide nets around their sweatshops in China, have suddenly taken a liking to ‘stopping disinformation online’ and ‘protecting the environment.’

According to a study by Nature.com, carbon dioxide emissions dropped throughout lockdowns by about 2.6bn tones, but researchers said reductions of at least 1bn metric tones per year are what is needed to succeed goals in accordance with the Paris agreement. This would be equivalent to a lockdown every two years.

To further the urgency for climate action, some academics have also called for the need to add ‘climate change’ to death certificates. According to Dr Arnagretta Hunter, from Australian National University: ”Climate change is a killer, but we don’t acknowledge it on death certificates”… “If you have an asthma attack and die during heavy smoke exposure from bushfires, the death certificate should include that information.” 

We can make a diagnosis of disease like coronavirus, but we are less literate in environmental determinants like hot weather or bushfire smoke.” 

The university also pointed to figures that show over the past 11 years, ‘340 deaths in Australia were recorded as being due to excessive heat’, but alternative analysis ‘found 36,765 deaths could have been attributed to heat.’ With figures like this, extreme authoritarianism as seen with the pandemic becomes easily plausible.

For governments, increasing taxes has also proved efficient. According to the Office for National Statistics, the UK government borrowed a wild £299bn from April 2020-21, which lies highest since 1946. It has since been announced that the problem is to be resolved by increasing corporation taxes from 19% to 25%. Well, that’s just that then, lest we forget that they also have the climate card to play. In a plan called decarbonising transport, written by transport minister Grant Shapps, the MP lays out the plan to tax carbon-emitting vehicles and potentially introducing carbon flight taxes which would see aviation and transport fairs go up. The document also states that VET taxes, which are currently exempt for electric vehicles, maybe back in place by 2025.

Speaking of Orwellian, some academics have also proposed ‘carbon rationing’ as an appropriate solution to climate change. The system would see individuals given a certain weekly limit of how much carbon they are allowed to use and thus track their output.  One initiative, appropriately funded by the EU, lies an app called CitiCap, where users input their daily use of transport, energy use, and other necessities and are then advised how much more ‘carbon points’ they are allowed to spend. In an interview with the BBC, one CitiCap user says: 

“I have mainly travelled around by bike, public transport and walking before even using CitiCap, so it hasn’t really changed my daily routine, “however, now I try to avoid private car even more than before.”

‘If she has any credits left by the end of the week, she can exchange them for gifts like coffee or a free bike tune-up in participating businesses. Her journeys are automatically tracked by the app, and she only needs to manually input details such as how many passengers she is with if she is travelling by car.’ -BBC

In 2008, the home office of the British government proposed plans to introduce carbon rationing as a way of tackling climate change. After the then Labour party home secretary David Miliband changed roles, the plans were abandoned. However, some activists still propose mandating the use of ‘universal carbon credits’ as a means of restricting peoples carbon output. 

According to Adam Hardy, the founder of CarbonWatchdog.org, carbon rationing would work on the premise of legislating carbon credits as a ‘second currency’. According to the organisation, carbon rationing would be done with a potential digital currency called Universal Carbon Credits ‘UCCs’, whereby each citizen in the country would be allocated a certain budget of credits they can use per month. These credits would then be overseen by a ‘central carbon authority’, which would gradually tighten how many carbon credits each person is allocated as to influence lower carbon living.

‘UCCs would flow through the economy as a second parallel currency. It affects every product or service which exists and is for sale, requiring two figures on the price tag – a normal price tag in local currency – $, £, €, ¥ etc – and UCCs in tonnes and kgs of carbon.’ 

These are the extents to which activism will go. The unsaid consequences of such a lifestyle, of course, are that governments once again have more control over how people live their lifestyle, how many journeys they take, what products they purchase.  Imagine a world of lockdowns every two years, continuous solutions that encompass restricting civilian rights and increasing taxation. It’s about time that the people of the world ask an increasingly important question: what is too far? The events of the past year at one time would have been ‘too far’, but in the name of health, in the name of climate, anything could be made plausible.

The great reset, health passports, climate lockdowns, carbon rationing? Two years ago, some of these ideas would have sounded ludicrous to legislation, but after the events of the past year, it is clear that anything can be done in the name of ‘protecting citizens’. So before we end up giving too much power to the government, let’s think about how often governments choose to give our power back. Some of these threats are real, but let’s use democracy and freedom to dictate their outcome. That might come with consequences, but the consequences of giving governments all our power could be far more detrimental.

“The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions. In this way, the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed.” – Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf 

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