James Shaw : Peddling corporate environmentalism.
Climate Change Minister James Shaw says he 'understands' the 'frustrations' of Extinction Rebellion demonstrators. But he won't be acting on its demands anytime soon.

AS EXTINCTION REBELLION demonstrators took their concerns to the streets of Wellington, Climate Change Minister James Shaw commented in a press statement that 'At a time of mass extinction and climate crisis, I can understand the frustrations that people bring out into the streets.'

James Shaw is a very 'understanding' guy. Some three weeks ago he wanted us to know that he understood the concerns of sixteen year old Greta Thunberg. He also added that 'I ask you to keep holding us to account. Keep demanding more of us.'

Extinction Rebellion would be well within its rights to say that it doesn't want any more of Shaw's 'understanding'. And they are demanding more of Shaw and the Labour-led Government.

Its demands are not complicated. There are three of them. Extinction Rebellion want a climate emergency declared, they want net carbon emissions reduced to zero by 2025 and they want the Government to establish a Citizens' Assembly that will lead and coordinate the fight against climate change.

The silence you can hear is James Shaw not responding to these demands. Indeed he has shown a marked reluctance to engage in any form of public dialogue with groups that are demanding something that deviates from his fatal and disastrous obsession with corporate environmentalism. While organisations like Extinction Rebellion recognise that radical change is required if we are to even adequately respond to the challenge of climate change, Shaw won't countenance any attempts to rock the boat. His is the centrist politics of the status quo.

Thomas Piketty : 'The illusion of centrist ecology'. 
The day before the Extinction rebellion protests Shaw was tweeting how the sales of electric cars have increased. He regards this as evidence of 'the market' responding to climate change but it is little more than squirting a toy water pistol at the approaching and engulfing fire.

Earlier this year French economist Thomas Piketty might of well of been referring to James Shaw and the Labour-led government when he wrote of the 'illusion of centrist ecology'. He observed that the 'resolution of the climate challenge' will require putting a brake on the twin motors of capitalism - the accumulation of capital and more and more growth. Greta Thunberg expressed a similar view at the United Nations.

Piketty wrote that such an overhaul would require 'a strong movement in the direction of the compression of social inequalities at all levels.'

Such structural change is necessary but it isn't being contemplated by this Labour-led Government. At the United Nations Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was talking about the 'trading opportunities' offered by global capitalism. Yesterday, instead of responding to the clear demands of Extinction Rebellion, she made a point of expressing her dissatisfaction that  the protest had temporarily forced some people having to find alternative paths to their destinations. This from the woman who claimed that climate change is the 'nuclear free moment of her generation'. Like her Climate Change Minister, Ardern has proven herself to be adept at sophistry.


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