An open letter to Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish woman who has been involved in the climate emergency and who has achieved a surprising international reputation.
We take Greta’s anger seriously, but we call on her to go to the end of this anger, to realize that it is impossible to hear the scientific alarm on the climate without questioning the very rules of the economic and political system, without questioning capitalism, and that for that to happen, it is necessary without hesitation to organize to wage a political battle for another society.
For several months now, you have been leading a young and new way for the climate, from a strike at school in press conferences, from meetings with parliamentarians to your sailing trip to New York.
You are right to denounce inequalities on the planet, between countries and between the rich and the others. You’re right to conclude that we need to change the system....
«Our biosphere is being sacrificed so that the rich in countries like mine can live in luxury. It is the suffering of the greatest number that pays for the luxury of the fewest. And if solutions within the system are impossible to find, perhaps we should change the system itself»
You also point out one of the essential aspects of the existing system and what could replace it by opposing competition and cooperation.
«We need a new way of thinking. The political system that you adults have created is only competition. You cheat as soon as you can because all that matters is to win. We must cooperate and share what remains of the planet’s resources in a fair way.»
And yet, you express a surprise
«Everyone keeps saying that global warming is an existential threat, that it is the most important problem of our time, but everyone continues to act as before. I don’t understand»
That’s why we’re writing this open letter to you. You must have had quite an experience these last few months!
We become the dreadful simply because we quote these scientific facts. We are the object of mockery, insults and lies.
Originally, you probably had the impression that your commitment was not partisan, in the political sense, that it was aimed at everyone and that it was in the general interest. The media attention you have received has undoubtedly reinforced this feeling that your fight was totally legitimate and therefore indisputable.
And yet, it has been challenged in many ways. From climate skeptics like Trump with their eyes fixed on oil stock prices to experienced politicians looking for ways to differentiate themselves in the media. And you discovered the violence of a political struggle in this media world of low blows, insults and lies.
You may also have understood that many of those who said they supported you did so only to take advantage of the media wave you represented, simply seeking to give themselves a young and consensual image by using you as a media decoration.
Yes, climatology is a science, related to others, geology, biochemistry, astronomy, physics... But no scientific position can replace politics! Politics consists in organizing our collective life, its social, economic and geopolitical challenges that no science really describes.
In any case, we hope that you are better able to measure today that an essential issue in any political struggle is to choose with whom to fight this battle, on what terrain, with what means.
So we all understand your search for a fossil-free way to get to New York. But doing so on a luxury sailboat financed by the Prince of Monaco pits climate emergency against social emergency. Obviously, not everyone can take a luxury sailboat trip financed by a prince. And no one speaks of its carbon impact on its rock of Monaco, city for very rich with helicopters and luxury boats ...
Greta, we invite you to read the scientific studies that compare the carbon intensity of the different countries to realize the great differences that exist between your country, Sweden, the country with France which is the least carbon-intensive, and the USA or worse the new economic powers of India or China.
This shows that we cannot say the same thing everywhere. In Sweden or France, a resident emits half as much carbon as a German or a Polish, four times less than in the United States!
Scientists clearly tell us that we must get out of a fossil economy, but they do not tell us how! For the climate emergency, we must therefore engage in the political debate on solutions. The wind energy so praised as green energy is the electrical energy that consumes the most concrete and metals per KW installed. Electricity treated as a publicly traded commodity leads to outliers in negative prices, inconsistent investment and dangerous instability in the networks.
The choice of solutions must be a democratic, citizen’s choice and certainly not a commercial choice based on private interest. This is why the communists consider that we cannot face the climate challenge without urgently questioning the domination of our institutions by major private interests.
This is the meaning of the debate that the communists of Vénissieux near Lyon are organising on 4 and 5 October next. We would be happy if your movement could be represented.