McEver Dugan & Evan Cholerton: Greta Thunberg is right – only a general strike will force action on climate change

Climate change is hurling humanity towards disaster. There is no more room to question the science, when nearly every climate scientist is in agreement that the implications of a global rise in average temperature will spell drastic changes for human civilisation. In the face of such a rapidly encroaching threat, political niceties and traditional incrementalism and compromise cannot come close to the level of change and upheaval required to solve, or even mitigate, the problem of global climate change.

Climate scientists continue to stress the importance of lowering carbon emissions significantly, yet they are currently increasing at an accelerating rate. A 2018 UN study found that unless promised emission reductions under the Paris agreement were tripled, they would cause the global temperature increase to reach 3C by 2100 and continue to rise after that. Meanwhile, some of the most influential people in the world continue to deny the very existence of climate change. Even as the relatively tame 2018 IPCC report states that we must cut our emissions in half within the next decade, people are feeling that their elected leaders, and mainstream political avenues as a whole, cannot measure up to this task.

The current ineptitude and impotency of the ruling class is unacceptable when the consequences of inaction are so far-reaching. More than ever, it is time for workers – those who will be hardest hit by soaring food and healthcare costs, and by property destruction caused by natural disasters and the rising sea – to exert their power and force the hand of major players (governments and corporations) to avert what is almost certain to be the next global mass extinction.

As such, climate activism of all types is blossoming. Greta Thunberg’s school strikes led to one of the largest global climate demonstrations in history. Extinction Rebellion has shut down major intersections in London and held events around the world. The Sunrise Movement caught the attention of the US when children in San Francisco confronted the Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein over her climate policy. Indigenous groups across the globe have been fighting tooth and nail against resource development on their ancestral lands. And Earth Strike is preparing for a global general strike on 27 September 2019.

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