This is based on my ‘phantasy’ blog on 14.8.2016, the first part of which is now reality.
What if there is a severe weather event before 8th June?
Roofs in London are ripped off by tornadoes, there is flooding, and the Thames Barrier is overwhelmed by a massive tidal surge. Although damage is extensive, there is no loss of life, and it is generally judged to have been a narrow escape from a much worse catastrophe. Just enough to scare the shit out of everybody.
As this happens to London, the entire nation is transfixed. The Green Party points out that it was formed to forestall this sort of thing. Better late than never, but action will of course have to be international. But we agreed all that at Paris in December 2015, didn’t we?
The General Election takes place, and the Green Party makes massive gains, mainly at the expense of climate denying Conservatives, so that there is a hung Parliament. Due to internal divisions within the Labour Party, Caroline Lucas is asked by the Queen to form an administration. One of the new intake of Green MP’s happens to be Andrew Cooper. Standing in Huddersfield he replaced a Labour MP, but his success was due to his impressive achievements in renewable energy and conservation on Kirklees Council. Caroline appoints Andrew as Renewable Energy Minister.
Of course this is wild conjecture, but I might as well tease out some other possible consquences of an event which brings home to the world, not just London, what should be the issue dominating this election.
Whilst the immediate impact on the economy may be slight, it dawns on people that more of the same, or worse will cause a recession. But it was too much economic activity which caused the event in the first place. Way back in 1974 I suggested the Basic Income to the newly formed Green Party as a way of making a planned recession feasible, since according to the1972 MIT ‘Limits to Growth’ study, if we did not, we were heading for a much worse recession due to unrestrained growth.
Meanwhile, in the USA, there is a split in the Trump adminstration on the issue of climate change. Trump has already slashed the environmental protection budget, but Rex Tillerson, Secretary of state, is against the USA withdrawing its support from the ‘Paris’ Agreement. This apparently odd fact – not conjecture – is crucial. As CEO of Exxonmobil Tillerson was responsible for aggressive dissemination of climate denying propaganda. Reprehensible, but Tillerson is not evil, or even stupid, just a pragmatic tactician. He has simply followed the logic dictated by the Tragedy of the Commons: keep competing aggressively, lie in your teeth as necessary, until the moment for a common agreement to recoil from the brink of ecological disaster.
The London event will have a sobering effect on the Trump administration. Tilleson’s strength is in organizing practical solutions, not vision. But if he is given a remit corresponding to Andrew Cooper’s in Britain, there could yet be hope that the worst can be avoided. A surprising saviour indeed.