Translated from this post by Benoît Rittaud:
The dream of environmental dictatorship is being expressed more and more openly, and the normal social safeguards no longer work. Take this headline to an interview with climatologist François-Marie Bréon in Libération, 29/07/2018: “The Battle for the Climate conflicts with Individual Freedoms.”
This title alone might suggest a critical assessment of some new ecologically punitive law. Alas, it is quite the opposite: in order to fight against climate change, the interviewee appears to be in favour of a restriction of individual liberties.
What’s most disturbing is that he can do so in a national newspaper without raising an uproar. The complete sentence from which the title is taken is even clearer: “We can say that the battle against climate change is in conflict with individual freedoms and therefore with democracy.”
In hearing this assertion, does the journalist take a step back to consider the import of such an obviously dangerous statement? Not at all. Having established that the question of democracy and individual liberties is of secondary importance, the interview goes straight on to attack the grave issue of energy-consuming air conditioning – obviously the mother of all vices.
We can reassure ourselves by saying that this interview is just one more silly season article to fill newspapers in need of copy, and that all this will disappear in the first frost. But one can also see there the illustration of a worrying fragility in our social institutions, which remain silent when faced with a call to institute what one might call a climatorship.
The climatorship is progressing slowly but surely, with no popular resistance. Three years ago, Cécile Duflot [ex head of the Green Party] proposed inscribing the fight against climate change in the constitution. Nobody paid attention. The current constitutional reform is preparing to satisfy her desire dramatically; the very first article of the Constitution will be disfigured with a mention of the “fight against climate change.”
Who questions the desirability of such a modification? No one. Where is the constitutionalist to remind us that our fundamental law does not exist to promote ecological virtue signaling, but to organize the distribution of powers? Nowhere.
The fact is that we have lost all collective capacity to conduct a normal climate debate. Everyone is paralyzed by the fear that the slightest questioning of the climate orthodoxy or its implications (energy transition, environmental policy, climate diplomacy, etc.) will immediately be labelled as ignorance, selfishness, or even denialism.
Is it too late to return to normality, or is it only a matter of time before the introduction of a climatorship that would barter our basic liberties “for the good of the planet”? Can we begin by allowing everyone to exercise their critical spirit, without immediately throwing an accusation of Trumpery in their faces? Can we also agree that that the title of climate scientist no longer offers moral protection to those who display their will to attack our values.
Whether our world is getting warmer or not, and whether we are responsible for it or not, we have the inalienable right to remain free.