November: pitfalls are already appearing for ‘XR’ at less than six months old

Report from our climate correspondent, Iain Aitken, on the proceedings of Extinction Rebellion’s UK conference at their Marxmount Hall of Truth Headquarters, Hampstead, London, England


Standing beneath a vast banner proclaiming, ‘97% OF SCIENTISTS AGREE: THE CLIMATE CATASTROPHE IS HAPPENING AND WE ARE ALL GUILTY’, the General Secretary of Extinction Rebellion, Ron Lickspittle, called the meeting to order and introduced the Secretariat on stage with him, Comrade Reginald Tinpot, Secretary for Virtue Signalling, Comrade Dolores Barking, Secretary for Climate Consciousness Raising and Comrade Zak Swivel, Secretary for Denial Deplatforming.

The General Secretary began by announcing the conference competition in which delegates would pick a value for how many years we had left to prevent the coming Climate End of Days. At the end of the conference those who had picked the same value as that randomly generated by the XR computer would win XR teeshirts made from recycled climate change deniers. Here the General Secretary explained that the recycled bit was a joke, to the obvious disappointment of many delegates in the hall.

He then proceeded to list the Ten Demands on the British Government that had been agreed by the XR Central Committee in closed session:

  1. The government must commit to a legally-binding commitment to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions in Britain by 2025. This could create as much as a one hundredth of a degree Centigrade of global warming mitigation, a powerful, albeit undetectably small, symbol of our global climate leadership.
  2. Britain to be declared a Climate Change Free Zone from 2025 onwards.
  3. The British Had CRUT4 temperature records must be immediately corrected to match the observed reality in the climate models. For too long Britain has fallen behind NASA in America in such crucial data harmonization.
  4. The adoption of a compulsory daily ‘Five for Five’ session in which the people of Britain will spend five consecutive minutes without exhaling. The saving in carbon dioxide emissions from this alone would delay the coming Climate End of Days by an estimated 5 minutes.
  5. Compulsory weekly lessons for all school pupils in the catastrophic impacts of man-made climate change and the coming Climate End of Days (with means-tested counselling and sedation for traumatized children).
  6. A year’s free supply of multi-use, carbon-free condoms for all citizens signing up to the BirthStrike No Child Policy (Terms & Conditions apply).
  7. The immediate instigation of a nationwide Climate Inquisition with a year’s forced labor burying carbon for all citizens refusing to take the Oath of Allegiance to Extinction Rebellion.
  8. The questioning of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming by climate dissidents and reactionaries to be made a Crime Against Humanity, punishable by non-violent liquidation.
  9. The issuing of a formal apology from Britain to the world for the creation of the Industrial Revolution, with its consequential vast increase in wealth, the wealthiest people on Earth being the biggest carbon polluters.
  10. The erection in London of a Tomb to the Unknown EcoWarrier, to be sited at a location determined to cause the maximum traffic disruption.

Every demand received a standing ovation from the delegates and a chant of ‘Hear the Truth! Hear the Truth!’, temporarily drowning out the sounds of the street battles raging outside the hall between the militant wings of the Our Michael Mann Fan Club and the Gas-Guzzlers’ Liberation Front.

The General Secretary demanded, rhetorically, to know what global warming had ever done for us in Britain. From the floor one delegate called out, ‘Well, in fairness, it has extended the growing season so it’s been good for agriculture.’ Another added, ‘And of course we haven’t had to heat our houses and offices as much so that’s reduced our carbon emissions.’ ‘Good point, comrade,’ said a third, ‘And cold weather kills more than hot so net-mortality has improved.’ ‘Yes, yes,’ cried the General Secretary, ‘but this improvement in our climate has created an emergency because if it continues to get better it will inevitably get worse and lead to the coming Climate End of Days!’ This was greeted with a standing ovation from the delegates and a chant of ‘Hear the Truth! Hear the Truth!’

At this point the conference was interrupted by the tragic news of the collision between Greta Thunberg’s yacht Publicity Stunt 3 with the Greenpeace ship Woke Warrier 4, the only survivor being Greta herself owing to her previously undetected ability to walk on water. On a Point of Order Comrade Swivel proposed petitioning the British Government to remove the statue in London’s Parliament Square of the imperialist warmonger Winston Churchill, replacing it with one of Saint Greta. The motion was carried unanimously.

The conference then broke up into working groups preparing lists of Climate Enemies of the People to be published in the first edition of Extinction Rebellion’s forthcoming national newspaper, provisionally entitled Pravda (The Truth).

Following the traditional linking of arms and rousing singing of ‘We’ll Keep the Green Flag Flying’ the day closed with a spirited two hour performance from the Multiracial Outreach Non-Gender-Specific LGBT Equal People’s One World Carbon Neutral Street Dance Theatre Company of East Tooting who interpreted the climate apocalypse in mime.

At the end of the day’s proceedings I was granted an interview with the General Secretary. I started by asking him how, with the only statistically significant change to Britain’s climate being a slight warming since the nineteenth century and there having been no warming in over a decade it made sense to decide that this constituted a ‘climate emergency’ for our country. Sighing melodramatically he explained that whatever happened in the past was irrelevant and I was presenting a classic case of false climate consciousness, the essential problem being my failure to comprehend that just half a degree of further warming would be catastrophic.

‘But,’ I pleaded, ‘no climate scientist has ever said such a thing.’

He shook his head sadly. ‘You need to understand that scientists are frightened about the public’s panic if the full and terrifying truth was revealed to them. And those scientists who nevertheless dare to do so find their voices drowned out by the overwhelming forces of climate change denial in the media. The truth is revealed to us in the predictions of the climate models. These make it clear that there could be up to 80C of warming of the British climate by the end of the century!’ I agreed but pointed out that such extreme ‘could be up to’ values needed virtually impossibly high levels of carbon dioxide emissions globally and virtually impossibly high climate sensitivity to those emissions. ‘There you are!’ he cried, banging the table with his fist, ‘On your own admission our emissions could bring about a climate apocalypse! If we fail to repent our carbon-profligate ways then the Climate End of Days will be upon us!’

Managing to suppress a reflexive cry of ‘Hear the Truth!’ I moved on to point out that even before the new Ten Demands from the Central Committee the current net-zero emissions commitment of the UK Government would probably devastate the UK economy, not to mention its landscape and wildlife. With economists talking about a global economic recession being around the corner, coupled with the economic hit of Brexit, wouldn’t decarbonization be the last straw for our country?

‘On the contrary!’ he laughed. ‘A sustained economic recession would mean soaring unemployment and falling incomes meaning we buy less stuff meaning less stuff is made meaning lower carbon dioxide emissions! A sustained recession would be wonderful for Britain and a depression even better. Now it’s true that the bourgeoisie of Britain would probably initially doubtless balk at the higher taxes, the soaring energy and food costs, the meat supertax, the car mileage rationing, the ban on flying, the frequent long power blackouts, the compulsory installation of smart thermostats for central government control of home and office temperatures, the smothering of the so-called countryside by wind and solar farms, and so on – but they would come to joyfully accept all this when their climate consciousness was raised such that they understood that these small inconveniences could delay the Climate End of Days by, well, days. Yes, some reactionaries might say that this constituted a pointless and futile sacrifice of our country on the altar of the climate catastrophism cult – but what a magnificent sacrifice it would be! Furthermore when the nations of the world see our shining example of what a decarbonized economy looks like they will inevitably rush to follow our guiding light!’

At this point we were plunged into darkness as a result of a power failure at a wind farm due to the wrong kind of wind blowing and so my interview unfortunately had to be terminated.