T2B30: Cliden 3

The Kennedy School of Climate


Today’s newslet is an advertisement for an event I am helping organize

I am a member of an Animal Rights group called - wait for it - Animal Left. I am really excited to invite you to our first Animaleft seminar next Monday, December 14 at 7:30 PM IST/9:00 AM EST. I am moderating a very distinguished panel:

  • Kavita Krishnan is Secretary of the All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA). Krishnan is also a member of the politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (CPI-ML), and the editor of its monthly publication, Liberation. She is a women's rights activist who has publicised the problem of violence against women following the 2012 Delhi gang rape of Nirbhaya.

  • Varda Mehrotra leads India’s national federation of animal organisations, FIAPO as its Executive Director, to give form to her passion for wanting to create a world that recognises the rights of animals. Under her leadership, FIAPO has been recognised as one of the most effective animal charities in the world.

  • Sudhir Krishnaswamy is an Indian academic, administrator, and civil society activist who is currently the Vice-Chancellor of the National Law School of India University (NLSIU) and is a co-founder of the not-for-profit research trust Centre for Law and Policy Research (CLPR).

  • Clifton D’Rozario is a practicing advocate fighting for economic and social justice, and works with Manthan Law, and is also the National Secretary, All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) and the State Secretary CPI (ML) Liberation, Karnataka. Clifton has worked with and is associated with the Narmada Bachao Andolan and Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore.

If you’re interested, register here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfrPwkeKWgwtSioIe4BCsaz-aWW7WkZ5yW3qyLkQrjo4tVrzg/viewform?usp=sf_link

Also, share widely!


The Kennedy School of Climate

Being a self-advertisement, today’s newslet is the main feature and the feature is a teaser for what’s to come

Biden’s hiring choices show continuities as well as differences from Obama’s. Obama hired Rahm Emanuel as chief of staff, a man who once:

supposedly called liberals planning to press conservative Democrats to support publicly financed health insurance "fucking retards."

Biden’s Chief of Staff Ron Klain has a much warmer relationship with progressives and is seen kindly by the climate movement. From the Intercept:

Klain, while not himself a fire-breathing Sanders supporter, has always been respectful to the party’s left flank. (He is also known for a heightened level of organizational competence, a rather important trait in a pandemic.) Biden’s alternative, his close adviser Steve Ricchetti, a longtime corporate lobbyist, was passed over for the job amid progressive opposition.

Notice this Twitter thread that starts with a message from Varshini Prakash, the founder of the Sunrise Movement

and then Ron Klain retweets that message with a teaser (presumably something to do with a domestic Climate Czar):

Given his pedigree, and especially given his organizational competence, I am assuming that Klain prefers techno-managerial solutions to the climate crisis that don’t address alienation from nature and the vigilance needed to rectify that alienation.

I call that the Kennedy School of Climate, and wouldn’t be surprised if Harvard opens such a school in the next five years.

The KSC approach to climate builds upon existing socio-technical systems in response to the climate crisis, taking for granted that our present state of technical and organizational expertise is good enough — as long as there’s political will, appropriate policy frameworks are in place and competent people run the show.

My job is to take the KSC assumption seriously, present it in its most ambitious form and only after doing so can I probe its flaws. That’s a standard rule of debate in Indian Philosophy called Purvapaksa.

Q: What’s the most ambitious version of the Kennedy School of Climate?

A: It’s an organizational approach to climate.

There are, broadly, two approaches to the climate crisis. OK, three:

  1. The head-in-the-sand approach - pretend it doesn’t exist or we can ignore it because humans aren’t the cause or whatever.

  2. The organizational approach - that climate change will be solved with massive policy interventions, international treaties and cooperation and so on. Within the organizational approach, there’s plenty of room for competition, new business models and even great power rivalry.

  3. The ecological approach - climate change is a call for a dramatic shift in what it is to be human, that we need to move from economy to ecology as the fundamental principle of human existence.

I will give a hint of the ecological approach tomorrow but it feels utopian today - may not be so in thirty years!