Mücahit Gültekin: "Anthropocene era and the Paris Agreement: Who will bear the cost of global warming?"

Mücahit Gültekin: "Anthropocene era and the Paris Agreement: Who will bear the cost of global warming?"
Date: 24.9.2021 17:00

Milli Gazete columnist Mücahit Gültekin writes on Anthropocene era and global warming. Here is the full article.

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Global warming has been on the agenda of international politics since the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. The Kyoto Protocol, signed in 1997, was not successful due to the resistance of countries whose economy was dependent on fossil fuels. The USA, which emits 2.5 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere every year from its power plants, had not signed the Kyoto agreement anyway. However, in 2015, more than 190 countries ratified the Paris Agreement to combat the global climate crisis. The United States, which left the agreement in 2020, rejoined in 2021. In this respect, it is stated that it is the agreement on which the most countries have agreed. Iran, Iraq, Libya, Eritrea, Yemen and Turkey did not ratify the agreement. Turkey signed the agreement in 2015, but it was not passed by the Parliament. In his speech at the UN, President Erdoğan stated that they will send the agreement to the Parliament for approval in October. The main goal of the Paris Agreement is to reduce the global temperature increase to 2oC below the pre-Industrial Revolution period, or even to keep it at 1.5oC. Reducing fossil fuel-based production activities and greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the use of renewable energies and creating suitable jobs, providing “climate finance” to poor countries by rich countries are among the targets envisaged by the Paris Agreement.
We know that the discourse of global warming and climate crisis is mostly associated with economic activities. The targets envisaged by the Paris Agreement confirm this. However, it should be noted that the Paris Agreement will not only bring about an economic but also a social and philosophical transformation. I would like to open this “social and philosophical transformation” part. For this, we need to touch on the concept of "Anthropocene" popularized by Paul Krutzen in 2000 and its relationship with posthumanism.
Anthropocene Age: Criminal Man!
Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry Paul Crutzen claimed that the world has entered a new geological time period, which he calls the Anthropocene, in an article titled "The Anthropocene", which he wrote with Eugene F. Stoermer in the Globale Change Newsletter in 2000. At the time the article was written, according to the International Union of Geological Sciences (UJBB), the world was in the "Halocene" age, which started 10-12 thousand years ago. The term Halocene Age (New Age) was adopted by the International Geological Congress in 1833, proposed by Sir Charles Lyell. The Anthropocene concept proposed by Crutzen became popular over time. UJBB has created an "Anthropocene Working Group" on the subject. The working group prepared a proposal to formalize the concept in 2016. The concept was officially accepted by a vote later. Thus, discussions began in scientific circles that the "Anthropocene" era, which ended the Halocene Age, began.
The concept of the Anthropocene (the age of human domination) is used to emphasize the influence of "humans" on climate and geological changes. Crutzen detailed the Anthropocene concept and put it into scientific use in an article he published in the journal Nature in 2002. According to Crutzen, the Anthropocene Era begins with the Industrial Revolution, symbolized by Watt's steam engine. After the Industrial Revolution, human-induced activities, especially the use of fossil fuels, became the main factor of geological change. There are many experts who object to the concept of the "Anthropocene". In addition, there are those who accept the concept but have different views on when the Anthropocene Era began. For example, according to some, the Anthropocene Age begins with the agricultural revolution. Although the discussions continue, it should be noted that the concept has become popular and has a fruitful usage content especially for "posthuman" (posthuman) theorists.
We should note that the Anthropocene concept targets “humans” for problems such as global warming, climate crisis, environmental pollution, and loss of biodiversity. According to posthumanist theorists, because of these problems, which cannot be avoided or rejected, it is necessary to move to the "posthuman" period, which expresses a new philosophical and social transformation. It condemns the "anthropocentric" humanist worldview of posthumanism, renaissance and enlightenment philosophy as it constitutes the rationality of colonizing other nonhumans. On the other hand, humanism; It is also responsible for the prevalence of "speciesism", which is a new but actually more radical form of discrimination than types of discrimination such as sexism and racism. In other words, it is necessary to question the belief that man, as an ontological category, is superior to other categories of existence (animate like animal and plant or inanimate like machine/robot). Therefore, the global warming discussions from the term "Anthropocene"; it is not possible to think independently of its philosophical and social extensions. In this respect, we can say that we have entered a period in which not only global warming but also the place of human beings in the category of existence will be questioned more in the coming years. As a matter of fact, in a report published by the UN in 2019 on global warming, it was written that 1 million animal and plant species have disappeared due to "human activities". Moreover, it is possible to say that the movements organized on concepts such as "animal rights" and "environmental rights" have brought this questioning to the point where it will have legal consequences.
Here we should underline that the term “Anthropocene” reflects the reality of the source of the problems we are experiencing to a certain extent. Indeed, the damage "man" has done to nature and other living things for the last 300 years is obvious. But what man! If we do not ask the question "which person", the problems mentioned will not end and the real problem will be covered up. Moreover, it is absurd to claim that a mental structure that produced these problems, started two world wars 25 years apart, and established a ruthless political/economic order like 1% of the world owns the wealth of the rest of the world, will solve these problems.
As a result, we can say that we will be dragged into an ontological debate where the concepts of global warming and climate crisis will provide a significant rationality. This debate could have devastating consequences like never before. It is the responsibility of all of us to prevent this destructiveness and to fight for the salvation of man and the whole world of existence. For this, first of all, one has to give up the arrogance of "defining" and "valuing" independent of divine principles.


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