Ed McNally in Sidecar:
In its conviction that the climate crisis ‘changes everything’, and in its search for a historical agent capable of coupling deliverance from catastrophe with radical social transformation, left climate politics is often sustained by a residual optimism. Yet this mood is far from universal. Some commentators have suggested that, given the shortage of time and the dim prospects for seizing state power, climate saviours will have to be drawn from enemy ranks. Take Michael Klare. A longtime peace studies scholar and defence correspondent for The Nation, he is now a cheerleader for the eco-conscious vanguard forming within the United States Department of Defense (DoD). ‘As global temperatures soar and vital resources dwindle’, Klare writes, the climate-mitigation efforts of the DoD have become ‘a model for the rest of society to emulate’. Not only that; the Pentagon’s outlook on global climate politics should be seen as ‘the starting point for America’s future foreign relations’. Has it really come to this? It may be true that, in the absence of a powerful socialist-environmentalist movement, the best hope for humanity is decarbonization from above. But what role is the American imperial apparatus likely to play in this process? Can it plausibly claim to be a ‘climate leader’?