Against the Death Cult: We Must Not Let Ruthless Ideologues Destroy the Climate and Kill Us All


The is burning. The the river basin of its gold have found an ingenious way of dealing with the they consider a by- of the extraction process. Capturing the would be costly, inefficient – so instead, they flare it off. Across the delta, towers of flame burn day and night, some of them stretching ten storeys into the sky.

Gas flaring was officially banned in in 1984 – but still, two million live within four kilometres of a flare , at risk of the , neurological, reproductive and respiratory problems linked to the pollutants released into the air. The soil is hotter, and crop yields have dwindled; “ plant, and before know it, everything is dead”. When the rains come, they are black. spew from the pipelines of Shell and , the biggest operators in the area. Shell has reported 17.5 million litres lost since 2011; say that’s likely a hefty underestimate. The spills have poisoned drinking , and destroyed the livelihoods of the fishermen who once combed the delta. 

We are over the brink. People have already lost their lives to hurricanes and bush fires and flooding, to toxins and crop failures – disasters rooted in -fuel dependent extractive , bankrolled by a deregulated . People continue to lose their lives. Global temperatures soar, and a monstrous future slouches towards from the ecocidal imaginations of the handful of directly invested in a doctrine of global annihilation. , the drive built into the heart of our reveals itself in ever more undeniable terms; the skull is through the skin. 

Scientists at ExxonMobil confirmed of in the 1980s, at the very latest. Since then, and its fellow companies have spent decades sponsoring denial and blocking efforts to legislate against apocalypse. Under their auspices, and broadcasters and revelled in a vicious subterfuge disguised as pious gnosticism; asking how we can know for sure that is caused by activity. In recent years, this strategy has buckled under the weight of and scientific proof.

is clear: only an ambitious, rapid overhaul of the fundaments of our economy gives us hope of survival. And that hope is tantalisingly within our grasp. We have the , and we have the financial capacity; all that’s missing is the political to give those solutions heft, muscle and hard .

Now, culprit companies are suddenly flouting their credentials to shore up their position as custodians of the future. Shell Oil has made a big song and dance about its investments in technology. has funded into how to make “resilient to change”. These are little more than attempts to seduce and cajole worried publics and skittish investors. Still these companies hoard over-valued assets, continue ploughing resources into carbon-heavy industries, show no signs of leaving enough in the ground to avoid the breakdown of the climate, the potential collapse of civilisation and the extinction of on . Negotiators were banned from mentioning climate change in recent -US talks. the has subsidised the fossil fuel industry to the tune of 10bn in a decade, and its legislators continue to take its in return. They defend their right to starve out and and burn chunks of human existence – and make doing it. 

We are being held hostage by a cabal of ruthless ideologues whose only loyalty is to a doctrine of global death. Their thrives on silence, , manipulation, denial. They are united in their opposition to reality, in their determination to hunt down or hound out real alternatives that threaten their mortal stranglehold on power. All doctrines are heresy, and their preachers envoys of a sinister delusion. They are guardians of a dark and dazzling reality.

If this took place among a handful of hippies beckoning oblivion from the haze of a we would call it is: a death . Instead, it is orchestrated from sumptuous glass towers, from the velvet inner chambers of parliament – so we call it as usual. 

To these -backed suggestions that economic alternatives are possible – even urgent, necessary, beautiful – they react with vitriol and incredulity. Saving the appealing, but it clashes intolerably with the cultish diktat: ‘ Is No Alternative”. Partisans of the Green Deal like Ocasio Cortez are dismissed at best as well-meaning dreamers or childish hysterics, and, at worst, nightmarish envoys of backdoor totalitarianism. Indeed, grassroots activists have been murdered for organising against big polluters. The political allegiances are clear: Defending life is foolish. Annihilation is inevitable. We have only to accept it graciously, to walk into its arms.

Rightwing politicians barter casually about the difference between a decarbonisation of 2030, 2045, 2050, 2060 as a matter of messaging and electoral success. As though that difference were not cashed out in millions of deaths. Such differences slide off the , addled of the cultist, for whom life and death are indistinguishable. 

A chosen few will be spared; the golden ones who walk in the . As the asset-stripping and plundering continues apace, so the market for has grown, with companies offering high- flood defences, private firefighters, private to against mobs of looters. Theirs is a gilded world where disaster can never truly happen to them – because it never truly has. That no in the world will provide them with breathable air or sustainable is a matter for the others, the ghosts, the un-living, those whose existence never really registered. Us.   

Broadcasters tried to haul Boris before the of the living on Thursday night for the climate change , to account for proposals which present a 50% risk of tipping the world into irreversible, runaway climate breakdown, to account for his fossil fuel backers. He responded by threatening them with censure and legal action. Cult leaders can tolerate no scrutiny of their fragile world , no challenge to their power. 

We can break the stranglehold, and commit the death cultists to the bleak annals of where they belong. It is to choose only those who have chosen life.   

Eleanor is a and a regular to Novara

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