The new question of 2021

What’s new in 2021? Of course, we know that it is the new that sells in our society, and therefore to determine it is already to win the war. Günther Anders(1), for his part, explains to us that man feels more and more obsolete precisely because he cannot follow the rhythm of the novelties imposed by the Megamachine… But the question only concerns the degraders. First we thought about the digitization of the world which accelerated dramatically with the pandemic, but that was in 2020, and then « systemic racism, » but even if it’s a thing, it’s not from 2021. Finally, we have retained the attempts to make nuclear power a green investment at the level of the European Commission in 2021, and in connection with this we have noticed a book by Thierry Ribault(2) questioning resilience, which has always been seen as a positive and good thing for victims. 

In June 2019, an EU expert group on sustainable finance concluded that nuclear power, which « emits virtually noCO2 ‚ » could  » help mitigate climate change . » The European Commission asked its scientific service (the Joint Research Centre, JRC) to determine whether the atom could be included in its list of energies considered virtuous for both the climate and the environment (« green taxonomy »), which could facilitate financing. 

In their report issued at the end of March, these experts consider that nuclear energy is harmless, and so much the worse if the areas rendered irremediably uninhabitable because of nuclear disasters multiply on Earth! Nevertheless, the European Commission announced on Wednesday, April 21, 2021, the postponement of its decision on natural gas and nuclear, after much controversy, due to lack of time in the face of the climate emergency and given that  » this first « delegated act » (editor’s note: binding legal text issued by the Commission) covers 80% of greenhouse gas emissions(3) ».

These maneuvers are in addition to the intense propaganda of Jean-Marc Jancovici to promote nuclear power as a solution to save the climate. However, the figures on CO2 emissions from nuclear power are very controversial, and above all, only 25% of the problem is discussed, i.e. only the production of electricity; the main part remains: 75% of the energy. Finally, if we were to replace carbon-based electricity production with nuclear power, we would have to build so many nuclear power plants that we would not have the time, knowing that there would not be enough uranium and that the entire process would emit a lot of CO2. 

Also related to nuclear energy, but with a broader scope, we read the book by Thierry Ribault Against resilience, in Fukushima and elsewhere. He tells us that resilience is just a governing technique, not to be confused with the individual ability to « bounce back, » but there is a fine line. » Resilience intends to prepare us for the worst without ever elucidating the causes(4) « . According to Ribault, resilience is both a  » technology of consent « , in other words a discourse on the technique on which one would be absolutely dependent, as well as a technique of manipulation ». aimed at leading populations in a situation of disaster to consent to the technology that has made them unhappy « . One could also add: aiming at avoiding the « decolonization of its imaginary » that the degrowthists call for… 

What is at stake in both cases is the future of our culture as much as of life itself. If it is the people who have to adapt to the worst, if it is only a question of individual resistance and if society no longer has a say in technical choices, then where is the future? What we are currently experiencing is the establishment of a system of heteronomy that forces us to « live with » the productions of industrial society that destroy society and the biosphere, instead of changing it:  » As far as we know, human genes have not deteriorated — at least not yet. But we know that « cultures », societies are deadly(5) « .

Jean-Luc Pasquinet, Technologos 

Notes et références
  1. Günther Anders, L’obsolescence de l’homme, Ivrea, 1956/2002.
  2. Thierry Ribault, Contre la résilience, à Fukushima et ailleurs, L’échappée, 2021.
  3. Mairead McGuinness, commissaire aux services financiers.
  4. Thierry Ribault, op. cit.
  5. Cornélius Castoriadis, Fenêtre sur le chaos, Seuil, 2006, p.
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