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Prof. Aseem Prakash on Forbes, "Why Blowing Up Pipelines Will Not Solve The Climate Crisis"

Submitted by Junhee Park on May 1, 2023 - 11:51am

Prof. Aseem Prakash and colleague Prof. Nives Dolšak write in Forbes, "Why Blowing Up Pipelines Will Not Solve The Climate Crisis."

The recent movie "How to Blow Up a Pipeline" has brought the subject of violent action against fossil fuel infrastructure into the limelight. However, violent activism undermines the climate cause and diminishes positive sentiments about climate advocacy in policy conversations. The theory of change motivating violent action is weak, and democracies have a process for policy change. Violence against property is also an attack on the livelihood and financial security of people whose assets the corporation manages. Activists should subject corporations to economic pressure through legal means and resolve complex issues through political mechanisms.

"In How to Blow Up a Pipeline, eight activists view property violence as an advocacy tactic because they feel this is the only way forward and their lived experiences have convinced them about the moral justification for their actions. The problem with this position is that individuals prioritize different issues. Many also feel disenfranchised. Should these aggrieved individuals resort to violence? Who decides which issues are worthy of violent advocacy and which are not?"

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