by Emanuele Mastrangelo

There is a conspiracy theory that the adjective "green" in "Green Pass" is because, after experimentation done on hundreds of millions of European human test rats (but not only: similar systems have been applied throughout half the world) with covid, now the mechanism for dispensing rights on terms&conditions is ready to be applied to an ecological (or "green", indeed) transition regime.

Leaving aside the skeptics' comments, the mirror-climbing of the "fact checkers", and the observation that in the last two years "conspiracy theories" have had a higher rate of shots on target than a sniper, a clue as to how this brave new green world may come to affect our lives very soon is provided by a Swedish invention: the credit card with a ceiling amount linked to "CO2 emissions," Doconomy's DO Black.

It is known that Sweden has for decades been the testing ground for many of the gimmicks of the aforementioned brave new world. So in addition to having given the world Greta Thunberg, now the country of death metal is also proposing an electronic payment system that can "empower" the consumer. The method is simple: holders of the DO Black credit card are bound not only by the spending ceiling in their bank account, but also by a ceiling linked to the greenhouse gas emissions each transaction is deemed to produce.

The underlying belief is that each human action would have an "impact" on the ecological system and that humans must limit it, either by hook or by crook. Since a lot of products or services on the market today are sold along with an indication of how much CO2 they would emit, DO Black's transaction system, made in collaboration with credit card giant MasterCard, calculates both the price in currency and the price in grams of carbon dioxide. When the user reaches the ceiling of either one, the transaction is simply denied. So watch out not only for your checking account, but also for your supposed "impact," because you may have to leave your groceries on the cashier's conveyor belt if you are too "polluting" (no, CO2 is not a pollutant, but a greenhouse gas, very different things chemically and physically, but the proponents of these systems don't go to great lengths in explaining the differences).

However, the social training mechanism proposed by Doconomy includes not only Pavlovian "denied transactions" but also Pavlovian rewards for "virtuous" consumers: "Users who show respect for the environment," the "App to you" website informs us about Do Black, "will also receive financial rewards. Do Black owners, in fact, will be able to receive refunds from stores connected to the system." But beware, the responsible consumer turns the reward to the greater glory of environmental policies: "At the discretion of the card holder," "App to you" again explains, "these refunds can then be directed to UN-certified carbon offset projects or invested in sustainable funds". In short, a "reward" system different from supermarket point collection (you wanted dish service, huh? You wanted?).

Doconomy's idea was not born this year, but in 2018. And it is not a solitary oddity. The Swedish initiative, as mentioned, has the backing of MasterCard and praise from UN offices. And MasterCard, again, already provides its users with an app, Carbon Calculator, which allows them to view estimated greenhouse gas emissions for all purchases. The impact on emissions is tracked monthly in relation to various spending categories. The stated purpose is for consumers to understand where the impact is greatest and how to reduce it. It is clear that the app (of which there are countless other examples) is only a benefit to the curious user or environmental fanatic, since in reality the big data collection of the electronic payment service provider companies already know exactly what carbon dioxide impact each of their users emits with each transaction they make.

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So the question that arises is: for now these instruments are optional, but how long will it take for someone to demand that they become mandatory? Already we are witnessing the possibilities that the ruling regimes in Europe have to modulate through electronic meters the amount of energy that each user can afford to buy from the networks, regardless of contracts (the commandment "he is a private business, he does as he pleases" does not apply to you, ordinary citizen). In the coming months we will see household utilities - usually set at 3.3 kwh - decreased at certain times of day to force citizens to reduce their use of appliances. There is talk of reducing road speed limits to lower fuel consumption, an imposition easily implemented as much through the network of sensors and cameras as, more directly, through remote control of the latest generation of cars, which very simply could refuse to exceed speed limits no matter how much their owner (or better would be to say "dealer," since the use of such "smart" cars is subject to terms&conditions) may slam the accelerator pedal down. And patience if you have to run to the hospital because your wife is having contractions or your grandfather is in excruciating retrosternal pain.

The rollout of a ceiling linked to greenhouse gas "emissions" is thus the natural outlet for the energy austerity and apocalyptic-climate fideism policies that constitute the current dominant ideology. Gradually similar systems will be introduced first as "curiosities" (see MasterCard's app), then as optional tools, then as mandatory advisory tools (an integral part of the bill on the receipt, for example, along with VAT), finally becoming mandatory. Bon gré mal gré users will have to understand that their spending options will no longer be tied to what is in their possession, the fruit of their labor or savings, but will be tied to a gracious concession on a completely arbitrary basis ("The Science said so") that will determine what the maximum length of the leash is. Beyond that they will not be allowed to go. Enough, in short, with these people who want to live "above their means."

Soon, then, everyone will understand why when buying a ticket online the system cared about letting you know how much CO2 the trip would emit. Did you really think it was just marketing to entice Greta's admirers?

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Emanuele Mastrangelo is editor-in-chief of "Storia in Rete" since 2006. Military-historical cartographer, he is author of several books (the last one, with Enrico Petrucci, is Iconoclastia. La pazzia contagiosa della cancel culture che sta distruggendo la nostra storia) and edited Eroi. 22 storie dalla Grande Guerra and Terra benedetta. Storie d'Italia e di italiani.