Taking inspiration from Walter Benjamin's “Theses on the Philosophy of History,” this article discusses how new climate movements try to break with the empty time of conventional climate discourses in order to politicize the “now.” Pointing at the catastrophe looming on the horizon, new climate movements question understandings of history as progress. These are underpinned by linear, gradual, and homogeneous conceptions of time, as present in a wide range of future climate pathways characterized by moveable deadlines and a strong reliance on future promises. Embracing, at least rhetorically, a full conception of time, for instance, in their call to declare a climate emergency, new climate movements claim that the struggle cannot be postponed until tomorrow. One has to act “now.” Paradoxically, however, to create this sense of full time, the movements rely on the empty time of, for instance, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) climate scenarios and the image of the climate clock. The performative call to “act now” entails, therefore, its own contradictions. When every now moment can be staged as the decisive moment, time is paradoxically made empty again.

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