Clive Hamilton writes: Our best scientists tell us insistently that a calamity is unfolding, that the life-support systems of the Earth are being damaged in ways that threaten our survival. Yet, faced with these facts, we carry on as usual. Most citizens ignore or downplay the warnings; many of our intellectuals indulge in wishful thinking.
Climate and Capitalism
In his new book, Why Are We Waiting? The Logic, Urgency and Promise of Tackling Climate Change, Nicholas Stern explains why, notwithstanding the great attractions of a new path, it’s been so difficult to tackle climate change. He makes a compelling case for climate action now and sets out the forms that action should take.
Rupert Read writes: In financial parlance, a ‘black swan’ is a radically unexpected event. Ever-worsening man-made climate change (that is, barring a system change) is not a potential ‘black swan’ event. It’s a white swan, an expected event. It is, quite simply, completely what anyone with a basic understanding of the situation should now expect.
Editor’s Note: Last week, Ecologise carried the well-known Marxist scholar John Bellamy Foster’s foreword to a new book, Facing the Anthropocene. In response, noted eco-socialist writer Saral Sarkar posted a comment questioning the usefulness of Marxist analysis in understanding the global ecological crisis. This short piece, first published on Ecologise, is Foster’s reply to Sarkar.
The Paris climate agreement was hailed by Al Gore as the moment when “the community of nations finally made the decision to act”. But there’s been no readjustment of energy stock prices since then. Indeed, the flotation of a tranche of Saudi oil giant Aramco, is expected to create the most valuable company on earth.
The Guardian reports: The oil giant Shell issued a stark warning of the catastrophic risks of climate change more than a quarter of century ago in a prescient 1991 film that has been rediscovered. However, since then the multinational company has invested heavily in highly polluting oil reserves and also helped lobby against climate action.
There’s a fundamental difference between the ecology movement and social movements of the past. The demands of social movements could be fulfilled to a large extent, thanks to the growing cake. But with the emergence of the ecology movement, the situation has changed completely. Now, not only must the cake not grow, it must shrink.
Andreas Malm writes: Mainstream climate discourse is positively drenched in references to humanity as such, human nature, the human enterprise, humankind as one big villain driving the train. Enter Naomi Klein, who in ‘This Changes Everything’ lays bare the myriad ways in which capital accumulation pour fuel on the fire now consuming the earth system.
On the eve of the American presidential election, where the two leading candidates offer little hope for climate action, it’s worth revisiting this hard-hitting 2006 article by Chad Harbach, who warned, “(Other countries) will do nothing until the United States demonstrates that a grand-scale transition to renewable energy can be achieved by big industrial countries.”
To fight climate change, a war-like mobilization a la McKibben is not necessary. Actually we are not at war at all. If we are, then it is we who are the aggressors, we are the enemy of nature. Then the first task for the transition is to end our aggression. We need only to withdraw.
Michael T. Klare writes: Nationalistic exceptionalism could become something of the norm if Donald Trump wins, or other nations put the needs of a fossil fuel-based domestic growth agenda ahead of global climate commitments. In its latest report, the Norwegian energy giant Statoil outlines a chilling scenario focused on just this sort of dystopian future.
Shankar Sharma writes: It’s evident that an economic policy focusing on high GDP growth rate has not only not resulted in the elimination of poverty, but is certainly leading to accelerated depletion of our natural resources and to the unacceptable level of pollution of land, water and air, while contributing to the global warming phenomenon.
Nihar Gokhale reports: Tata Steel, which is selling its UK business, has indicated that energy – made expensive by climate change policies – caused its steel to be too costly. But, a new report says companies have made billions in profits from climate change policies like carbon-trading. Tata Steel itself made over a billion Euros.
Fossil fuel divestment activist Kate Aronoff writes: A growing, green industry born into a hostile labor climate is unlikely to produce steady and well-paying jobs without a fight — not to mention a cross-movement plan beyond shutting down individual infrastructure projects. Breaking Free from fossil fuels can also mean breaking into a more sustainable economy.
From the point of view of greens, the Left in general, and Marxism in particular, is often seen as being myopic about the looming environmental crisis. Here we present a selection of articles and essays by leading writers from the Left, who are among the most interesting and constructive voices to engage with the issue.
In this article, Sagar Dhara examines Capitalism’s crucial tipping points: The first, the impending energy and natural resource crisis, related to the sourcing of raw materials. The second, inequality, related to the production of goods and services. The third, global warming, which is related to greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in excess of the earth’s sink capacity.
The climate crisis is the greatest threat humanity has ever faced, which threatens not only global civilization, but the very survival of our species and many others. This book gives a lucid explanation of the science of climate change and illuminates the role of capitalism in creating and perpetuating the climate crisis and related dangers.
Much of the mainstream media, corporate lobbyists and politicians would like the public to think of climate change as something akin to a natural phenomenon. In this second part of our series on Capitalism and Climate Change, we present a selection of articles that examine the deep-seated connections between climate change and a rapacious global economic order.
Climate change is real, and it’s going to get worse. This video looks at how obstacles to solving the problem are intrinsic to our capitalist system. The growing strength of the climate movement around the world gives us great hope, but it’s going to take a revolution to make the world inhabitable for future generations.
(Note: This new book asks, and attempts to answer, the crucial question: What if government and corporate elites have given up on stopping climate change and prefer to try to manage its consequences instead?) The Secure and the Dispossessed: How the Military and Corporations Are Shaping a Climate-Changed World Edited by Nick Buxton and Ben