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Climate and Capitalism

The global crisis and the role of so-called renewable energies in solving it

In this essay, a contribution to the‘Pathways to the Post-Carbon Economy’ symposium by Insurge Intelligence, the author argues persuasively that the much-hyped “renewable energy technologies” cannot play any role in solving the multifaceted global crisis of today; on the contrary, investing in them is a waste of time, effort, energy and, most important of all, scarce resources.

What is Eco-Socialism? Who is an Eco-Socialist?

The determinant element in the concept of eco-socialism is the prefix eco. And that means the rejection of industrialism. A good socialist only needs to rejects capitalism. But to be an eco-socialist one must also reject industrialism as a future perspective for mankind, and agree to a program of de-industrialization (now often clumsily called de-growth).

The great climate silence: we are on the edge of the abyss but we ignore it

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.

Nicholas Stern: Why are we waiting?

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.

Why climate change is a ‘white swan’

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.

Marxism, ecology and the Anthropocene: A debate

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.

Ben Chu: Financial markets are now betting against the future of the planet

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.

Watch: What oil giant Shell knew about climate change in 1991

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.

The ecology movement is not a social movement: A response to John Foran

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.

The Anthropocene myth: Blaming all of humanity for climate change lets capitalism off the hook

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.

Flashback: On global warming

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.”

Saving the planet, American style: A critical review, and some thoughts and ideas

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.

Report: The rise of the Right and climate catastrophe

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.

The true cost of the obsession with GDP growth

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.

The climate movement and the “Jobs vs. Environment” Debate

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.

Special: A view from the Left: Capitalism, climate change and the environment

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.

Global capitalism is facing three tipping points

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.

Bookshelf: Capitalism and Climate Change: The Science and Politics of Global Warming

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.

Digest: Climate crisis and the myth of ‘green’ capitalism

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.

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