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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.

Climate crisis and the myth of ‘green’ capitalism
Christopher Wright and Daniel Nyberg, The Malaysian Insider
Our economies are now reliant upon ever-more ingenious ways of exploiting the Earth’s fossil fuel reserves and consuming the very life-support systems we rely on for our survival. This is evident in the rush by some of the world’s largest companies to embrace deep-water and Arctic oil drilling, tar-sands processing, new mega-coalmines, and the “fracking” of shale and coal-seam gas. These examples highlight both the inventive genius of corporate capitalism, and the blindness of industry and government to the ecological catastrophe they are fashioning.

The Elephant in the Room: Capitalism and Sustainable Development
Gary Leech, Counterpunch
It is too often suggested that we can simply incorporate more environmentally-friendly practices into our daily lives while only tinkering with our consumption habits in order to achieve sustainability. But this simply is not true. Each of us living in wealthy nations must massively, and I mean MASSIVELY, reduce our levels of material consumption if we are to achieve a sustainable ecological footprint. And this reality is the elephant that is too often ignored in discussions about sustainable development.

Why Can’t Capitalism Go Green?
Pete Dickinson, Socialistalternative.org
The colossal fraud by Volkswagen, the world’s second-biggest vehicle manufacturer, sums up the capitalist system’s approach to the environment. VW rigged vehicle emissions tests worldwide to boost short-term profit. And the EU took no action – pressured by governments backing their own automotive industries. No matter that thousands of people die of diseases directly linked to this pollution, or that pumping out greenhouse gases threatens life on earth. An examination of this systemic failure.

Only system change can stop climate change (2014 article)
Chris Williams
In order to solve the interlocked combination of social and ecological problems generated by an economic and political system driven solely by profit, one which serves the interests of only a tiny minority of the world’s population, we need to have a vision for an entirely different system of organizing production. In order to achieve that vision, we will need to build a movement that harnesses the collective power of the 99 Percent of humanity who have a stake in overturning capitalism and replacing it with a more democratic, inclusive, cooperative and needs-based socio-ecological system for producing the things we need to stay alive.

How science is telling us all to revolt (2013 article)
Naomi Klein, New Statesman
The fact that the business-as-usual pursuit of profits and growth is destabilising life on earth is no longer something we need to read about in scientific journals. The early signs are unfolding before our eyes. And increasing numbers of us are responding accordingly: blockading fracking activity in Balcombe; interfering with Arctic drilling preparations in Russian waters (at tremendous personal cost); taking tar sands operators to court for violating indigenous sovereignty; and countless other acts of resistance large and small.

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