Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/573/7118
Free market system killing our planet
Democratic planning needed
Most scientists now agree that climate change is a very real and immediate danger -temperatures are rising, ice caps are melting and precipitation levels are changing.
Sarah Wrack, Brighton Socialist Party
Climate change is mainly seen as the result of human behaviour - the result of two centuries of capitalist industrialisation, putting the needs of business before the needs of the environment.
The people mainly bearing the burden of these changes are not the same people who have profited from the causes. From widespread famine in the developing world to the 2007 floods in Britain, it is working-class and poor people who are left exposed to the effects of a rapidly changing climate.
For example, the poorest communities of New Orleans suffered the worst from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, especially as evacuation plans relied on privately owned vehicles. The hurricane left almost 2000 people dead and over one million homeless. The US government's complete failure to respond adequately has caused years of misery and uncertainty.
The vultures of big business, and the politicians who represent them, put forward the market as the best way to limit the effects of climate change through schemes including carbon trading. This initiative, supposedly designed to make companies pay for their carbon emissions to encourage investment in renewable energy, has failed the environment.
Profits have been made through the carbon trading market with little investment in renewable energy, and many scientists and environmentalists see the emission caps as being too high anyway.
The economic crisis has now led to the price of carbon permits tumbling. EU emissions trading scheme prices have fallen by two-thirds to around €10 per tonne, so now EU ministers are increasing permit sales to raise more money.
The only solution to the problem of climate change is an end to the unplanned profit-based system of capitalism. The short sightedness of this system has been shown by the chaos it has led to in the economy and the suffering this is causing for ordinary people. How can the same people responsible for pumping billions of pounds worth of public money into the banks, while letting millions face redundancy and house repossessions, also be trusted with the future of the planet?
Private companies, motivated by profit, will never be able to put enough funding into research and development of alternative resources. This would only be possible through public ownership and democratic control of the world's resources.
With socialist planning, working class people could decide the best use of resources to provide for everyone's needs and at the same time make sure the environment is protected for future generations.
For example, instead of closing car factories and sacking car workers, socialist planning would allow these factories to be converted to produce useful products such as sustainable public transport.
The Socialist Party calls for massive investment into renewable resources and public transport, as well as the nationalisation of all major industries, to give working-class, middle-class and young people real power in deciding the future of the planet.
In The Socialist 1 April 2009:
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
Socialist Party election campaign
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International socialist news and analysis