Oil rig Photo: Jan-Rune Smenes Reite/CC
Oil rig Photo: Jan-Rune Smenes Reite/CC

Ali Cook, Dorset Socialist Party

Last May, the World Meteorological Organisation projected a 66% likelihood that the rise in annual global temperatures would surpass 1.5°C for at least one year between 2023 and 2027. 1.5°C is a target set to reduce the deadliest effects of climate change – it has now been exceeded for a 12 month period for the first time.

You would think that the ruling capitalist classes globally would get together and decide to put an end to climate change – pull all their hoarded wealth to solve the crisis. That would be the rational response given the severity and seriousness of climate change.

However, capitalism is not a system based on the needs of the many or of future generations, but rather a system that is dedicated to the maximisation of profit for a tiny minority of super-rich bosses.

The estimated cost to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis is $4.5 trillion a year by 2030, according to the IEA (International Energy Agency). Given the competitive nature of the profit system, where nation states compete to maximize profits for their own bosses, no capitalist state will prioritise such a significant level of investment without a guarantee of future profits, for fear of putting itself at a disadvantage.

And the Tories are still pressing ahead with fossil fuel investments! An illustration of this was Sunak’s proposal to grant new North Sea oil and gas licenses at the end of last year. Furthermore, an anti-green rhetoric was a common theme of the Conservative Party conference in 2023, this has led to a roll back of their policies.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party under Keir Starmer, most likely to lead the next government, has scrapped its proposed £28 billion green investment policy. The reason given is that the “Tories have done terrible damage to the economy”.

What could be a more damning indictment of capitalism? The climate crisis is threatening the very existence of humanity, but our priority must be to follow the diktats of the market and let future generations suffer the consequences!

Capitalism must go

Clearly, there is no way out of climate change on a capitalist basis. The vast wealth and resources, the main levers of the economy, need to be taken into public hands, so that a democratic plan can be developed whereby it can be put to use to improve our lives and reverse climate change. And it’s the working-class majority that has the power to bring about that kind of change.