Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/194/8112
Global warming: capitalism has no solution
A REPORT published last month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a UN body, confirms the threat to the environment from global warming is occurring faster than previously predicted.
For years, despite conclusive evidence to the contrary, corporations funded scientific research seeking to disprove the theory of global warming for their own ends.
The IPCC report predicts a loss in farming in Africa and Asia and drought in Australasia. Flooding will increase in Europe and low-lying areas such as Bangladesh as sea levels rise by tens of centimetres. The social and economic implications of these 'natural disasters' can't be underestimated, especially in neo-colonial countries where emergency provision and basic infrastructure is minimal.
Increasingly, capitalist politicians have been forced to address the problem but, as the Hague summit on climate change showed last year, no radical alternatives or solutions to the production of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels - the main cause of global warming - are on the agenda.
The ruling classes internationally are divided in their attitudes to the environment. Some in the European Union want to reduce pollution from irresponsible companies because of the long-term economic and social effects it will bring. But claims of environmentally friendly policies from New Labour are dubious.
For example reductions in Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions have more to do with the profits inspired switch from coal fired power stations to gas, while air pollution from car emissions is increasing.
Others, such as the US leaders, refuse to face up to the problem, displaying staggering arrogance and short-sightedness. They use any loopholes available, such as trading 'carbon quotas' and counting forests as 'carbon sinks', to avoid reducing CO2 emissions which would threaten profits.
No half-hearted summits or negotiations initiated by the ruling politicians will have any significant effect on the environmental ravages of capitalism. The only system that can offer long-term green solutions is a socialist society, controlled democratically by working-class people and youth.
Capitalism is incapable of providing a safe, clean and sustainable environment for the world's populations. We have to fight for a socialist system that will.
In The Socialist 23 February 2001: