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Global Warming Heats Up

13 August 2008

We are all aware that carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) are making this planet warmer and that the long term effects will be devastating, turning some areas into desert and, by the possibility of melting ice diverting the Gulf Stream, turning temperate areas into frozen ones. “Polar Express”, an article in the July issue of Scientific American makes it clear that it could be much worse than our imaginings, “…how much more warming will it take to melt the arctic permafrost? If the permafrost melts, prodigious amounts of trapped methane gas will burp out of the once-frozen ground. Twenty-five years after such a release, methane gas will be 72 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas (after 100 years it remains 25 times more potent) so if methane is released, the planet risks runaway climate catastrophe.”

Though no one can predict when such a catastrophe will occur, what we can say is that the polar ice is melting faster than the so-called experts thought, “as more ice melts, fewer patches of white snow reflect solar energy, and larger regions of dark, sunlight-absorbing sea water open up - both causing the ice to melt even faster.”

Everyone can agree that something must be done about it, but what? And by whom? The Kyoto Treaty is a failure not merely because the US and China, the two biggest polluters, have refused to sign it, but because any person, or organization of any kind which attempts to set limits on how much profits capitalists can make is fighting a losing battle. A reasonable person might think that a polluted world will affect the capitalists, their businesses, and the governments that allow them to pollute in the long term. Surely they must see this and act accordingly. The significant words are ‘long term’. Capitalists, in their need to make a profit, are not concerned about the long term. If they don’t show profits now, there won’t be any long term for them or their companies. Nor should we blame capitalists as individuals, or the governments that attempt to run capitalism - to whatever extent such an anarchistic system can be run - they are also victims of the situation in their own way, just as the working class is in its own way. The iron-clad rule of production within capitalism is the need to make a profit or the business will fold. Thus the profit motive, the very lifeblood of capitalism, is fast becoming its death knell.

There may be other sources of energy not so harmful to the environment that might be used, but capitalists are not interested in the time and capital investment it would take to develop them. At present, they are talking of ways to get at the oil under the arctic sea. One could say the melting of the ice cap is in their interests. Furthermore, new coal mines are being opened in China. In short, there is no solution within the capitalist system of production for profit. The only solution is a system of society where production is for the satisfaction of needs, not profits, and where common ownership is the order of the day. Then decisions will be made democratically in the interests of all mankind. Since profit would no longer be a consideration, fuels would be used that do not have harmful affects on our planet. If you agree that what is being done is inadequate, and that our ideas are common sense, organize politically and support socialism before it is too late and our environment is destroyed before the people get control.

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