December 10, 2018 at 12:22 pm #169933
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December 10, 2018 at 12:57 pm #169940
- This reply was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by Matthew Culbert.
Ironically, capitalism being what it is, making cutting CO2 emissions profitable is more likely to succeed (as Alan has just pointed out) than appealing to politicians in charge of governments to do what they can’t (undermine their competitivity of their exports by unilaterally increasing energy costs).
As an article from the Socialist Standard of February 1989 (yes, we were on to it then too) by D.A.T. from New Zealand pointed out:
Measurements made by the Department of Scientific and Industrial research since the early seventies show the concentrations of carbon-dioxide to be 325 ppm in 1973 and 350 ppm in 1988. Average global temperatures have been recorded from the year 1880 and figures show that the highest were in 1987 and the five hottest years have been since 1980. The United States is now taking the greenhouse effect very seriously as it stands to be a big loser if world temperatures rise as some predict. Other nations may benefit in the short term. At worst, if the use of fossil fuels for energy continue on the existing scale, the average global temperature will rise at a catastrophic 0.8 degrees centigrade per decade.
The worldwide capitalist system will be unable to deal effectively with this problem. The warning signs have been with us for years, and many experts and environmentalists have been pointing out the dangers. Damage which will have an effect many decades later is being done now.
Alternatives to environmentally destructive industrial processes exist, they are generally more expensive and this would reduce the competitiveness of a nation or company which chose to adopt them unilaterally. Action will only be taken if damage begins seriously to impair the smooth functioning of the profit system — or if anti-pollution measures and products become profitable in themselves. Either way, capitalism’s air will remain unfit to breathe.
Plus ça change. That was thirty years ago. In the meantime, despite all the demonstrations and appeals to governments, things have got worse. Thirty wasted years. The only good thing is that the average global temperature did not rise by 0.8 degrees centigrade per decade (i.e. by 2.4 degrees) over the period, but that was more by accident than by design.December 10, 2018 at 6:28 pm #169969
Brilliant find ALB. I still say as a Party it would pay us to produce a new, current small booklet containing our take on climate change, our proposal and these old articles to evidence how we’ve been saying the correct same things for years. It’d strike a chord.
We can clearly show why Extinction Rebellion, The Green New Deal, and others why it’s doomed to failure.
Can we do this?December 10, 2018 at 7:11 pm #169973
Rather than addressing your suggestion to ALB, our publications committee has the remit for producing such material.
There is no reason why something additional to An Inconvenient Answer (which is to be commended) cannot be published – an update or a supplement to it.December 10, 2018 at 8:14 pm #169979
I wasn’t suggesting ALB did this, I commended his post and the rest was open comment to everyone …..
And yes An Inconvenient Answer is good, great title but could do with freshening.December 10, 2018 at 8:16 pm #169980
And looks like some capitalists are starting to count the cost of inactionDecember 15, 2018 at 12:01 pm #170886
Excellent article on the Spiked website: The Green New Deal.December 15, 2018 at 1:23 pm #170918
Excellent article on the Spiked website: The Green New Deal.
Not sure if it quite merits the praise. It doesn’t really address the issue of whether in fact climate change is – or is not – a major problem facing humanity. What is lacks in substance it make up for in flowery exaggerated rhetoric. Is it really the case that
“Despite the often unhinged and naked fearmongering of environmentalists, climate change has remained the preoccupation of very narrow sections of society: certain political activists, remote bureaucrats, disoriented journalists and disconnected politicians – groups that many people might rightly identify as a bigger problem for society, and the future, than global warming”
Noteworthy for being excluded from these ‘narrow sections of society’ are the scientists working on the coalface of environmental research into climate change who have provided the hard evidence that gives us reason to fear for the future. With the steady contraction over decades in the extent of icesheets at the poles you dont need to be a scientist to figure out that something disturbing is happening to our world.
The article is not without merits. Yes there is a lot of humbug involved in trying to greenwash capitalism. And yes it is true that workers by and large have not apparently been overly concerned with the issue of climate change. But as much as anything this may stem from a feeling of powerlessness. What are we workers supposed to do about the factories or power stations belching out pollutants when we dont own them and when our livelihoods depend on them. No doubt workers producing guided missiles for deployment in places like Yemen understand the human catastrophe these weapons cause but what cant they do about when they have a mortgage to pay off.
In any case just because an idea does not currently attract a lot of support does not invalidate the idea or make it pointless to pursue. If that were the case we socialists ought to pack up shop this instant and fall in line with the non socialist majorityDecember 15, 2018 at 6:13 pm #171238
Also we should be aware of the political background and agenda of the Magazine “Spiked”. The erstwhile pseudo-Marxists that run show would appear to have likes with the right-wing , climate change-denying and billionaire Koch brothersDecember 15, 2018 at 10:56 pm #171382
“There is no reason why something additional to An Inconvenient Answer (which is to be commended) cannot be published – an update or a supplement to it.”
I think you mean this pamphlet, Alan.December 16, 2018 at 3:23 am #171499
I’m glad someone is more on the ball than myself.
Apologies.December 16, 2018 at 10:40 am #171734
I’m sure copies of that pamphlet are still available (I’ll check when I go to HO next Tuesday) but for some reason it isn’t advertised in the Standard or on the online store.December 16, 2018 at 11:10 am #171752
I’m sure copies of that pamphlet are still available (I’ll check when I go to HO next Tuesday) but for some reason it isn’t advertised in the Standard or on the online store.
It wasn’t up in the previous online store,but was available as a webpage, (probably just an oversight at the time although ‘Ecology and Socialism‘ was on the old store but not available as a webpage) , so it wasn’t copied into this one.
It was always available as a webpage, but I recently edited it to make it more accessible adding hyperlinks to the page and a PDF version.December 16, 2018 at 12:32 pm #171817
It was at the SPGB store. I purchased two of themDecember 16, 2018 at 6:05 pm #171916
The capitalists and their political representatives have great difficulty acting in the interests of the capitalist class as a whole, i.e. the capitalist system as such. This is due to the divisions within the capitalist class and also their short time-horizon. Even at the national level it tends to be shifting alliances of special capitalist interests that determine policy. This is especially true of the US due to the weakness of institutions that in other countries try to act in the interests of national capital as a whole (e.g., the absence of a permanent corps of administrators and policy advisers within the civil service, such as exists in the UK or France). Only under enormous pressure from below is it possible for the political system to throw up a figure who like FDR can represent the objective interests of the capitalist class as a whole (the subjective view of most US capitalists was that he was a traitor to his class). The danger is that action on climate change will be a case of too little too late. Yes, when disaster is almost upon us a sufficient number of big capitalists may finally realize that they have to “do something.” The “something” will have to be vast geo-engineering projects because accelerated transition to renewable energy will no longer suffice. But that will need a long lead-in time to develop methods, build necessary infrastructure etc. If they started working on it now there may still be enough time left, but they may decide to act only when the time needed is no longer available. There is also the likelihood that geo-engineering undertaken without adequate knowledge and preparation will go wrong and not work as intended, perhaps mitigating certain effects but exacerbating others.
We can’t judge the risk of extinction on the basis of forecasts of so many degrees of warming by this or that date (2050, 2100 etc.) because the process does not end at any specific date. It goes on and on. The big danger is not CO2 but methane, which is a much more powerful greenhouse gas and lies in waiting in frozen form in enormous quantity in seabeds. Plenty of methane is already escaping from melting permafrost and shallow Arctic seas. There is no reason why earth should not end up resembling Venus and humans could not survive on Venus.
Finally, it is likely that global warming will continue to increase the danger of war, including nuclear war, due to heightened conflict over arable land and other shrinking resources. And nuclear war could also easily lead to extinction of our species due to ‘nuclear winter’ — so we may perish as a result of either unbearable heat or unbearable cold.
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