Climate Crisis: Our Last Chance

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This topic contains 417 replies, has 21 voices, and was last updated by  alanjjohnstone 2 days, 1 hour ago.

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  • #156461

    Anonymous

    With respect, I am not at all interested in Geldof’s mumbling. I am interested in scientific fact and accurate data modelling.

    I think you are grossly underestimating the threat. 1.5° warming isn’t scare mongering, it is likely. Over and above 2° is probable given that currently NOTHING is being done to stop it. The steps needed to prevent 2+° warming need action globally right now. Not next year or by 2020, now. Capitalism doesn’t even consider this to be a problem let alone begin to tackle it, so I think your assumption is a little flawed based on past events. In the past these kind of end of civilisation scenarios were not time limited and entirely in our control, this is neither.

    I understand your position of placing ourselves in a discreditable position by saying we are all going to die and then we don’t. I get that. But I think, even conservatively, we should be saying that if nothing changes life for the majority will become very uncomfortable indeed and for great swathes life will simply end.

    I also think you underestimate the threat of runaway warming. We are not as big and clever as we like to think and if 2+° is reached even if socialism appeared, there would be little we could do to prevent massive changes to our planet. And that won’t take 80 years, the models say this is happening now and the effects are now and we have mere decades.

    #156462

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    Is it an exaggeration to postulate that there will be a societal breakdown due to capitalism’s incapacity to take the remedial measures in the required time and deal with the social problems that will arise when the climate change really starts to impact upon people. We know the US military is preparing for the consequences of climate change regardless of the president’s position. They trust the science and anticipate the worse.

    https://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2017-10/war-plan-orange-climate-change

    Again i refer you to tipping points and feedbacks and that there has been a failure to study these by the IPCC and even if governments heed scientific advice, they may well not be given sufficient time or have the appropriate resources to deal with the unexpected which suddenly occurs.

    Forgive the repetition but this should be emphasised.

    “… many scientists are increasingly worried about factors about which we know much less. These “known unknowns” of climate change are tipping points, or feedback mechanisms within the climate system – thresholds that, if passed, could send the Earth into a spiral of runaway climate change…. Durwood Zaelke, founder of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, said: “The IPCC report fails to focus on the weakest link in the climate chain: the self-reinforcing feedbacks which, if allowed to continue, will accelerate warming and risk cascading climate tipping points and runaway warming.”… Mario Molina, who shared the Nobel prize in chemistry in 1995 for his work on depletion of the ozone layer, said, “…the IPCC understates a key risk: that self-reinforcing feedback loops could push the climate system into chaos before we have time to tame our energy system, and the other sources of climate pollution…”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/09/tipping-points-could-exacerbate-climate-crisis-scientists-fear

    I also gave figures for the deep economic recession that will arise and that too will contribute to societal collapse, not just the rural farmers facing drought and floods, but urban populations as well losing economic prosperity. We witnessed the food riots when prices went up in 2011, was it?

    When it comes to predictions, the two authorities i tend to rely upon are the bookies odds and the insurance actuaries.

    http://www.lloyds.com/~/media/files/news%20and%20insight/risk%20insight/2015/food%20system%20shock/food%20system%20shock_june%202015.pdf

    https://www.livescience.com/1414-gambling-global-warming-mainstream.html

    But i’m not sure what you think but even if Sussex and i suffer from severe paranoia, i am quite surprised and shocked that 4 members seem interested enough in a topic to debate it, that regardless of our exact positions we agree will have a serious repercussions on vast numbers of  people, in the billions,  but i am sure plenty people had a lot to say when Lancaster suggested meat off the menu for Summer School.

    Are Sussex and i calling wolf as implied. Or are you following the dictum…”Keep calm, the capitalists will save us.”

     

     

    #156464

    ALB
    Participant

    You’ve just done it again — accused me of being soft on capitalism. It’s the same dilemma we face as when discussing with Zeitgeist and others who say that capitalism is going to collapse in a few years or accuse the banks of being the root of all evil. When we argue against these positions we are accused of being soft on capitalism (and we are in fact saying that capitalism is not as bad as they are making out) or even of being defenders of the banksters.

    Precisely the same issue we are discussing came up in this debate from 2008. Glenn Morriss (who has since joined the party) argued that it was too late as if capitalism continued it would lead to ecological disaster. In reply our representative, Brian Gardner, said that things weren’t quite that bad as capitalist governments would do be forced to do something about it when it began to affect their profits.

    Poles Apart? – Capitalism or socialism … as the planet heats up

     

     

     

    #156465

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    So what have capitalist governments actually done since 2008.

    They have failed to put the planet on track and are currently exceeding their self-imposed own limits.

    Next time you see Glen or Brian, check who has shifted their opinion in the last ten years of additional evidence being produced.

    It is a very fine line to say that capitalists will solve the problems of climate change when/if it reaches a point of an existential threat, depending on that they recognise that point, and indeed being soft on them, crediting them that their self-interest will lead to a change of  direction…that profits and capital accumulation will no longer be their priority with humanitarianism, when Sussex has pointed out that they refuse to help millions starving and billions in poverty. But as you seem to suggest, their individual self-interest might make them take actions stronger than their words.

    I think we should be very much angrier  in our analysis… Capitalism is killing us….right now…this very minute….the very air you breathing in now is poisoned and the UK government is ignoring the law that demand they take action and even though the capitalist inhales the same polluted air, they argue costs and expenses and risk their own lives and their families and their childrens. Yet we are to be content to accept that they will do something…eventually…and it won’t be too late, regards climate change.

    If it seems as if i am saying you are soft on capitalism, i mean you appear far too complacent and the danger in playing along with the claims that everything is under control and it is not going to be as bad as the worse scenarios say, makes the Party complicit with capitalism. Your analogy of Zeitgeist or banking or those others who assert robots are going to take over the world are not comparable in this debate, ALB.

    #156466

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    However, in the fairness of debate, i draw attention to this story from today

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/nov/05/ozone-layer-healing-after-aerosols-un-northern-hemisphere

    The ozone layer is showing signs of continuing recovery from man-made damage and is likely to heal fully by 2030 in the Northern Hemisphere and 2060 in the Southern Hemisphere, new evidence shows.

    But some caveats. We didn’t see conservatives get upset about governments shutting down CFCs to protect the ozone layer. Technically the issue was the same – government regulations curbing the freedom of industry – but because the vested interests were low there was no need for conservative elites to fight back.

    The industrialised countries agreed to phase out the production of CFCs and the US was keenest because it had a virtual monopoly on the production of substitutes. The other countries wanted time to catch up on the technology. So of them refused to sign, on the grounds that they couldn’t afford the substitutes.

    The banning of CFCs and the issue with energy production and global warming are far different, the latter being integrated as closely as they could be in capitalist production in general. Combatting them would not be a mere matter of disrupting the manufacture of aerosols but of changing something which is part and parcel of the capitalist system and on which all companies depend.

     

     

    #156467

    ALB
    Participant

    You are still distorting what I say.

    I said that personal survival would be a motivating factor in capitalists’ reaction IF there was a real imminent threat of human extinction. When it comes to something less hypothetical I explicitly said that it would be profit and cost considerations that would move them to do something. For example, as sea levels rise they will have to spend money to deal with the consequences (build sea defences, move populations, etc). It might be cheaper for them to use other sources for generating energy than burning fossil fuels even if more expensive. In fact this is already happened even if in a half-hearted sort of way, e.g. plans to make no more petrol-burning cars by 2040 (or whenever it), switching away from burning coal. So Sussex is not exactly accurate in saying that capitalist governments are doing NOTHING (his capitals). They are doing something even if not anything like enough and even if they wait for their profits to be effected before timidly doing something.

    I hesitate to mention this news item from today’s papers (but I’ll risk being called a capitalism apologist again) but they did eventually do something about the hole in the ozone layer which was an ecological threat in the 1980s:

    https://metro.co.uk/2018/11/05/gaping-hole-in-ozone-layer-is-healing-itself-scientists-say-8107039/

    I see that in the 1980s the doom year was fixed at 2065, i.e. at 80 years in the future ….

     

     

     

    #156510

    Anonymous

    The hole in the ozone was a (relatively) easy fix and did not, as above, put capitalism to too much effort to fix. Vague promises of fading out particular types of car engines at some decade or more in the future are not really taking massive positive action now. Some countries are further down this road than others, but most are piecrust promises at the moment, no actual legislation or action.

    https://qz.com/1341155/nine-countries-say-they-will-ban-internal-combustion-engines-none-have-a-law-to-do-so/

    Global climate change is much bigger and incredibly complex and interconnected problem and therefore not comparable with anything preceding. It is not one issue or single problem but a multitude of interconnected issues.

    With regards to the tiny capitalist controlling minority, the 1%, I honestly believe they can and would likely survive most if not all of the worst of the predicted catastrophes merely through their wealth – to own the land, to stockpile resources, to build bunkers if necessary and to ship to whatever part of the world remains the most pleasant. They have the resources to filer the air and to filter the water. To cool or heat their environs as required.

    Its us poor mugs who will suffer. Therefore have the most incentive to link our 100+ year crusade for socialism with today’s countdown to climate breakdown. The working class as always, has the most to lose and the most to gain. This alone means I think it is an ideal time to spread our ideas, to update our literature and to really push to get our voices and ideas out there NOW. Millions of people, many working class, are interested in and frightened by the climate crisis – plastics in the ocean, poor foods, dirty air, disease and wildlife are on the agenda and the root cause of all those ills lies in the poxy system we live under. WWF get it. FoE get it. They are actively linking current climate trends and laying it squarely at the door of capitalism and the crazy way we live out mostly unfulfilling lives. If we can sow the seeds of Socialism now on this fertile soil, we might as well pack up. The working class needs the ideas we have, we exist solely to give it to them – lets do just that!

     

    As an side, this is a fascinating data set:

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/608374/vehicle-licensing-statistics-2016.pdf

    Lots and lots more cars in the last 20 years, despite climate change. Increases in electric and low emission vehicles but massive falls in buses and equally big increase in vans, most of which are diesel. Not the seismic shift required and still a society and economy utterly wedded to the car and oil…….

    #156523

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    I note that our posts providing similar news on ozone holes crossed, ALB.

    But as Sussex and i both said…oranges and apples.

    As for reforms, i think we have said there is an importance of urgency and that governments are procrastinating and delaying much necessary legislation which will make them too late for for effectiveness. A s we often say…a bandaid measure by capitalism.

    Anyway, ALB, I don’t want to make this into some sort of personal feud and i have already said i am disappointed that other members deem this issue not of sufficient importance to participate in no more posts on this thread. Except fo perhaps one in the future that says …”i told you so”  😛

    But there will be no gratisfaction in that, considering the tragedies and atrocities and suffering i anticipate occurring….in my own lifetime and continuing into the lifetimes of a few generations after me…I think we can all agree that mankind’s future will be a painful one unless socialism is established…Do you think we will see that?…Nip down to Ladbrokes and check what the odds are, ALB.

    #156529

    Wez
    Participant

    I’m not sure what Alan and Sussex socialist are advocating here. You both acknowledge that socialism is the only way to stop the degradation of the environment and that is what we’re all working for. Adding a level of hysteria would not aid our cause and no one can second guess what the hatchet men of the ruling class will do or not do. Many have not and do not care about the pollution that has killed and continues to kill millions across the globe – but suddenly when there’s a threat to the ‘first world’ people start to worry.

    #156569

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    Wez,  for well over a hundred years we have tried to persuade fellow-workers of the need for them to establish socialism because of the legal robbery through the LTV and surplus value. Nope, that hasn’t worked. My encounters on the WWW tells me that few accept that idea and we have little success in using it as a motive for supporting socialism.

    People aren’t worrying because the threat has not impacted upon the “first world” Air pollution, meat-eating is killing innumerable in the developed countries and until the media and governments begin to link those deaths directly as they did with cigarette smoking, people are not going to connect the cause and the effect. Doctors aren’t blaming capitalism for a person’s death on the death certificates.

    I recall it was families and friends who demanded that there was a change in antirevival treatment for HIV by being very very angry at the unnecessary deaths which created a more interested response by the media. World wide it was competition from Indian generics that made the patent owners drop their price.

    I’m not saying we should indulge in hysterics but that we should engage in some righteous anger. Jeez, Wez, we had the case of Flint when the local politicians knowingly poisoned the water yet none was lynched from the lamp-posts. (hyperbole rather than hysteria) much less even prosecuted for criminal negligence. We mean nothing to the ruling class absolutely nothing unless we grow into a threat to their power and privilege.

    I will accept completely that i am vague on actual propositions for the Party to take. I’d like a full debate upon that point based on the premise that climate change is the most serious threat society is facing or has faced, not that, “oh, capitalists will come to the rescue when push becomes shove ..its just yet another crisis many people face, nothing unique…” Just like the business-as-usual climate change deniers, we seem to say, carrying on what we were doing in the same way. What was Einstein’s remark? “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”

    I welcome your contribution and hope that others begin to engage on this thread and give it importance i  and Sussex believes it deserves.

    #156583

    Anonymous

    Hi wez. I’m not sure I’m advocating hysteria, but I’m not far off. Mainly because the world’s leading scientists have been stating quite clearly for over fifty years that our actions are adversely affecting the planet. And now they are saying we pretty much have less than a decade of normality left before we start finally reaping the literal whirlwinds of our own destruction, here in the UK. And the proof is on the TV and your plate NOW. You’re eating plastic, breathing fumes and living through increasing extreme weather. Your food prices will rise and migration from more severe areas will add to social tensions. Not at some tomorrow, now. The future is bleak and if not wanting to face watching my children grow up in a violent race to the bottom makes me hysterical, then so be it.

     

    I don’t know what the Party should do but I know that the working class who are aware and angry aren’t waiting for or expecting normal parties to do anything. They are flocking to the Greens around the world and more radically circumventing all parties with groups like Rise Up and Extinction Rebellion. We need to be there too, same as we did with Occupy to distribute our message surely? For many reading, understanding and parties are no longer the first choice, action is.

    I firmly believe we are right and long term Socialism is the only solution. I do not believe in reforming capitalism. But in the abnormal circumstances we must take action and definately not assume business as usual.

    #156585

    Matthew Culbert
    Keymaster

    Anybody remember the ‘Peak Oil’ arguments?

    #156586

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    Indeed i do…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_phosphorus

    Our case was that even if true there were always alternatives, second-best choices as explained by that Liebig Law of Minimum, and that its effect was not really on supply but the price to obtain it.

    i don’t consider it relevant to this argument.

    We have a consensus that climate change will have an indeterminable effect on society, no-one can be sure the degree but the accepted opinion is that it will be wide-spread and life-changing.

    And it could be that it gets to the point that even if governments do take action, it could be too late and that is a possible scenario which is only too plausible according to the science hence the urgency now for reforms.

    Our position as a political party has to be clarified

    Do we say we think that capitalism cannot and will not solve the problem, only socialism can, if it is achieved in time to have an effect on the physics, and hence the immediacy of establishing it is our campaign direction.  But we could be accused of hysteria and scare-mongering if we do concentrate on the slogan “Socialism or Barbarism”, not as a nice sounding slogan but as a deadly reality

    Or do we say that this is a problem capitalism will remedy as it grows in intensity and as the ramifications for the ruling class become clearer to them.

    The latter may perhaps encourage the view that all social problems can be resolved if the political will was only there and the capitalists suspend the economic laws that drive their businesses. And as i said in a previous comment, green capitalism may well see a potential profit in geoengineering and carbon credits and government subsidies and various other reforms. I note the oil corporations are diverting investments to green enterprises. That big conference in the news that everyboy was boycotting in Saudi Arabia is a sign they were looking to find climate-friendly returns. Does capitalism have the time to readjust it global economy without creating a deep recession? That is being debated.

     

    #156587

    Matthew Culbert
    Keymaster

    We never argue that capitalism will remedy anything. Only that it will throw up some technological fixes and potential solutions but it can not escape its profit driven imperative

    Any reforms sow the seeds of the next crisis. Always too little too late.

    So the answer lies in switching over to a production for use , free access, commonly owned, rational model of society where we can input as social equals and correct problems within a sustainable life sustaining environment, which has a direct local , regional and global perspective informing value judgement calls.

    We can do more of this type of thing as well as trying to engage with others.

    An Inconvenient Question-Socialism and the Environment

    And in another vein from an article,

    Beyond cynicism

    There are no prizes for predicting that the future under capitalism will be lousy. But the prize to be gained by transcending the rut of cynical inaction is the world and its abundant wealth which will be ours—the property of all—as soon and as long as the majority cease to be in mental bondage to the illusion of the impossibility of their own freedom.

    We can engage with others on problems there,  but not to the extent of jettisoning or downgrading our case.

    We are the few making it.

    #156593

    Marcos
    Participant

    Capitalism will never resolve its own crisis, it might create some reforms, but the same reforms produce the next crisis. I don’t think we are so near to a climate collapse, and I do not think that capitalism will collapse by itself, if it continue producing profits it will not collapse

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