Capitalism and relevance to climate change

Gezwin Stanley (if that is the name of the writer of the WordPress site gezwinstanley) does a small attempt to hold back the dark and summon the dawn, and seems to tackle some interesting points,though sometimes wanders off too far and presents too long articles, which better would have been divided in chapters or sub-articles.

For us today his article “Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it.” receives our interest and has some points we find interesting to share.

He looks at the relevance to climate change which is (according to him) likely already obvious. He writes:

Insane as it may be, even if collectively it threatens the extinction of human civilisation, singly, as individuals, organisations, businesses and countries, it might make sense for each not to worry too much about climate change. {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

Such an attitude of ignoring what is happening in nature does not show much compassion for other living beings in nature. He then poses some questions, as:

Why, for example, pay for a more expensive carbon-neutral energy supply when a fossil fuel one is cheaper?
Why not let others make the sacrifice, allowing us to be richer? {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

For him

It is therefore clear that the “sinks” for our carbon emissions, the atmosphere and the oceans, are really just another “commons” liable to “tragedy”, and that we are all trapped in a giant “prisoner’s dilemma” but one where, if we take the selfish course, we end up not with a custodial sentence, but a sentence of death. {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

He continues:

This is why addressing the issue cannot be left to individual action. Action cannot be entirely voluntary, because then the selfish will just try and freeload on the altruistic. Collective action is essential, from subjecting entities that don’t change their ways to peer pressure or “socialised sanctions” such as boycotts, through public measures such as regulations, carbon pricing and green subsidies, to directly taking control of key industries in order to force rapid decarbonisation. {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

We can agree with the fact that:

Coordinated efforts are needed all the way up to the global level: carbon dioxide is no respecter of borders. Individual actions alone won’t work, and the extremity of the emergency means that only the more rigorous measures towards the end of the preceding list are likely to be effective enough quickly enough to avoid catastrophe. {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

He looks at the tonnes per capita of carbon dioxide emissions and notes:

The 2020 Oxfam “Confronting Carbon Inequality” report estimates that “from 1990 to 2015, a critical period in which annual emissions grew 60% and cumulative emissions doubled… the richest 10% of the world’s population (c.630 million people) were responsible for 52% of the cumulative carbon emissions – depleting the global carbon budget by nearly a third (31%) in those 25 years alone,” while “the richest 1% (c.63 million people) alone were responsible for 15% of cumulative emissions, and 9% of the carbon budget – twice as much as the poorest half of the world’s population.” {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

And remarks:

This shades into another discussion. If greenhouse gas emissions are associated with inequality, especially when the rich get even richer, because wealth begets wealth, and then end up consuming more and more, and if capitalism exacerbates inequality, and ruthlessly strives for economic growth, to what extent is capitalism itself responsible for climate change? Or is the crisis just an inevitable consequence of human technological development, coupled with easily accessible, energy-rich fossil fuels and an understandable desire for a better life, especially during the prolonged period when the full import of greenhouse gas emissions was unknown, and with a large helping of human short termism added into the mix to make matters even worse? {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

That question brings us to another chapter, facing capitalism versus communism and Marxism.

Continue reading:  Capitalism and The environmental record of the communist world

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4 Comments

Filed under Ecological affairs, Economical affairs, Welfare matters

4 responses to “Capitalism and relevance to climate change

  1. Pingback: Capitalism and The environmental record of the communist world | From guestwriters

  2. Pingback: State capitalism and climate emergency | From guestwriters

  3. Pingback: Arnold Schwarzenegger on reducing air pollution and greenhouse gases | Marcus Ampe's Space

  4. Pingback: Activists rally at U.N. climate talks – Some View on the World

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