Saturday, September 07, 2019

Can we save the planet?

Two weeks to go to the global climate strike. The demonstrations on Sept. 20 will kick off a week of action that coincides with a United Nations climate summit in New York City. Xiye Bastida of Fridays For Future NYC explained that the global strike on Sept. 20 "isn't a goal, it's a catalyst for future action. It's a catalyst for the engagement of humanity in the protection of Earth," Bastida continued. "It's a catalyst for realizing the intersectionality that the climate crisis has with every other issue. It's a catalyst for the culmination of hundreds of climate activists who won't stop fighting until the climate emergency is over."

Future Coalition executive director Katie Eder said Friday that "our message will be clear—we must act now to avoid the worst effects of climate change because all of our lives depend upon it. We are the new face of the climate revolution and we demand just and equitable climate action."

To profit as much as possible from fossil fuels before markets fall under the weight of climate chaos and better alternatives, industry and its allies tell us fracked gas is a climate solution. It’s not.

A new study shows it’s as bad as or worse for the climate than other fossil fuels. Cornell University researchers found alarming increases in atmospheric methane since 2008 can likely be pinned on the U.S. shale oil and gas boom. Cornell professor Robert Howarth maintains methane emissions from the (mostly fracked) natural gas industry are much higher than industry and government report. Research by the David Suzuki Foundation and St. Francis Xavier University found that’s the case in B.C. Other researchers conclude methane emissions are underreported in Alberta.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas responsible for one-quarter of current global heating. It only stays in the atmosphere for about 12 years before it breaks down and gets reabsorbed into natural systems, but it causes a lot of damage while it’s there. It traps heat at a rate close to 85 times higher than carbon dioxide over 20 years. CO2 not absorbed by vegetation and oceans — where it causes acidification and other problems — can remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years.

Apart from plant- and animal-based sources, it’s also produced by leaks and “flaring” during fossil fuel development, especially fracking. He concludes that “shale-gas production in North America over the past decade may have contributed more than half of all of the increased methane emissions from fossil fuels globally and approximately one-third of the total increased emissions from all sources globally over the past decade.”

Because methane only remains in the atmosphere for a short period but has enormous impact, reducing or eliminating methane emissions is a quick, effective way to lessen the threat of climate chaos. Yet the inordinate amount of power the fossil fuel industry holds over many governments means there’s little appetite to even admit there’s a problem, let alone solve it. The U.S. government is reversing regulation of methane leaks from oil and gas.

The cause of our climate cries is our economic system. Capitalism exists on commercial growth and market expansion to accumulate more and more capital and acquire increased profits. It misuses the world’s resources, creates needless waste and produces pollution. What is the environmentalist progressive answer to this? It refuses to acknowledge the problem. The Green New Deal, government's measures to legislate and regulate capitalism. Although highlighting the ecological problems of the current economic system it does not offer genuine a practical plan to end the economic problems producing climate change.The environmentalist rhetoric is based upon low-carbon lifestyles for all and ethical calls for investors to use their money for sustainable ends in a green capitalism run on renewables, where there will be employment for all, with workers on shorter hours and in high-paid green jobs and democratised workplaces. Thus the Green New Deal reveals its failure to confront the political and economic realities of the capitalist system. It is this system that is driving the planet to climatic catastrophes. Going against what motors capitalists, will result in recession, putting companies out of business, creating the hardships of unemployment and cuts in social services. The ruling class are unable to keep the economy functioning and solve climate breakdown at the same time. The Green New Deal perpetuates the laws of capitalism. Its proponents do not understand the basic characteristics of how capitalism works. Well-meaning reformers with good intentions cannot cure climate change. The Green New Dealers do not offer a feasible plan. The climate crisis is not a simple problem of government policy; it’s a problem of capitalism. There are inescapable economic and political consequences of capitalism that drives global warming. The Green New Deal or any other similar programme – spells disaster and possible runaway climate change. 

The Green New Deal maintains the fundamental relationships of the capitalist economic system, and is incompatible with any sustainable green future. The climate crisis should wake us all up to fake solutions and false promises. We need to rethink the nature of society that we seek for real solutions and reconsider. We cannot trust to blindly put our faith in political parties. We have desperately little time left to avoid total social collapse and must begin organising immediately. Revolution can win the survival of humanity on this planet. Business-as-usual cannot continue. Wake up, people, and understand why we suffer unnecessarily.

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