Sunday, December 08, 2019

Against the destruction of the environment

Climate change has loomed large in the news. A great environmental and social catastrophe is brewing. There is now very little doubt that it has become a real threat to the future of human civilisation. Depressingly, it appears that humanity may walk into the environmental catastrophe forewarned and with eyes wide open. The problem is that there are several features of the current capitalist system make the environment’s problems very difficult to address. Capitalism is  based around the idea of competition and the marketplace. Businesses survive and thrive in so far as they can exploit advantages over one another. Rather than attempting to solve the problem, many of the most powerful corporations in the world have focused instead on identifying ways of getting around any measures put in place to address it. The second major problem is that the world is divided up into a separate individual nations or trading blocs who compete with one another for commercial dominance. All solutions to the problem of greenhouse gases will inevitably cause some reduction in economic strength. Any country that imposes strict measures to address the problem runs the risk of falling behind its competitors economically. Hence, international agreements have been routinely flouted by powerful countries whenever they think that they will harm their position compared to their competitors. The over-riding problem is that our world is organised according to competitive principles and maximising the profits of the wealthy. Given this reality, common problems that require cooperation to fix are impossible to agree and achieve. If we can get rid of capitalism, halting and reversing climate change will be possible.

Under all the mass of excuses and buck-passing, the reality is clearly visible. The United Nations COPs have failed.They have produced inadequate and ineffective initiatives and a complete lack of commitment. Yet with each new summit the politicians miraculously become courageous and far-sighted champions of truth and justice while still double-dealing and making their special pleading. Always and again and  again words, it is only words, to make themselves look good. They can't agree on anything meaningful at all. How can they talk about the environment, when they are not even been able to guarantee the survival of millions of people who live without the bare necessities for a decent standard of life? They still hide behind euphemisms like "man made", "human activities", than to say what we all know is true. The environmental crisis is caused by capitalism and unlike its economic crises this is not one it is able to resolve. Thus their claim that we as individuals are to blame for the crisis. We see it in the lifestyle campaigns to make us all responsible for being part of problem.
The capitalists always delay the required action. Capitalist “solutions” to global-warming pushes the cost onto those least able to pay. The prospects for any agreement that is capable enough to slow down much less halt climate change is clear - the climate crisis cannot be solved within capitalism, and that environmental emergency is intrinsic to the capitalist system. This is because capitalism is based on constant expansion. They know that no-one can force them to keep their promises, unless, of course, we the workers and the dispossessed and disinherited of the world take our lives back into our own hands.

Since the days of the Industrial Revolution, there have been countless ecological disasters caused due to the thirst for profit. .Only working people can prevent global warming, by taking control of the means of production from the capitalists to close down the fossil fuel industry and convert to renewable energy sources. For this reason, the Socialist Party urges all  climate activists to take part in the struggle to overthrow capitalism and build a free, fair and just society. We need to create a system which puts humankind's need for a functioning ecosystem before capitalism's need for maximal profit. To achieve this, the environmental movement and workers' movement must organise to create a new society because a society governed by capitalists will never solve the environmental crisis. This cannot be done by carbon credits, green capitalism, cap and capture on industrial pollution, but by the end of capitalism and the liberation of humankind. We need a real Green Revolution and that means a Socialist Revolution.

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