How many fake promises and how much false hope are we going to be fed before we realise the truth and start understanding the facts? The climate is changing and it is changing the world we know and love. Our land, homes and food are at risk. With nearly a billion people already living in poverty, it is also the single biggest threat to the fight against hunger. Sea levels are rising, glaciers are melting, forests are burning, hurricanes are ruining islands and coastal cities and deserts are expanding as the climate crisis wreaks havoc around the world.If the environmental crisis is to be solved, this system must go. What is required is political action - political action aimed at replacing this system by a new and different one. If we continue to abuse the land by taking without giving back, the situation will become chronic and irreversible.
So what stands in the way? Why isn't this done? Big Business and agri-industrial corporations portray themselves as part of the solution to the climate crisis. But there is no way to reconcile what's needed to heal our planet with their commitment to profits and growth. Five years ago business took an initiative on deforestation. The New York Declaration on Forests, championed by the world's largest buyer of palm oil, Unilever, was supposed to put a major dent in tropical deforestation. Instead, rates of tree cover loss have soared. Global financial firms have been buying up vast swathes of Cerrado lands and converting them to mega-farms. Another initiative, Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture, the handiwork of Yara, the world's top nitrogen fertiliser producer and one of the planet's worst emitters of greenhouse gases. It was the fertiliser industry's PR response to the growing movement for a real climate solution based on fertiliser-free agroecological farming. The trick worked, for a while. Global production of nitrogen fertiliser rose steadily over the next few years. But the most recent IPCC report pointed to nitrogen fertilisers as one of the most dangerous and underestimated contributors to the climate crisis, and new research is showing that the industry has vastly underestimated its own emissions. Climate activists are targeting Yara because of its multi-million euro lobbying efforts to green-wash industrial agriculture, which they say is one of the main drivers of the climate breakdown. The top 20 meat and dairy companies emit more greenhouse gases than Germany, Europe’s biggest climate polluter. But none of these companies have credible action plans to reduce their emissions and only 4 of the top 35 companies are even reporting their emissions! Instead of taking meaningful action to cut back on production, several companies have been making a lot of noise about their minor investments in plant-based alternatives. People are not being fooled. The IPCC now says food supply chains drives up to 37% of global human-made GHG emissions.
The world will need to shift to more sustainable food systems which make more efficient use of land, water and other inputs and sharply reduce their use of fossil fuels, leading to a drastic cut of agricultural green-house gas emissions, greater conservation of biodiversity, and a reduction of waste. Under the present economic system, production is not geared to meeting human needs but rather to the accumulation of monetary wealth out of profits. As a result, not only are basic needs far from satisfied but much of what is produced is pure waste from this point of view—for example all the resources involved in commerce and finance, the mere buying and selling of things and those poured into armaments. The whole system of production, from the methods employed to the choice of what to produce, is distorted by the imperative drive to pursue economic growth for its own sake and to give priority to seeking profits to fuel this growth without consideration for the longer term factors that ecology teaches are vitally important. The result is an economic system governed by blind economic laws which oblige decision-makers, regardless of their personal sentiments, to plunder, pillage and pollute
“Business-as-usual” is not an option. Power must be taken away from corporations and put back into the hands of the people and communities. Climate scientists must come to realise that the time has come to talk about people, not figures, graphs and statistics. Climate change will not be until the question of who controls our future is resolved. The world will continue to wait for meaningful action by those in power. Our ruling class are in fact unable to alter their way of doing things even when they want to. Some say the corporations will invest in the future (alternative energy) meanwhile others say corporations will hold on to the past (fossil fuels.) It is ending capitalism and its over-riding priority of making profits which is in fact our only hope and our only solution. The outcome of so many conferences and summits reveals how the planet is subordinate to institutions of profit. Non-binding pledges simply are not strong enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the rate demanded. Profit is in fact the biggest stumbling block. Global warming is a world problem requiring a world solution. This is not going to happen under capitalism. Something may well be attempted, but it will be too little, too late. Anything short of revolution and the abolition of capitalism is minimising the issue and downplaying its severity. Anything short of a radical change of the worldwide economic and political structures that re-entrenches the corporate and state control of the economy is a waste of time which dooms civilisation. The only framework within which the problem can be solved is where the Earth’s resources have become the common heritage of all. Then there will be no capitalist vested interests standing in the way nor any market forces working against a solution.
A choice has to be made. It is no longer a matter of ‘socialism or capitalism’. The choice now is between world socialism and civilisation collapse. There is no middle ground. Regardless of a possible environmental apocalypse, capitalism reigns where profits trumps the common good and its business as usual.