Workers Party President, Cllr. Ted Tynan, has told a climate change rally in Cork, held to coincide with the COP 26 meetings in Glasgow, that capitalism, its insane overproduction and its relentless pursuit of profit at any cost, is the overwhelmingly critical factor in global warning and the biggest threat to the safety of our environment.
“Nobody should be fooled into believing that this global, and human created, crisis can be laid anywhere but at the door of capitalism, the multi national organisations and the corporate tycoons.”. Ted said .
“Capitalism has always sought to make workers pay for the consequences of its actions and distract from its culpability”, he said . “It is attempting to do exactly that now by telling us that each individual must reduce their own carbon footprint to save the planet, while it continues to plunder the worlds assets, its forests and its natural resources in the pursuit of profit”.
“Only a socialist system can save the environment, protect the planet and secure our future. “Red is Green”, he said, “a better, safer life is possible, but only in a socialist society”.
Speaking at the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres told delegates that “…addiction to fossil fuels is pushing humanity to the brink”, saying “we face a stark choice – either we stop it, or it stops us. We are digging our own graves.”
The warning is indeed stark, and the UN Secretary General has science on his side. Research by climate scientists at the NASA Goddard Space Institute indicates that if global warming rises above 2°C (relative to the pre-industrial era), sea levels could rise by several metres, submerging many coastal areas around the world.
Arctic summer sea ice and permafrost will disappear, which will further accelerate global heating by releasing methane, which is eight times more toxic than carbon dioxide, resulting in the extinction of up to 30 percent of the species that currently exist and increasing the chances of a sudden collapse of the earth’s ecological systems.
Guterres is right to say that we face a stark choice. But his analysis doesn’t go far enough. ‘We’ are not ‘addicted’ to oil. This is not a lifestyle issue, and ‘we’ are not all in this as equals. The US military emits more greenhouse gases than Portugal or Sweden. If the Pentagon was a country its emissions would make it the world’s 55th largest emitter of greenhouse gases.
Similarly, according to a 2017 report,100 huge companies have been responsible for 71% of global greenhouse gas emissions since 1998. But to focus only on these enormously destructive polluters would be to miss the most important point.
Capitalism as a system is based on over production and continuous growth. This requires the consumption of fossil fuels, which results in growing emissions of greenhouse gases that threaten to bring about global social and ecological catastrophes, on an even greater scale than those that are already evident. Only a social change to production for need rather than for profit can bring any hope of positive and substantive environmental change.
In terms of hope, the stakes are so enormously high and the projected outcomes of ‘capitalism as usual’ are so terrible that, that people will either react with despair or apathy and accept the pseudo ‘lifestyle’ and market-based ‘solutions’ offered by all shades of pro-capitalist opinion.
However, another world is possible. The alternative is to replace the Capitalist system and establish Socialism to save the planet and life on earth.