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(en) Ireland, Anarchist journal Workers Solidarty #92 - Climate Change

Date Thu, 29 Jun 2006 07:38:28 +0300


Root Causes & Radical Solutions In light of growing concern over the
rate of climate change Cian Lynch gives his views on some of the
solutions being proposed. The recent spate of unusually destructive
hurricanes in the US and the severe floods in Eastern Europe over
the last 2 years have seen the climate change issue climbing the
headlines once more. A special report in Time magazine acknowledged
that the "serious debate" about whether climate is, or is not occuring,
has ended. There is now agreement even among skeptics that climate
change is real and that human activity is causing it. Of course the most
important issue is whether it is possible to significantly slow or
reverse this phenomenon, and if it is, what are the actions
we need to take? This is where we begin to most
clearly see the bias of the mainstream media
emerge. Elsewhere in little "green" columns
around the media, journalists suggest that indi-
vidual solutions like "eating organic food", "plant-
ing a tree" or using energy efficent lightbulbs will
save the planet. This is a myth, and a dangerous
one at that. These are all market choices, made
within an economy that is based on ever increas-
ing growth and as such, these individualistic,
"environmentally friendly" shopping choices
do not even begin to tackle the root causes of
environmental problems. In fact, as these prod-
ucts become more successful, they are opening
up new markets for these goods and increasing
overall economic growth.
The conclusion that is so strenously avoided by
media from Time magazine to the Guardian and
the Irish Times, is that in fact the primary cause of
Climate Change is the inherent drive to constantly
increase corporate profit within a capitalist mar-
ket system. Time magazine offers an opinion poll
on possible ways to reduce climate change that
reveals very little : two options involve increas-
ing taxes (obviously few people opted for these)
and two more popular options that involved
giving companies tax breaks to develop alterna-
tive energy sources. However, nothing substantial
was offered to back up the implied claim that our
current energy demands can be met by non-fossil
fuel alternatives.
The best that the liberal consensus has to offer is
the ailing Kyoto protocol, which most climate sci-
entists had regarded as being more of a symbolic
victory than anything that would make serious
inroads into slowing
it is clear now that most countries are not on
track even to meet these extremely conservative
objectives. The 15 longest standing members of
the EU (which includes Ireland) had agreed to
reduce emissions by 8% by 2010 but are currently
predicted to miss this target by 1.6%. The US, the
world's biggest contributor to global warming,
actually walked out of the Kyoto talks in Montreal
in December 2005, and has only committed to
future talks on the stipulation that the dialogue
"will not open any negotiations leading to new
commitments". The astounding complacency
of liberal environmentalists in the face of this is
extremely worrying ­ Greenpeace International's
political director Steve Sawyer called the meet-
ing "historic" and said it had delivered "just about
everything" he wanted.
Clearly, neither governments nor corporations are
prepared to take the necessary steps to change
course from our current catastrophic direction
towards real, sustainable alternatives. We can
only achieve a sustainable world if we work to
build a genuinely sustainable economy, one that
produces for need and not to blindly accumulate
profits with terrible results for the environment.


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