Climate Change and Capitalism
Burning The Planet For Profit By David Cromwell “After 4.6 billion years of planetary history, we may become the first species to monitor its own extinction. In impressive detail, humankind is amassing evidence of devastating changes in the atmosphere, oceans, ice cover, land and biodiversity.
And yet mass media, politics, the education system and other realms of public inquiry demonstrate a stunning capacity to focus on what does not really matter. Meanwhile, the truly vital issues receive scant attention to the point of invisibility: namely, the parlous prospects for humanity’s survival and the root causes underlying the global environmental threat.
Current patterns of ‘development’ and consumerism, fuelled annually by billions of advertising dollars, are unsustainable. But huge corporations and powerful investors have governments and societal institutions in a stranglehold, delivering policies that demand endless ‘growth’ on a finite planet.”
“all our notions of dominating nature stem from the very real domination of human by human . . . And it is not until we eliminate domination in all its forms . . . that we will really create a rational, ecological society.” For “the conflicts within a divided humanity, structured around domination, inevitably leads to conflicts with nature. The ecological crisis with its embattled division between humanity and nature stems, above all, from divisions between human and human.” While the “rise of capitalism, with a law of life based on competition, capital accumulation, and limitless growth, brought these problems — ecological and social — to an acute point,” – Murray Bookchin, Remaking Society
Climate Change and Capitalism
On Climate Change and Social Change -Our planet is literally falling apart at the seams.
Capitalism and Climate Change – an analysis of the interconnections and why we cannot leave solutions to world leaders.
Fossil Fuel, Climate and Anti-Capitalism – Belgian socialist Daniel Tanuro argues that the dependence on the market proposed by the Stern Report as a solution to climate change can only lead to a cul-de-sac. There is only one way to escape without a bloodbath or an ecological disaster: break with the logic of the market.
Climate Change Bill – they’re havin a laugh! -A read of the Climate Change Bill demonstrates that the state is only concerned with “seeing to be seen to do something”. In reality it is all just greenwash and completely ignores the real issue of the state maintaining a belief system that says we can carry on living in the unsustainable way we do.
Business as usual – The future for the whole Earth looks horribly bleak. If worst case scenarios transpire, an inordinate number of people will die, during this century, due to the effects of global warming. In addition, up to one fourth of all species, in the same time span, will become extinct for identical reasons. As it is, 160,000 people, annually, die from its consequences, according to World Health Organization (WHO) and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. In addition, this number of deaths could reach, according to them, almost double each year starting around 2020. Moreover, up to a billion individuals, mostly children, are expected to suffer from severe malnourishment and chronic hunger indirectly caused by our planet’s increasing heat.
When will we start listening to Murray Bookchin? Facing up to global warming as a reality, not an abstraction. By now, global climate change has become a household concern, but many scientists are saying that for some ecosystems we may be past the point of repair.
We should have listened to famed social ecologist Murray Bookchin, one of the earliest harbingers of the dangers of global warming. As early as 1964, before an environmental movement even existed, Bookchin wrote: “It can be argued on very sound theoretical grounds that this growing blanket of carbon dioxide, by intercepting heat radiated from the earth, will lead to rising atmospheric temperatures, a more violent circulation of air, more destructive storm patterns, and eventually a melting of the polar ice caps (possibly in two or three centuries), rising sea levels, and the inundation of vast land.”
Climate Change – Root Causes & Radical Solutions – 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 market system.
Coming Soon: The Clash Between Capitalism and Climate Change. The End of the West as We Know It? The capitalist system is so dependent on unlimited consumption that it is by its nature incapable of demanding even small sacrifices from its present elites and populations.
Capitalism, Consumption & Climate Change – Capitalism is all about the accumulation of wealth based on the consumption of natural resources, whose availability is strictly limited. We are also exceeding the maximum amounts of pollution or waste products, such as carbon dioxide emissions.
Rising Tide North America (RTNA) is a decentralized network of groups and individuals organizing against the root causes of climate change.
We are committed to Earth-centered, community-based solutions to the climate crisis that foster local autonomy and self-sufficiency. We are part of the global movement against climate chaos and for social and environmental justice. We believe climate change can only be addressed by exposing the intersections between the oppressions of humans and the earth. The “natural” disasters caused by climate change amplify the injustices inherent in a capitalist, racist, and patriarchal society; we must respond to these disasters in ways that do not continue that oppression.
Our view on the symptoms, science and solutions to climate change
Emissions of carbon dioxide, mostly from oil, gas and coal are rapidly raising the temperature and changing the weather. This is happening faster than at virtually any time in the Earth’s history. Most scientists, and even governments, agree that if we keep to business-as-usual then people, society in general and the ecosystems we all rely on for food and water will not be able to adapt to such rapid changes.
Climate Change – a crisis of collective denial? Firstly, it is important to realise what we are facing. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) tells us that we are looking at between 1.4 and 5.8 degrees centigrade of warming this century. We know what these figures mean but it is very hard to make any sense of them. Some scientists even say that we are looking at 10 or 12 degrees of warming this century. Again, it just sounds like an alteration in your bath water. It’s not something that is easy to connect with. To make it easier to understand, we can examine what happened the last time we had a 6 degree rise in temperature, which was around 251 million years ago, in the Permian Era.
It’s capitalism or a habitable planet – you can’t have both. There is no meaningful response to climate change without massive social change. A cap on this and a quota on the other won’t do it. Tinker at the edges as we may, we cannot sustain earth’s life-support systems within the present economic system.
Capitalism and Media
Corporate Media’s Threat to Democracy “Whoever controls the media, controls the peoples’ minds.”
What Makes Mainstream Media Mainstream – Noam Chomsky “What are the elite media, the agenda-setting ones? The New York Times and CBS, for example. Well, first of all, they are major, very profitable, corporations. Furthermore, most of them are either linked to, or outright owned by, much bigger corporations, like General Electric, Westinghouse, and so on. They are way up at the top of the power structure of the private economy which is a very tyrannical structure. Corporations are basically tyrannies, hierarchic, controled from above. If you don’t like what they are doing you get out. The major media are just part of that system.”
Media Control by Naom Chomsky..Let me begin by counter-posing two different conceptions of democracy. One conception of democracy has it that a democratic society is one in which the public has the means to participate in some meaningful way in the management of their own affairs and the means of information are open and free….
An alternative conception of democracy is that the public must be barred from managing of their own affairs and the means of information must be kept narrowly and rigidly controlled. That may sound like an odd conception of democracy, but it’s important to understand that it is the prevailing conception….
Concentration of media ownership – (also known as media consolidation) is a commonly used term among media critics, policy makers, and others to characterize ownership structure of mass media industries. These individual media industries are often referred to as a ‘Media institution’.
The propaganda model is a theory advanced by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky that alleges systemic biases in the mass media and seeks to explain them in terms of structural economic causes.
Guardians of Power (book synopsis)Can a corporate media system be expected to tell the truth about a world dominated by corporations? Can newspapers, including the ‘liberal’ “Guardian” and the “Independent,” tell the truth about catastrophic climate change – about its roots in mass consumerism and corporate obstructionism – when they are themselves profit-oriented businesses dependent on advertisers for 75 per cent of their revenues? Can the BBC tell the truth about UK government crimes in Iraq when its senior managers are appointed by the government?
Climate Change - “Welcome to Mars (or north Korea)!” The Great Media Silence on Causes and Solutions “One fundamental goal of any well-crafted indoctrination program is to direct attention elsewhere, away from effective power, its roots, and the disguises it assumes.” (Noam Chomsky, ‘Deterring Democracy’, Vintage, 1992, p.303)
turn up the heat – My fear is not that people will stop talking about climate change. My fear is that they will talk us to Kingdom Come.
Few corporations or public figures are now stupid enough to deny that climate change is happening, or that we need to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases. Instead, most of them now claim to be on the side of the angels. They make public statements or publish reports designed to persuade us that they are “working towards sustainability”.
Green Wash Guide - This guide to recognising environmental window dressing comes from Corporate Watch’s Exposing Corporate Greenwash Activist Tool Kit(www.corpwatch.org/)
Climate Change, BP Greenwash And The Press – The prize for the most audacious corporate “therapy” attempting to sell a climate killing company as a friend of the earth surely goes to BP and its ‘beyond petroleum’ campaign (apparently the lower case is more reassuring to the public). Last month, John Kenney, a creative director at an advertising agency, explained his role in BP’s image transformation in the New York Times. Kenney revealed that he had initially felt inspired by the brief:
“Think of it. Going beyond petroleum. The best and brightest, at a company that can provide practically unlimited resources, trying to find newer, smarter, cleaner ways of powering the world.” Wonderful! But alas there was a problem: “they didn’t go beyond petroleum. They are petroleum.”
Prepare for the Greenwash. The single most effective – and incontrovertible – way of dealing with climate change is to drastically limit the quantity of fossil fuels being extracted and burnt. Providing support for communities who are resisting the efforts of the industries to extract and burn ever-increasing quantities is one of the most important strategies in dealing with climate change. Yet it is the least encouraged because, unlike carbon offsets, it involves posing a critical challenge to the established systems of corporate power and societal organisation.
Shell’s Climate Greenwash the Hague — It is virtually an unspoken irony here that the climate change negotiations are taking place in Royal Dutch Shell’s home town. Shell, one of the world’s largest oil corporations, is responsible for a great deal of global warming gasses. For instance, the CO2 emissions from the oil Shell produces are greater than those coming from all of Central America.
The Climate Greenwash Vanguard: Shell and BPAmoco – Shell and BP Amoco, both formerly ardent critics of global warming theory, have shifted their strategies dramatically. These masters of climate greenwash have undergone expensive corporate makeovers and now present themselves as leaders in reducing CO2 emissions and supporting renewable energy. Their goal is to prevent public opinion from turning against them, as happened numerous times in the past decade.
Moreover, by giving the impression that they can solve the climate threat themselves, they aim to avoid government regulation and, more generally, any public debate about the desirability of corporate-led globalisation. In this regard, the two oil giants are seeking to completely transform their image from oil companies with flawed environmental and social records, to ‘energy companies’ committed to taking action to combat climate change, without having to dramatically change their behaviour.
Fossil fuel giants branded ‘climate chaos profiteers’ in the wake of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report.
Over the weekend, actions up and down the country and beyond, have targeted dangerous ‘greenwash’ desperately pushed by corporations and politicians.The IPCC, an expert panel of the worlds scientists, released a report on Friday warning of world temperature rises of as much as 6.4C (with 4c most likely) by the end of the century. The reports findings show a 4C rise would mean a 10% loss in global food production due to draught, increased flooding, water shortages, and an increased risk of diseases such as malaria. Most frightening of all, we risk run away climate change.
While the world wakes up to the magnitude of climate chaos, Shell and Exxon Mobil last week announced record breaking profits. Shell, for example, raked in an unprecedented $23 billion, and invested $15 billion back into unlocking new oil and gas reserves. Exon Mobil’s annual profit jumped to an unprecedented $36.13bn – 42% up on last year, primarily from the sale of fossil fuels. With the figures laid out so clearly the nauseating hypocrisy spouted by corporations and politicians has spurred action from Paris to Aberdeen.
Profits of Doom – Greenbacks Galore in Greenwash feeding frenzy Soaring temperatures, water droughts, war in the Middle East and a mad scramble for dwindling energy supplies… Despite facing climate chaos, politicians – and the corporations they serve – continue as if nothing is happening to our ecosystem. Instead, the multinationals are rampantly exploiting away so that consumers can enjoy breakthroughs like cheaper plasma TV sets. And now climatologists are predicting that global temperatures will rise quicker than previously expected, as tipping points are reached and irreversible changes to our climate are just round the corner.
“Free nature, in my view, can only begin to emerge when we live in a fully participatory society literally free of privilege and domination. Only then will we be able to rid ourselves of the idea of dominating nature and fulfill our promise for acting as a moral, rational, and creative force in natural as well social evolution.” Murray Bookchin, The Ecology of Freedom
“hierarchy impacts not only on us but also our surroundings. The environmental crisis we face is a result of the hierarchical power structures at the heart of our society, structures which damage the planet’s ecology at least as much as they damage humans. The problems within society, the economic, ethnic, cultural, and gender conflicts, among many others, lie at the core of the most serious ecological dislocations we face. The way human beings deal with each other as social beings is crucial to addressing the ecological crisis. Ultimately, ecological destruction is rooted in the organisation of our society for a degraded humanity can only yield a degraded nature (as capitalism and our hierarchical history have sadly shown). ” Anarchist FAQ