Capitalism won’t solve climate crisis

The concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has climbed to critical levels, with the latest measurement of this gas by Hawaiian observers puts it at 400 parts per million or the highest rate in human history to put it simply. The burning of fossil fuels such as gas and oil release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, but there has been some notable objection especially from large companies to renewable energy forms like wind and solar power which would be more sustainable. The government like many others across the world isn’t responding to growing climate change evidence, and refused to put forwards any meaningful measures to tackle an issue which affects us all.

Carbon dioxide concentrations did rise and fall a million years ago but only in recent decades has this level been too high to ignore the serious implications posed for the stability of temperatures across the globe. Extreme weather will become increasingly common and the threat posed to life on Earth continues to grow as we continue to ignore what is going on right now. Sea levels could rise by up to 40 metres (131ft) due to soaring global temperatures and it will be disastrous not only ecologically but economically too. Last year’s droughts and floods pushed up food prices with devastating effects on people who are already struggling to survive, inflation rises cut into pay prolonging the great recession in Britain and the hurricanes that battered America since 2005 cost an estimated $100bn.

Capitalist governments make vacuous promises to tackle global warming but behind our backs are trying to destroy the Kyoto treaty, and launch a divisive new drive to bolster fossil fuels here in the United Kingdom and stateside. It’s no coincidence that the campaign has been connected to a controversial and dangerous form of extracting reserves of shale gas which is even more lethal to the environment.

George Osborne’s generous tax breaks for fracking firms has demonstrated that capitalist class figureheads are only concerned with a relentless pursuit of profit – and if that involves environmental destruction so be it. Osborne wants to cut the rate of tax paid on profits on extracting shale gas from 62% to just 30%, with a very questionable justification that it would create thousands of jobs, although I’m sure that a renewable revolution could yield similar success without resorting to ecological destruction. Where is the sense in a system putting competition between multinational crooks before a collective need to protect the future of this fragile planet? Capitalism isn’t the answer to climate change but its main trigger and that is why we must move away from a profit-based system – and focus on a socialist programme that is able to resolve the climate crisis.
Daniel Pitt
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