Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Capitalism Papers, chapter 3

(Continued from this post.) Chapter 3 addresses climate change hedging by 1st world countries at climate change conferences, including and especially the US. While many accept it as occurring they nonetheless are afraid to name global capitalism as the culprit since they have to stimulate their flailing economies. E.g., Obama will apparently support climate change research but given his political environment and a stagnant economy will contradictorily support Wall Street banks and huge oil companies as necessary to stimulate said sluggish economy. In effect corporate capitalism is the accepted paradigm for any economy and given its direct impact on climate change we need to face the fact that said capitalism has to go. But no one will go there as yet, except for the progressive 'socialists' who are afraid to own up to that title in the spin war. Ironically climate change may do the job of bringing down capitalism, but at a devastating cost to us and the planet.

He gives some example of this conundrum. Bolivia's President Morales talks a good environmental game, even naming capitalism as the culprit, but must also somehow stimulate his poor countries economy. He made a deal with Japanese mining companies to come in and extract lithium but required Bolivia to retain 60% ownership, thereby filling its coffers. The indigenous populace, and many US progressives, doubt that a healthy balance can be obtained and continue to fight such mining operations. While Morales is struggling to balance environmental and human rights with developmental he is at least naming the devil, something no other political leader to date has had the gumption to do.

Due to such countervailing forces climate summits are regressing instead of progressing. At the 2010 UN Cancun conference previously binding protocols on emission reduction was replaced by non-binding pledges. Said pledges were also grossly inadequate. Even if they were honored, a big if given their voluntary nature, the pledges would result in a 4-5 degrees C increase of global temperatures over the next century. If the pledges are not met it would be more like a 7 degree increase. Many climate scientists think even a 2 degree increase leads to some very serious consequences. And all because global capitalism must remain the driving economy in any such negotiations.

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