6 Jun 2011

Changes the rules, subvert the system, save the planet

The recent figures on CO2 emissions are sobering. Despite the fact that the world has suffered a terrible recession, emissions are still rising.

In essence all the efforts to tackle climate change have simply slowed the rise a little rather than reversing it.

The problem is that the solutions to climate change put forward at international conferences like Copenhagen and Cancun dare not deal with the real root cause of climate change – our current economic system.

Simply put, our economic system is based on the accumulation of money. There is a constant race to throw money into the system and to get more money out at the other end.

That’s what modern life is about.

From Fifa to the current conflict in Libya, the desire to accumulate cash sets the objectives for society. If something makes cash it is holy in the eyes of the economists, the media and virtually all political parties.

So climate change is tackled internationally by “market-based” methods. These fail time and time again, but more effective action would require a change in our priorities.

Our economic system is based on resource extraction. Minerals, metals and fossil fuels are taken out of the ground, made into goods and then thrown away.

The faster the cycle the more profit is made.

If you think about it for more than a minute or two, there is something rather mad about this methodology. The cost to the natural environment is immense. Right across the planet fragile ecosystems are under enormous threat.

The human cost is also huge. The value of good is based ultimately on the labour power involved, so globally neoliberal governments are competing to come up with new ways of making human beings work long and harder to produce more.


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