Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

Global warming: Profit system guilty!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Capitalism is screwing up the world! Scientists say that because of global warming, land and sea species are dying out faster than previously predicted, the polar ice cap is melting, glaciers are rapidly retreating and the permafrost is thawing – releasing more greenhouse gas emissions….

Big business is responsible for this environmental crisis with its ruthless pursuit of greater profits. As a consequence, industry is pumping out more greenhouse gases, heating up global temperatures, thereby radically altering the climate, leading to more extreme weather events.

The intensity of devastating hurricane Katrina is attributed to the abnormally high water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico.

Global warming, along with expanding commercial developments such as logging, mining, tourism and agribusiness, is causing species decline and environmental degradation.

A report commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (UK) predicts a massive decline in species. Last year the science magazine Nature estimated that 37% of terrestrial species could become extinct by 2050 – including vital fish stocks.

Yet despite the overwhelming evidence for global warming, capitalist governments (whose environmental agenda is set by the oil giants and other branches of industry) continue to be in denial of a causal link between industrial pollution and global warming.

President George Bush (the US is the biggest polluter), Australia’s prime minister John Howard and Japan’s premier Junichiro Koizumi continue to argue that there is no proof that climate change is man made. They refuse to sign up to the pathetically weak protocols of the Kyoto treaty designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2% by 2012.

ExxonMobil, the world’s biggest oil company, has increased its greenhouse gas emissions after supporting George Bush’s refusal to sign up to Kyoto. In its defence ExxonMobil says it will start eliminating gas flare-offs in Nigeria’s oil fields by 2006. But the first attempts to outlaw this damaging practice started back in 1969 – 36 years ago!

Kyoto was never going to reverse global warming – it simply established a ‘market’ for trading carbon emission allowances between signatory states. In fact, the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution says a 60% cut in global emissions by 2050 is needed.

And despite British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s public utterances calling for a tougher alternative to Kyoto, the UK is likely to fail to meet its obligations for reducing CO2 gas emissions. In fact, Blair threatened to pull out of the Emissions Trading Scheme if the allowances to industry weren’t increased.

It’s abundantly clear that the leaders of the world’s richest and most powerful countries are not part of the solution to global warming but remain part of the problem. As long as the profit-driven capitalist system exists the poorest people and wider environment will increasingly suffer. Instead of climate change, we need socialist change!

By Dave Carr


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