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Mitigating Climate Change: Capitalist Sham?

| Wednesday April 30th, 2008 | 4 Comments

down2earthcover.jpgThose that have been instrumental in building the institutional edifice to mitigate climate change and facilitate greenhouse gas emissions reductions come in for a severe and thorough verbal lashing in Down to Earth, a publication put out by New Delhi’s Centre for Science and Environment.
As climate change, environmental degradation and economic development have gained currency the resulting international processes and organizational structures have been hijacked by the international political, media and corporate jet set, CSE claims. Worse, the resulting measures taken to date are not only ineffectual but serve only to further enrich those that are primarily responsible for these problems in the first place, i.e. the captains of multinational business, industry, political leaders and the media.


The Politics of Green
“The Centre for Science and Environment, in its 1999 publication on global environmental governance, Green Politics, clearly showed all global environmental conventions were designed to secure northern business in the future and had little to do with environment or sustainability,” argues Sunita Narain, the CSE’s director. “This has sharpened; industries and developed nations are looking at a new business opportunity in the time of climate change. The results are showing.
“Without any noteworthy emissions cut, the rush for biofuel to manage emissions has already created a food crisis. All technofixes – biofuel, GM crop or nuclear power – will create the next generation of crisis, because they ignore the fundamental problems of capitalism as a system that ignores justice and promotes inequity.”
Though you may disagree, wholly or in part, the points raised and claims leveled are fundamental, and serious enough to warrant a long, honest and thorough examination of the effects of mechanisms designed to address these issues and the underlying motivations and objectives of those promoting them, as well as our own individual roles and responsibility for the results.
Won’t Get Fooled Again?
down2earthnrega.jpg
The CSE aims some very sharp arrows straight into the heart of capitalism and global leaders and institutions’ efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change…and in a fluid and engaging, if caustic, style.
“In recent months, Delhi has seen unprecedented growth in star foreign visitors flying in by night to advise us on the impending dangers of climate change and hand out ‚Äòhow to’ manuals on reducing the threat,” Nurita wrote in a list-serve email post.
“These visitors have Indian friends who have just heard of this strange rogue phenomenon and find it damn cute to organize ‚Äòclimate balls’ and ‚Äòclimate receptions’. The star guests are invariably former heads of states historically identified as the greatest climate criminals. The hosts are the business class, national or global, whose profit maximizing activities contribute to this crisis in nature.
“Is it politically correct to smell a rat? Isn’t it nice the criminals have reformed? Ideally, the best result can be obtained if the worst offenders, super-developed states and the global industrial class participate. But the realpolitik is that the climate agenda has been hijacked by the business class. Global warming must be managed by reproducing, not questioning the very political economy that created it.”


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  • Peyton Ruse

    Are you sure “capitalist” is the right word to demonize? This seems like more politics and elitism to me than anything to do with capitalism, per se. Capitalism is neither good nor bad, it is simply a medium of exchange. When a political system gets tied up by elites and un-democratic governments where the people are poorly educated, then you get problems like this. Really has nothing to do with capitalism, but aside from that, this sound’s like a great read with some darn good points.

  • John

    I have to disagree with Peyton while putting in my kudos to this post. Capitalism is both good and bad, bad [i]because[/i] it’s the [u]only[/u] medium of exchange, answerable to no criteria other than the economy of exchange and the prospect of continuity of exchange. If this wasn’t so, all the money spent on lobbying wouldn’t be worth it. The american coal industry’s skirting of the New Source Review provision of the Clean Air Act is a perfect example…
    Regarding the following quote –
    “When a political system gets tied up by elites and un-democratic governments where the people are poorly educated, then you get problems like this. Really has nothing to do with capitalism,”
    This is specially poignant if regarded in terms of our own government, which has gotten tied up and acts less democratic all the time. Add to that the fact that average adult in this country reads at an eighth grade level, and you might start to feel it in your gut as I do…
    Inasmuch as capitalism sets the agenda, it has to be accountable for the result. We need a paradigm shift on the criteria of success. Proudhon comes to mind, but I won’t go into that.

  • Jock of Shock

    Looks like we have all forgotten Rule One – “Follow the Money”.
    It seems that the Green Money Machine is now the establishment position, volubly supported by active greenies too naive to understand how this issue fits with economic and social agendas far removed from the “climate science” industries.
    At least the coming “recession” will straighten out priorities, and reduce the cash appeal of green scams like carbon trading.
    Do your own research, people. You’ve been conned, and your good intentions have been taken advantage of.

  • Terry Letson

    Jock of Shock – who’s conned who? I feel you’re going somewhere with this, but I’m not following.