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Let's hope not, or how could reasonable people justify the destruction of humanity and nature by economic growth for the purpose of ever increasing overconsumption for the sake of a reckless minority?

The article is a bit long, but if I don't copy it here, it would be gone by tomorrow. The paper replaces them every day.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/News/29Mar2008_news20.php

Quote:There is now a solid consensus in the scientific community that if the change in global mean temperature in the 21st century exceeds 2.4 degrees Celsius, changes in the planet's climate will be large-scale, irreversible and disastrous.

Moreover, the window of opportunity for action that will make a difference is narrow - that is, the next 10 to 15 years.

Throughout the North, however, there is strong resistance to changing the systems of consumption and production that have created the problem in the first place and a preference for "techno-fixes," such as "clean" coal, carbon sequestration and storage, industrial-scale biofuels, and nuclear energy.

Globally, transnational corporations and other private actors resist government-imposed measures such as mandatory caps, preferring to use market mechanisms like the buying and selling of "carbon credits," which critics say simply amounts to a licence for corporate polluters to keep on polluting.

In the South, there is little willingness on the part of the southern elite to depart from the high-growth, high-consumption model inherited from the North, and a self-interested conviction that the North must first adjust and bear the brunt of adjustment before the South takes any serious step towards limiting its greenhouse gas emissions.

Contours of the Challenge

In the climate change discussions, the principle of "common but differentiated responsibility" is recognised by all parties, meaning that the global North must shoulder the brunt of the adjustment to the climate crisis since it is the one whose economic trajectory has brought it about.

It is also recognised that the global response should not compromise the right to develop of the countries of the global South.

The devil, however, is in the details. As Martin Khor of Third World Network has pointed out, the global reduction of 80% in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2050 that many now recognise as necessary, will have to translate into reductions of at least 150-200% on the part of the global North if the two principles - "common but differentiated responsibility" and recognition of the right to development of the countries of the South - are to be followed.

But are the governments and people of the North prepared to make such commitments?

Psychologically and politically, it is doubtful that the North at this point has what it takes to meet the problem head-on.

The prevailing assumption is that the affluent societies can take on commitments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions but still grow and enjoy their high standards of living if they shift to non-fossil fuel energy sources.

Moreover, how the mandatory cuts agreed multilaterally by governments get implemented within the country must be market-based, that is, on the trading of emission permits.

The subtext is: techno-fixes and the carbon market will make the transition relatively painless and (why not?) profitable, too.

There is, however, a growing realisation that many of these technologies are decades away from viable use and that, in the short and medium term, relying on a shift in energy dependence to non-fossil fuel alternatives will not be able to support current rates of economic growth.

Also, it is increasingly evident that the trade-off for more crop land being devoted to biofuel production is less land to grow food and greater food insecurity globally.

It is rapidly becoming clear that the dominant paradigm of economic growth is one of the most significant obstacles to a serious global effort to deal with climate change.

But this destabilising, fundamentalist growth-consumption paradigm is itself more effect rather than cause.

The central problem, it is becoming increasingly clear, is a mode of production whose main dynamic is the transformation of living nature into dead commodities, creating tremendous waste in the process.

The driver of this process is consumption - or more appropriately overconsumption - and the motivation is profit or capital accumulation: capitalism, in short.

It has been the generalisation of this mode of production in the North and its spread from the North to the South over the last 300 years that has caused the accelerated burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil and rapid deforestation, two of the key man-made processes behind global warming.

The South's Dilemma

One way of viewing global warning is to see it as a key manifestation of the latest stage of a wrenching historical process: the privatisation of the global commons by capital. The climate crisis must thus be seen as the expropriation by the advanced capitalist societies of the ecological space of less developed or marginalised societies.

This leads us to the dilemma of the South: before the full extent of the ecological destabilisation brought about by capitalism, it was expected that the South would simply follow the "stages of growth" of the North.

Now it is impossible to do so without bringing about ecological Armageddon. Already, China is on track to overtake the US as the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, and yet the elite of China as well as those of India and other rapidly developing countries are intent on reproducing the American-type overconsumption-driven capitalism.

Thus, for the South, the implications of an effective global response to global warming include not just the inclusion of some countries in a regime of mandatory reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, although this is critical: in the current round of climate negotiations, for instance, China, can no longer opt out of a mandatory regime on the grounds that it is a developing country.

Nor can the challenge to most of the other developing countries be limited to that of getting the North to transfer technology to mitigate global warming and provide funds to assist them in adapting to it, as many of them appeared to think during the Bali negotiations.

These steps are important, but they should be seen as but the initial steps in a broader, global reorientation of the paradigm for achieving economic well-being.

While the adjustment will need to be much, much greater and faster in the North, the adjustment for the South will essentially be the same: a break with the high-growth, high-consumption model in favour of another model of achieving the common welfare.

In contrast to the Northern elite's strategy of trying to decouple growth from energy use, a progressive comprehensive climate strategy in both the North and the South must be to reduce growth and energy use while raising the quality of life of the broad masses of people.

Among other things, this will mean placing economic justice and equality at the centre of the new paradigm.

The transition must be one not only from a fossil-fuel based economy but also from an overconsumption-driven economy.

The end-goal must be adoption of a low-consumption, low-growth, high-equity development model that results in an improvement in people's welfare, a better quality of life for all, and greater democratic control of production.

It is unlikely that the elite of the North and the South will agree to such a comprehensive response. The farthest they are likely to go is for techno-fixes and a market-based cap-and-trade system. Growth will be sacrosanct, as will the system of global capitalism.

Yet, confronted with the Apocalypse, humanity cannot self-destruct.

It may be a difficult road, but we can be sure that the vast majority will not commit social and ecological suicide to enable the minority to preserve their privileges.

However it is achieved, a thorough reorganisation of production, consumption and distribution will be the end result of humanity's response to the climate emergency and the broader environmental crisis.

Threat and Opportunity

In this regard, climate change is both a threat and an opportunity to bring about the long postponed social and economic reforms that had been derailed or sabotaged in previous eras by the elite seeking to preserve or increase their privileges.

The difference is that today the very existence of humanity and the planet depend on the institutionalisation of economic systems based not on feudal rent extraction or capital accumulation or class exploitation, but on justice and equality.

The question is often asked these days if humanity will be able to get its act together to formulate an effective response to climate change. Though there is no certainty in a world filled with contingency, I am hopeful that it will.

In the social and economic system that will be collectively crafted, I anticipate that there will be room for the market.

However, the more interesting question is: will it have room for capitalism? Will capitalism as a system of production, consumption and distribution survive the challenge of coming up with an effective solution to the climate crisis?

Walden Bello is Senior Analyst at Focus in the Global South, a programme of Chulalongkorn University's Social Research Institute.
Yea,but it won't survive your prescription to solve the non problem,that's why we who have a brain tell you your stories are less impressive than Green Eggs and Ham. Course,lots of stories are less impressive than that one.
Let's take this plea to the world's existence as a serious issue.

It breaks down into several parts that supply answers.

First, is the argument that "IF the change in global mean temperature in the 21st century exceeds 2.4 degrees Celsius, changes in the planet's climate will be large-scale, irreversible and disastrous." We know that the claim that there is a "solid consensus in the scientific community" is a flat-out lie, and only a non-scientist acting on a political agenda would put such a bald-faced lie out as incontrovertible fact. Most scientist say that such an increase would benefit the Earth, however the data points to Global cooling more so than warming.

Second, the call to arms within the next 10 to 15 years is laughable. Even before data pointed to global cooling, the most excitable global warming fanatic admitted maybe a 1 degree rise in a century.

Third, the free market and technical advancement is the solution - not the problem. The newly industrialized nations are spewing most of the pollution into the air. China, only a small percentage of the U.S. productivity of goods and materials, is far greater in its pollution. The amount of energy used by such new industrialized nations is far greater per goods produced than are the mature industrialized nations.

Fourth, the mature nations have worked to improve quality of life by voluntarily fixing their own pollution problems. You can walk through the worst industrialized parts of America without a face mask - but try that in China.
William,

I posted quite a while back and don't see it now,but the USA has had the largest falloff in CO2 output of them all in the last few years. The market works it's miracles. The Kyoto signatories are way behind us.
Palladin Wrote:William,

I posted quite a while back and don't see it now,but the USA has had the largest falloff in CO2 output of them all in the last few years. The market works it's miracles. The Kyoto signatories are way behind us.

You are correct. John may have a reference in the Climate resource threads.
Lets see if I understand this. Correct me if I'm wrong.
1. The weather might be changing.
2. Pollution might be the cause.
3. The only way to stop the change is global communism.

Yet, when I examine the worlds communist countries they are filthy and polluted.

I must be missing something.
Armadillo,

You are,you just don't "get it". Only the wise get it. Defer to them,they'll see your life is in good hands!
Armadillo Wrote:Lets see if I understand this. Correct me if I'm wrong.
1. The weather might be changing.
2. Pollution might be the cause.
3. The only way to stop the change is global communism.

Yet, when I examine the worlds communist countries they are filthy and polluted.

I must be missing something.

Yes you are missing the large amounts of money coming into the pockets of those who gain control. Money and control are the issue not the environment. Otherwise you have it down.
It's not a mystery. Communism wasn't the reason that Communists held power. Power was. When Communism failed and the command economy governments fell, the Communist leaders dumped the stigma of Communism and accepted free enterprise as the inevitable savior of their wealth and well-being - but to hold onto power looked to global environmentalism as reins to control and maintain it.
WmLambert Wrote:It's not a mystery. Communism wasn't the reason that Communists held power. Power was. When Communism failed and the command economy governments fell, the Communist leaders dumped the stigma of Communism and accepted free enterprise as the inevitable savior of their wealth and well-being - but to hold onto power looked to global environmentalism as reins to control and maintain it.
When are the chicoms going to invoke the love of the environment to justify their rule? Perhaps as a last resort??
WmLambert Wrote:It's not a mystery. Communism wasn't the reason that Communists held power. Power was. When Communism failed and the command economy governments fell, the Communist leaders dumped the stigma of Communism and accepted free enterprise as the inevitable savior of their wealth and well-being - but to hold onto power looked to global environmentalism as reins to control and maintain it.
May I conclude capitalism isn't the reason that capitalists hold power, but power is? When capitalism fails and it is failing all the time in some or other nations around the world, such as in the U.S. at the moment, capitalists dump the delusion of freedom and free market and accept fascism as the inevitable savior of their wealth and well-being - but hold on to power by waging wars and emphasizing nationalistic propaganda.
Actually, the economic model of free markets and free enterprise wins over all other systems of economics ever tried. Power comes with success - just as the loss of power comes when countries become unsuccessful and beg for charity from those who are successful. The result of that begging is resentment and the PTB from the poor countries rationalize their lack of success as a result of others' success.

However there is no zero-sum equation that says one nation's success must come at the suppression of another's. All nations can succeed if they let go of the dictatorial command economies and the power-mad potentates who skim off the charity given to their people. It is not a competition. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts - and the worldwide economy would uplift all nations if they would make the effort.