Under capitalism, not only are working people being exploited, but so is the planet. With rising sea levels, more frequent extreme weather events and average temperatures higher than ever, it is clear that something is seriously wrong. Individuals are not to blame for the vast majority of damage to the planet – just 100 corporations contribute 71% of carbon emissions, rendering all individual efforts to save the planet useless without a global, systematic change.
The Paris Treaty of 2015, which was agreed to by 196 governments, nominally aimed to reduce emissions and revert climate change. In reality, however, the Paris Treaty was nowhere near what is needed to help save our planet. Even if the Treaty’s targets were met, many scientists believe the world would still be on course for a 2.7 degree temperature rise from pre-industrial times, which would have disastrous consequences. Trump has since withdrawn even from the Paris Treaty and other nations could follow suit.
Global warming has led to and will only worsen the displacement of many people from their homes, whether this be due to rising sea levels in the Maldives or droughts in Kenya. However, the ruling class do not care about refugees and will not stop draining the earth of its resources and harming it until they are affected by it or until they are forced by the masses to end their harmful exploitation of the earth.
While Trump’s climate change denial is now close to unique among world leaders, capitalism is fundamentally incapable of dealing with this crisis, as profit – the system’s motor force – must come before all else. Based as it is upon competition between corporations and nation states for profits and dominance, it is incapable of realising the co-ordinated, structural transformation in our economy and infrastructure needed, particularly serious action to end our reliance upon fossil fuels. The only solution is the taking of our world’s wealth and resources out of the hands of the 1% and the development of a democratic, socialist economy which puts people and planet before greed, including massive investment in renewable energy and sustainable production.
By Peter McGregor