I agonized on what to title this short piece, designed to highlight the grave problems facing humanity. Is it too late to reverse the direction of global warming and the inevitable catastrophic effects of climate change, and all the other existential threats to the biosphere? In my opinion, the clock is near midnight, and a blunt assessment and recognition of what the people of the world are now facing, is way overdue. Are we productivist or anti-productivist?
Capitalism is front and center in this forthcoming book about the effects humans have had on the planet they inhabit. The authors, a geographer and a climate scientist, are not radicals, but their ambitious analysis of all of human history in these terms should play an important role in the ongoing debates over what is to blame and what is to do done. We eagerly await the book.
-- SCnCC editors
China’s rapid economic expansion is based on massive state investment, low pay and manufacturing for export to the Western economies at the same time as the promotion of domestic consumerism. Global competition for resources and markets means China must continue this economic model. But this brings with it the risk of war, economic crisis and the threat of workers fighting for an increased share of the enormous wealth being generated. But it is also driving environmental disaster on a local and international scale.
On Tuesday, Elon Musk launched some stuff into space. The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket was shot into the Solar System, tailed by a Tesla Roadster blasting David Bowie songs, reportedly the fastest car ever to be released into orbit. Each Falcon launch is only expected to cost around $90 million—a bargain in the world of extraterrestrial exploration.
A brand new World Bank report, The Changing Wealth of Nations 2018, offers evidence of how much poorer Africa is becoming thanks to rampant minerals, oil and gas extraction. Yet Bank policies and practices remain oriented to enforcing foreign loan repayments and transnational corporate (TNC) profit repatriation, thus maintaining the looting.
By Nic Beuret, Anja Kanngieser, and Leon Sealey-Huggins, Red Pepper, December 20, 2017
The most prominent global conference on climate change – the UNFCCC 23rd Annual Conference of Parties meeting – recently closed with much fanfare, talk of success and ‘being on track’. There was little to indicate that any significant headway had been made to curb the predicted catastrophic levels of global warming however.
During the recent Bonn summit a taxi driver provided a clear summary. Asked what he thought of COP 23, he replied “the climate is in crisis, but here, this is about money”. He had provided what had been missing inside. As we race toward certain and expanding catastrophe, he underscored that profiteering off a destructive cycle production, consumption, shipping, the unnecessary transport of products over vast distances and continuous growth models form the basis from which these discussions are framed. It is as though the elephant in the room is never acknowledged, with few exceptions.