The above analogy give the context of the current debate in the mass media and by various pundits about the recent set of reports from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change about the immanent world-historic catastrophe. Take for example, Paul Krugman’s recent column in the New York Times and the Times editorial “Running Out of Times” (April 20) that basically argued the same. In “Climate Change: Salvation Gets Cheap” (New York Times April 17, 2014), Krugman writes about the third U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report: “even under the most ambitious goals [of confronting climate change] the assessment considers, the estimated reduction in economic growth would basically amount to a rounding error, around 0.06 percent per year.” Citing a drop of 75% in price of photovoltaic solar panels since 2008, Krugman celebrates that “there’s no reason we can’t become richer while reducing our impact on the environment.”
“This is the famous decoupling trap. Namely, we can use technology to mitigate adverse environmental effects and then just get on with economic growth. It ignores the other adverse effects of economic growth so that overall the the decoupling has a negative effect. Such measures are only beneficial if combined with degrowth and an overall planned move to a steady state economy.”Nothing I said above negates the need to support any steps that would slowdown or stop climate change. If photovoltaic panels will help, we should subsidize them (although this is debatable as two future posts by Saral Sarkar and Ted Trainer will argue). However, the strategy and tactic for ecological socialism is not to rely on markets or the state to overcome the crisis--that is exactly what the proponents of the capitalist system advocate. We need to encourage education, self-organizaton and self-activity of the working people worldwide to ensure radical changes that are needed. As Hegel taught us long ago truth is in the whole: global warming and catastrophic climate change are just one facet of the planetary crisis facing humanity. They are all the result of the anthropocentric capitalist civilization, itself the latest reincarnation of earlier anthropocentric civilizations that exhausted their resource base and disappeared from the Earth. However, the capitalist civilization encompasses the entire globe. Thus, its crisis has become the planetary crisis we now face. It is necessary for humanity to replace it with an eccentric world culture of free association of direct producers that will live in harmony amongst ourselves and with the rest of nature.
* * *There have been 99 posts since my last column. There was an unusually high number of posts on the capitalist economy and economics (15). Still, more common topics had high number of posts: environment (11), ecocide (11), global warming/climate change (10), and planetary crisis (8). The drought in California and water shortage had 6 posts. Animal exploitation/liberation had 9 posts and posts about various species numbered 4. Eco-socialism had 7 and socialism had 6 posts. Science, including evolution, had 6 posts. Cuba had 6 posts.
1301. The Myth of Human Progress and the Collapse of Complex Societies
1332. Limits of the Limits to Growth Perspective: A Discussion of Saral Sarkar's Explanation of the Great Recession
1338. Letter from Saral Sarkar: In Defense of the Limits to Growth Explanation of the Great Recession
1356. The AAAS Climate Science Panel: What We Know: The Reality, Risk and Response to Climate Change
1358. Visions of Post-Capitalist Economies: A Conversation Between Gar Alperovitz and Michael Albert
1385. Karl Marx or Club of Rome?: Why Naturalizing Causes of the Great Recession Undermines Efforts to Transcend the Capitalist Civilization1390. Climate Change: Salvation Gets Cheap
1393. Are paradigms, theories, methods value neutral?
1394. What it Will Take to Tackle the Climate Crisis: A Push-the-Democrats View
1395. Rethinking Historical Materialism: Sociality, Solitude, and the Struggle for Socialism
1396. Book Review: Anarchy, Geography, Modernity: Selected Writings of Elisée Reclus
1397. Vermont Will Require Labeling of Genetically Altered Foods
1398. The Rainforests in Congo Basin Show Signs of Climate Change Stress
1399. Becoming the World Top Oil Producer: in North America Challenges Remain
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