We need to build a new economic system if we are to deal with climate change
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The “final tick box” to limit global warming is not just political; it is also economic. The cause of a problem cannot be its solution; so capitalism, the cause of global warming, cannot be its remedy. The genesis of climate change is the Industrial Revolution; that’s why we refer to pre-industrial level of global temperature as the standard. Industrial production came about when the system of commodity production became dominant, an economic system in which commodities are produced for the sole purpose of being sold, upon which they return more money to the investors than their original outlay.
The difference, profit, is then used directly or indirectly to produce more commodities and so on; a continually expanding process with equally expanding energy needs. New technology and sustainable sources of energy will help to contain global warming, but only if the rate of removing pollutants exceeds the rate of increase in energy needs. Evidence so far points to the contrary.
In any case, sustainable sources of energy such as solar and wind-powered energy are not a panacea; they are not environmentally neutral. Wind turbines generate electric power by absorbing energy from the wind, energy that would otherwise be transferred to the human and animal habitats down the line. With relatively few turbines, the loss of wind energy is insignificant. However, imagine a wall of turbines across the Atlantic and the effect on the habitats in Europe and beyond would be considerable. The same applies to solar panels that divert the sun’s energy destined for the ground and transform it into electricity.
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Blocking sun rays from reaching the earth has consequences; imagine the effect of half of the Sahara covered with solar panels. It’s all a matter of scale. Plastic – which was initially promoted as saving wildlife because it provided a substitute for the use of animals in such products as handbags and combs – is now a curse. We need to move away from production for sale to production for use.
When it comes to our climate, we need to take a long, hard look at ourselves
The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change should alert governments to the urgent need to act now. But don’t hold your breath. The report should trigger a step change in the mindset of everyone towards climate change. There is, though, much that can be done by individuals acting in community.
To date the focus has been on acting more sustainably in terms of recycling waste, driving a little less and buying into the renewable industry. While laudable, there now needs to be a drastic change regarding the whole way in which we live. The key being to live more simply.
This must involve stopping using certain items, so they don’t have to be recycled – don’t create the waste. Stop driving and flying. Plant more trees and support programmes for more forestation. Only use locally produced food and drink products.
These sort of acts can make a real impact if adopted on a large enough scale across countries. While pressure needs to be put on politicians to act, these individual actions can shape the context that helps ensure they do the right thing as well as working towards the wider goal of planetary survival.
May can’t speak for both Britain and the hard-right
Theresa May’s claim that her party speaks for the nation would be less risible first were she not in thrall to the Democratic Unionist Party and second prepared to face down the European Research Group, a cadre of failed and mediocre politicians led by a man of no achievement, who states his first loyalty is to an Italian religion, not his country.
Land of the un-free
I find it most disturbing that almost 300 people, peacefully protesting against the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States, were arrested in Washington DC. Doesn’t the US still describe itself as the “Land of the Free”? It appears that a right-wing government may be bringing to an end the precious liberty that settlers in the New World so cherished.
Not that we in the UK can afford to be smug: peaceful anti-fracking protesters in this country have been imprisoned for “causing a public nuisance” despite the fact that fracking has been solidly opposed by the majority of the public during each and every consultation process held. Indeed, it would appear that our government is only interested in respecting “the will of the people” when that will falls in accordance with its own position – which is scarcely governance in the public interest.
You don’t need social media to be in the loop
Crikey. Christopher Hooton has me worried. He wrote that “If you’re going to delete all of your social media accounts you may as well snip your phone lines and build a moat around your home too ... you’ll also essentially be making a U-turn in heavy traffic and mounting a jump ramp headed for alienation from friends and peers, and quite possibly irrelevance ... it’s a high-risk manoeuvre.”
Is he certain? I have no social media accounts at all and never have, mainly for all the reasons he lists and more. I have absolutely no interest in participating. But I still have friends and peers, I merely contact them by other means. I don’t even possess a smartphone but, strangely, despite his dire warnings that I “won’t fully understand why these topics are dominating headlines” (are you sure, Christopher?), I fully understand the context behind the Kavanaugh hearings. Do people really believe you need social media to understand the world? Seriously.
I know the difference between Chequers and a hard Brexit. And I know that Labour is as divided on the subject at the Tories. I know Mueller is closing in on Trump. I see that the right is rising politically in Brazil, driven on by the success of populist votes for Trump, Brexit, Hungary and Italy, among others. Global warming has (again) reached tipping point, and Putin’s interference in other nations’ affairs is coming home to roost via the outing of some severely inadequate spies. Oh, and I know that that alternative rock band Wolf Alice won the Mercury prize – considered relatively rare for a second album – and Manchester City drew with Liverpool at the weekend, in a rather dull stalemate. I wonder where the hell I found all this out from?
Tell you what, I’d be a bloody genius if I had a Facebook account.
Ambition before honour
Brett Kavanaugh, even if totally innocent, should have stood down for the sake of his country. He must surely realise the serious division his appointment will cause to the US in the years to come.
Similarly, May should put the future of the UK ahead of her ambition to stay in office when sorting out our exit or otherwise from the EU.
Alas ambition is stronger than honour.
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