Global warming: planning not pricing

Excellent analysis by Michael Roberts explaining why the “carbon pricing” that is offered within the capitalist framework as the solution to ecological collapse is a deadend.

Michael Roberts Blog

Carbon pricing and carbon taxes are now proposed by international institutions and mainstream economics as the main solutions to ending global warming and destructive climate change.  For some time, the IMF has been pushing for carbon pricing as ‘a necessary if not sufficient’ part of a climate policy package that also includes investment in ‘green technology’ and redistribution of income to help the worst-off cope with the financial burden.  The IMF is now proposing a global minimum carbon price — along the lines of the global minimum floor on corporate taxes which has recently secured agreement.

At the recent meeting of the G20 finance ministers, carbon pricing was endorsed as one of “a wide set of tools” to tackle climate change. Speaking at the Venice International Conference on Climate, Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank, also underscored the need for carbon pricing, emphasising the importance of an

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Liberals only too aware of the danger of ecological collapse but no coherent solution

The liberal web site theconversation.com just posted an article about just how bad they consider the situation to be. I might disagree with some details but the overall picture seems accurate enough.

Worried about Earth’s future? Well, the outlook is worse than even scientists can grasp (theconversation.com)

Their vision about what to do is well-meaning and touches on some important aspects of reality but is ultimately undone by its refusal to grasp the nettle of confronting the inherent nature of capitalism and the logical conclusion that it must be overthrown as a social system if we are to avoid catastrophic collapse.

Fundamental change is required to avoid this ghastly future. Specifically, we and many others suggest:

abolishing the goal of perpetual economic growth

– revealing the true cost of products and activities by forcing those who damage the environment to pay for its restoration, such as through carbon pricing

– rapidly eliminating fossil fuels

– regulating markets by curtailing monopolisation and limiting undue corporate influence on policy

– reigning in corporate lobbying of political representatives

– educating and empowering women across the globe, including giving them control over family planning.

This seems to imply that “the goal of perpetual growth” is simply a policy choice for capitalism as opposed to understanding that it is an inherent requirement of the social system.

I am left wondering who is going to force those who damage the environment to pay for its restoration? Surely if anyone was in a position to “force” big capital to do this then why not simply stop them from causing the damage in the first place by taking them out of private ownership?

So it is only “undue” corporate influence that should be “limited”? And corporate lobbying of political representatives should be “reigned in”? How about we end these altogether?

This is just another rehashing of the futile fantasy of a “Green New Deal” style reform of capitalism to effectively not be capitalism anymore. Good luck with that.

The truth is that the chase for infinite growth and profit maximisation/capital accumulation are at the very core of the social relations known as capitalism. The processes of production, distribution and exchange have to be taken out of private hands if humanity is to have any chance of averting the catastrophic ecological (and associated social) collapse which is otherwise coming.


2020 Ties 2016 as Hottest Yet

The steady upwards increase of global average atmospheric temperature continues.

Despite all the decades of promises of change by international capitalism the reality is that the inherent nature of capitalism – necessity of eternal growth and priority of profit maximisation/capital accumulation over all other considerations – means the massive social changes required to avert catastrophic ecological collapse are not possible without taking the processes of production, distribution and exchange out of private hands.