Several strands of green thinking maintain that capitalism is incapable of a sustainable relationship with non-human nature because, as an economic system, capitalism has a growth imperative while the earth is finite. One finds versions of this argument in the literature of eco-socialism, deep ecology, eco-anarchism, and even among many mainstream greens who, though typically declining to actually name the economic system, are fixated on the dangers of “growth.”
All this may be true. Capitalism, a system in which privately owned firms must continuously out-produce and out-sell their competitors, may be incapable of accommodating itself to the limits of the natural world. However, that is not the same question as whether capitalism can solve the more immediate climate crisis.
Because of its magnitude, the climate crisis can appear as the sum total of all environmental problems—deforestation, over-fishing, freshwater depletion, soil erosion, loss of biodiversity, chemical contamination. But halting greenhouse gas emissions is a much more specific problem, the most pressing subset of the larger apocalyptic panorama.
Written by Christian Parenti. To read the full article, click here.
On Tuesday, June 25, in a speech before enthusiastic students at Georgetown University, President Obama delivered a message outlining his vision for what the United States ought to do, and what he personally is going to do, about the moral issue of energy production. Now at first glance, you would think that energy production is a technical issue that should be left to engineers and economists. But it was clear from the President’s speech that he thinks it is also a moral issue, as moral as which side you should fight on in a war. His speech, in fact, was peppered with militant terminology. He spoke of having the “courage to act,” he talked of the “fight against climate change,” and expressed his desire for America to “win the race for clean energy.” Toward the end, he called for citizens “who will stand up, and speak up, and compel us to do what this moment demands.” To that end, he announced that he was going to ask the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue regulations that, according to Obama critic Charles Krauthammer, will “make it impossible to open any new coal plant and will systematically shut down existing plants.”
Written by Karl Stephan. To read the full article, click here