Environmental issues and social justice are intertwined. Global warming can only be averted by using the Earth’s resources in a fair and sustainable way.
Likewise, social justice can only occur if global warming is at least contained. Those most at risk from a planet with frequent extreme climate events, pollution, and scarcity of resources, are the same people at risk from unscrupulous employers who refuse to pay a living wage and provide safe working conditions.
Unlike economic inequality, climate change and environmental pollution will be much harder to ignore for everyone. Gated communities and expensive security systems will not protect the well-off from climate extremes. Catastrophic climate change will affect us all, albeit to different degrees. And it can only be averted if everything changes – for everyone.
The most recent Credit Suisse wealth survey shows that the top 1% now owns 50% of the world’s wealth. This will have to change. The wealthiest have the biggest carbon footprint. They consume more of the Earth’s resources. They own the most polluting businesses. And, under the current economic system, they own the knowledge and means to reduce emissions and prevent climate change.
Patenting technology that can reduce emissions or reliance on fossil fuels is a nonsense. Such technology can only be effective if it is widely available for everyone to use, not concentrated in the hands of a few very wealthy who use it as a way to increase their wealth even further.
Making money out of recycling is an absurdity. Ratepayers pay large corporations handsomely to ‘recycle’ our waste to somewhere offshore whilst securing a healthy profit for their overseas directors and shareholders.
Carbon trading as a way to reduce pollution and reduce emissions just adds another thing for predatory financial services gamble on.
Neoliberalism/free market capitalism, the system that seizes on even life saving medication as a chance to make a massive profit, cannot deliver a sustainable planet any more than it can deliver social justice.
Climate change is not a business opportunity. That is a myth. Sustainable growth is an oxymoron on a planet with finite resources. We need a model that does not rely on ever increasing economic growth and trickle down to deliver a liveable income and environment to everyone on the planet.
The first step is to defeat the Transpacific Partnership and global agreements like it; the last gasp of the giant multinational corporations to protect their ability to make the maximum profit no matter where, no matter what.
Witness the emissions reduction targets put forward by countries for the upcoming UN climate change conference in Paris. Collectively they will not even achieve the modest target of containing global warming to 2 degrees by 2050.
These so called trade deals are not about trade. They are to try to make sure that governments worldwide do not succumb to public pressure to share resources more equitably or put in place meaningful measures to reduce emissions and pollution.
The TPP and its ilk will cook the planet and any chance of social and economic equality with it.
You have to be red to be green and you have to be green to be red.