Predictably, the COP25 United Nations climate summit failed to produce an international agreement capable of averting catastrophic climate change. Corporate polluters enjoyed red-carpet treatment, while climate activists, who represent the majority of humanity, were marginalized.
In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that stopping further global warming would require massive system changes including restricting economic growth, replacing ‘market mechanisms’ with government regulation, changing the way land is used, and changing human consumption patterns; in short, an economic and social revolution.
The capitalist class cannot stop the unfolding environmental catastrophe for the same reason they caused it: their competition for profit. Instead, they deny the problem.
The coastal state of North Carolina ordered agencies to ignore rising sea levels to protect real-estate development. After Hurricane Harvey devastated a part of Texas that was home to thousands of petroleum refineries and chemical factories, Washington refused to allow scientists to measure the levels of toxic pollution released. And when President Trump was asked about his own government’s report that warned of impending climate-caused disaster, he replied, “I don’t believe it.”
The ruling class not only dismiss the need to stop global warming, they are charging full speed in the opposite direction, scrapping environmental protections, opening protected areas for oil and gas exploitation, and plundering the world’s remaining rain forests.
In 2015, the U.S. spent $50 billion more to subsidize the fossil fuel industry than it spent on ‘defense.’
The U.S. Department of Defense is the world’s single largest consumer of energy, using more energy in the course of its daily operations than any other private or public organization, as well as more than 100 nations. The U.S. military is also the world’s leading producer of toxic waste.
Producing more hazardous waste than the five largest U.S. chemical companies combined, the U.S. Department of Defense has left its toxic legacy throughout the world in the form of depleted uranium, oil, jet fuel, pesticides, lead, and defoliants like Agent Orange.
Together, China and the U.S. produce almost half the world’s climate-warming gases. Instead of cooperating to solve this problem, they are preparing for war.
The climate crisis has exposed the global capitalist class as a class who are leading humanity to extinction, a class who cannot change course, and a class who must be removed from power.