Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Warming Wednesdays: a rebuke to the rule of the market


Cyclones, blizzards, drought, fire and flood -- scientists can't say any particular weather event is a direct result of global warming, but they are quite ready to say that "extreme weather" will be one of the consequences of our heating up the planet.

Writing in February as the south of England was engulfed by flood waters, Seumas Milne sought to explain how climate change denial could be on the rise as the evidence of our senses points to massive disruptions.

What lies behind the political right's growing refusal to accept the overwhelming scientific consensus? There's certainly a strong tendency, especially in the US, for conservative white men to refuse to accept climate change is caused by human beings. But there shouldn't be any inherent reason why people who believe in social hierarchies, individualism and inequality should care less about the threat of floods, drought,  starvation and mass migrations than anyone else. After all, rightwing people have children too.

Part of the answer is in the influence of some of the most powerful corporate interests in the world: the oil, gas and mining companies that have strained every nerve to head off the threat of effective action to halt the growth of carbon emissions, buying legislators, government ministers, scientists and thinktanks in the process. ...

But climate change denial is also about ideology. Many deniers have come to the conclusion that climate change is some kind of leftwing conspiracy – because the scale of the international public intervention necessary to cut carbon emissions in the time demanded by the science simply cannot be accommodated within the market-first, private enterprise framework they revere. ... In the words of Nicholas Stern's 2006 report, climate change is "the greatest market failure the world has ever seen".

My emphasis.

Despite every other legitimate concern, we cannot ignore that our economic and social system is rapidly making the planet less habitable. So I will be posting "Warming Wednesdays" -- reminders of an inconvenient truth.

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