Greening the Labour Party

A key argument in the Communist University in South London paper on global warming at https://communistuniversity.wordpress.com/2019/01/28/global-warming-a-discussion-paper/ is that capitalism is incapable of responding to the threat because:

  • There are no technological fixes for global warming – the only solution is to leave fossil fuels in the ground.
  • There is too much profit to be made from fossil fuel extraction for capitalists to do this.
  • Market based and capitalist governmental assessments under-estimate the damage of global warming due to the implicit (and in the case of governments, explicit) discounting they apply to future costs .
  • The super-rich may not necessarily believe these assessments and may reckon they can survive catastrophic global warming with the help of technological innovation without the need for 6 billion workers worldwide to support them.

Some of these conclusions appeared to be gradually dawning on at least some of those attending a public meeting at Ruskin House last night , 27 August, convened by Croydon Central CLP. While the consensus appeared to be that we should focus on local initiatives and trust in social democracy and a Corbyn government to tackle the bigger issues, one platform speaker, James Meadway, clearly understood the need for substantial structural and social change if global warming is to be addressed.

James Meadway has written an interesting paper at https://common-wealth.co.uk/greening-the-green-book.html proposing some modest reforms intended to weaken the dead hand of HM Treasury on government policy in this area. Sensible stuff – but we need to go much, much further if we are to avoid global catastrophe.

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One thought on “Greening the Labour Party

  1. John Eden has commented:

    “Your first bullet point, about there being no technological solution to climate change, I think I know what you are trying to say, that is countering Boris Johnson’s assertions about this, but I think you will agree wind farms etc are technological solutions!”

    My response is that, as we pointed out in the CUiSL discussion paper on Global Warming, it really doesn’t matter how many windmills we build while oil remain a cheaper source of energy. Capitalism is incapable of foregoing the profits to be made from hydro-carbon extraction. That’s why oil and gas extraction has continued to increase over the last few years despite windmills and other green sources of energy coming on-stream. As a result, so has CO2 in the atmosphere. A Hanson-style carbon tax that made hydro-carbons more expensive than green energy would address the problem but I don’t see capitalism as capable of adopting it.

    Anyone out there agree or disagree?

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