RE: [OPE] Alexander Cockburn on carbon catastrophism

Date: Wed Feb 13 2008 - 08:03:44 EST

> If we can reduce the all the problems of world society to a problem of hot air 
Hi Jurriaan:
You know that's an over-simplification to the point of trivialization:
the subject of climate change concerns far more than "hot air".
> Your case is essentially that it may be "too late" for a solution, e.g.
>  I will die of lung cancer someday. 
That's not my case.
> Yep we must all die. But we only 
> really know it is too late when it is too late, and therefore this is 
> consideration is fairly useless. Point is that beforehand, i.e. 
> before it is too late, we can do lots, know lots, and the important 
> thing is that we should be doing it. Life is for the living.  And for this 
> purpose pessimism is not conducive to anything. Even if it is too late 
> for me, it is not too late for someone else.
The issue is not optimism or pessimism. Rather it concerns 
the problem, its causes, the balance of class forces, what
is possible given the current international system, and what
would be required to bring about the necessary changes.
There is overwhelming scientific data, I think, to establish
the  severity of the problem and we as Marxists shouldn't 
have any problems identifying the underlying social and 
economic causes which concern  not the nature of nature
but rather the nature of capitalist production and its relation
to nature.
The problem as I see it is that capitalist governments have 
not shown their willingness to address this question in a 
timely manner. The reason is simply that the economies of 
some powerful capitalist nations benefit significantly from 
the same patterns of production which also produce climate 
change.  Hence, they have effectively obstructed the
implementation of policies necessary to deal with the issues.
I have to say that I expect this to continue.  This is not
a statement of pessimism on my part. Rather it is an 
assessment of the balance of class forces and the current
nature of rivalry among capitalists and states. 
And while bourgeois governments delay, the climate worsens.
What can be done?  Well, a mass international movement 
might be able to change this situation and force states to respond
more forcefully and quickly to climate change. 
I think it's more likely though that the climate will further degrade 
before that happens.
Given the above, I think it's most likely that mass social movements
around this question will only emerge _after_ the "tipping point"
has been reached.  This has enormous implications for the 
quality of life in late capitalism and what sort of world the
socialist societies of the future will inherit (that is, if there are
such societies) and hence what sort of global environmental 
policies will be required by those future societies.
In solidarity, Jerry

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