Do we have to eliminate capitalism before we can take on climate change?

Professor Wolff, I'm in a graduate course called Climate Change in American Politics. We are at the end of the semester and each of us is writing an essay about the way forward in fixing this horrific problem. We are facing a crisis of existential magnitude and it makes me want to vomit. Capitalism isn't working and now we know it never has for the vast majority of us but now we have wasted the planet with green house gas emissions through fossil fuel use. Many Americans deny the existence of climate change because they can't imagine a way of life without them even though they see the effects all around them on longer summers, dying insects, changes in bird migrations, increased use of AC in the summer and other smaller effects in the natural world. Most of the environmental movement has focused on greener energy technology and carbon sequestration like planting trees and improving soil. They have all believed they could "fix" climate change by working within the dominate system. Obama's Paris Climate Accord fits this standard. It let companies keep polluting into the future and put no real teeth into mobilizing change while he used some legislation to increase green power subsidies. Green house gas emissions haven't come down and we need a more radical solution that the free market can't and won't provide. I think those environmentalists are wrong. Energy companies have no incentive to change in capitalism. If we had owned energy cooperatively the way you suggests with our workplace (and who makes energy! No one, not the energy companies. They merely took what the earth created), then wouldn't we have avoided climate change altogether? The fossil fuel companies knew climate change was real and they committed the whole system nonetheless. v/r Alex https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/exxon-knew-about-climate-change-almost-40-years-ago/

How do we proceed? How do we provide Americans, repair the damage to our system and build a new one that won't let this happen again? 


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  • published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2017-12-06 15:43:49 -0500

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