The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Arctic Sea Ice:
Pompeo Reflects Capitalism

May 13, 2019

Confronted by the rapid melting of ice in the Arctic, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke about the new business opportunities opening up. “The Arctic is at the forefront of opportunity and abundance,” he said, noting the oil and other resources under the sea. He went on to note that: “Steady reductions in sea ice are opening new passageways and new opportunities for trade.”

Pompeo conveniently left out the fact that melting sea ice is already causing sea levels to rise, threatening coastal cities, and even whole island countries. He didn’t bring up the ways that the same climate change causing the melting ice also threatens farming across huge parts of the globe, or how it is already causing bigger, more destructive storms and droughts. He forgot to mention that it threatens a huge share of the world’s life, which of course also threatens human beings, who depend on that life in countless ways.

While not all businesspeople and government officials are as crass and shortsighted as Pompeo and the rest of Trump’s cronies, his views accurately reflect the way this system approaches the environmental catastrophe it is creating. Businesses seek to make a buck off catastrophe, not to avert it. And no one does anything serious to check the vast destruction wrought by this unchecked pursuit of profit before all else.

In any rational society, the melting of sea ice would be one more obvious warning that we had better reorganize the ways in which we produce and distribute the things we need.