The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

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

To Solve Global Warming, the Working Class Has to Take Power

Aug 15, 2022

In early August, Congress passed two big spending bills, which the Democrats say are game changers. About 386 billion dollars of this new spending the Democrats say is aimed at using subsidies and tax breaks to encourage companies to invest in new technology in order to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases that causes global warming.

Of course, major companies could have made these investments themselves long ago. Certainly, they had the money. They made record profits decade after decade. But they didn’t reinvest those profits. They all advertised that they were “green” and “environmentally friendly,” but they took their record profits and funneled them to their biggest stockholders, the capitalist class. These companies didn’t even reinvest to replace old, decrepit equipment. They preferred to run everything into the ground in order to squeeze out as much money as possible.

So, these companies never stopped spewing out so much pollution, the planet has been heating up at a fast pace, while our air, water and land is ever more poisoned and ruined.

Today, just because the planet is warming, just because there are more and more environmental disasters, these profit-hungry companies have not suddenly changed their tune. They are always in competition with each other to increase their profits and the wealth of the capitalist class.

The huge flood of government money coming out of this latest spending bill will not really change this. It might spur some companies to invest in wind and solar farms, as well as other technologies such as electric vehicles, energy storage, solar panels, heat pumps, etc.

But above all, these companies will extract the maximum “value” from government subsidies and tax breaks. That means pocketing most of the taxpayer money in order to fatten their profits and increase the wealth of the capitalist class. So, whatever these companies actually produce in so-called clean or renewable energy will be a drop in the bucket compared to all the other pollution they will continue to spew out.

And, as usual, the politicians and government officials will let them get away with it.

The proof of that is just how much in this new “clean energy” spending bill also benefits the same old oil and gas companies that contribute so heavily to the harmful emissions that cause global warming. Not only do the oil and gas companies get brand new tax breaks from this “clean energy bill.” They also got the federal government to lease more federal land and more offshore oil leases. They even got the government to agree to major “environmental regulatory rollbacks,” which will allow them to pollute even more.

That’s why the oil and gas companies wholeheartedly support the “clean energy” spending bill. It is why Exxon Chief Executive Darren Woods told Wall Street financial analysts that it was “a step in the right direction.” This support by the oil and gas companies greatly angered the Republicans around Capitol Hill, because it was the Democrats who managed to please the corporate tycoons rather than the Republicans!

This bill will increase, not reduce pollution and emissions.

No, this government will never solve the problems of global warming or the increasing amounts of environmental destruction. Just like it will never solve hunger and homelessness, or the crises in health care, education, or the economy. Because what the government does is dictated by the profits of a tiny minority, the capitalist class, who are ruled by only one law: ever higher profits, no matter what.

That is why this society needs a revolution. Another class has to replace the capitalist class. And that class can only be the working class, which has every interest to solve the problem of global warming, as well as all the other big social and economic problems that are only getting bigger. The working class also has the power to do this, given its central place in the economy. It produces everything. It makes society run. That gives workers a huge amount of power, when workers break down all the divisions that separate them and organize together.

There is no reason why the economy couldn’t be organized in such a way as to benefit everyone. The problem is who has the power. Today, the power is in the hands of the capitalist class. Only the working class can replace them.