Feb 5, 2007
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released what is considered to be the definitive report on climate change up until now. The report reaffirmed that not only is there global warming, but that it is accelerating – with dire consequences that have only just begun to be felt.
According to the report, global warming will lead to massive shifts in climate over a relatively short period of time. On the one hand, global warming, which is already melting glaciers and parts of the north and south poles, will lead to big rises in sea levels. Low lying areas, where hundreds of millions of people live, will be flooded. On the other hand, the flow of cold water from melting ice floes will also disrupt ocean currents, leading, among other things, to the freezing of northern Europe. Global warming will also bring about big droughts and much more powerful storms than anything the world has experienced for thousands of years. One consequence could be the spread of new diseases.
The report unequivocally blames global warming on the buildup of carbon dioxide and other greenhouses gases. They say that these gases come from human activity. What this means is, first of all, the burning of fossil fuels, like coal, oil and gas.
The findings of this study are as close to irrefutable as can be. The panel was an agency of the United Nations and was composed of hundreds of scientists. It presented preliminary drafts of the report to governments around the world a year ago, seeking their comments.
Of course, nothing in these findings is new. Prominent scientists began to raise warnings about global warming back in the early 1970s. But instead of taking these warnings seriously, the biggest companies in the world, starting with the oil companies, electric utility companies and auto companies, denied them and tried to ridicule and discredit them. And the U.S. government, loyal tool of these companies, followed suit.
Clearly, none of these companies wanted to take the smallest measures to cut emissions or invest in new technologies, because it would cut into their profits and make their big investments worthless.
Even today, as the global warming report was made public, it was revealed that the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank partially financed by Exxon-Mobil, invited scientists and economists to undermine the findings, offering $10,000 and travel expenses for their work.
The dramatic and brutal climatic shifts that scientists predict – storms, droughts, floods, the freezing of Europe – will impact all of humanity, including the capitalists and their descendants. But just as capitalism creates untold poverty, wars, economic crises and depressions – it also creates environmental catastrophe.
One cannot expect the very system responsible for the problem to take measures to deal with it.