Science & Equality demand Climate Socialism for Climate Crisis
Science and equality in the face of a worsening Climate Emergency dictate Eco-Socialism, Climate Socialism and Green Socialism to save Humanity and the Biosphere. Unaddressed man-made climate change is set to kill 10 billion people this century. Already the species extinction rate is 100-1000 times greater than normal. Sloppy, non-scientist arguments about the asserted greater economic efficiency of capitalism fall flat in the face of capitalism’s failure to address the acute problem of man-made climate change that is increasingly impacting a global avoidable mortality holocaust in which 18 million people die avoidably each year in the Developing World (excluding China).
The purpose of a "society" is surely the common good, but capitalists justify the increasing proportion of the cake taken by the wealthy since the 1960s by the claim that capitalism is superior to socialism in wealth creation (for a discussion of the increasing proportion of the cake taken by the rich see Gavin Kelly, “Wanted: a new purpose for British capitalism” (New Statesman, 16 February 2011).
However man-made climate change has radically changed the equation even if the politicians, media, voters and Capitalist Establishment of the Western Murdochracies and Lobbyocracies haven't yet got the message due to Mainstream lying by omission, lying by commission and remorseless obfuscation (for details see “Mainstream media censorship” and “Mainstream media lying” websites).
Thus top climate scientists argue for drastic economic decarburization if the world is to avoid a disastrous 2C temperature rise (EU policy). According to Professor Schellnhuber (Potsdam Institute, Germany) the World must achieve zero (0) carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2050 and (all men being equal with equal shares in atmospheric pollution) that means that high per capita polluters such as the US and Australia must reach zero by 2020 with India able to increase pollution before finally ceasing by 2050.
Based on UN Population Division population projections, Australia’s 2020 annual per capita Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution is accordingly projected to reach 1319 Mt CO2-e/ 23.4 million people = 56 tones CO2-e per person per year, 62 times that of Bangladesh, a densely populated country acutely threatened by inundation from mainly First World-imposed GHG pollution.
Leading climate scientist Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber CBE (Director of Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research [PIK], Germany and variously associated with the University of Manchester, University of East Anglia and Oxford University) has estimated that for a 67% chance of avoiding a catastrophic 2 degree Centigrade temperature rise (the EU target; would you board a plane if it had a 33% chance of crashing?) the World has to cease CO2 emissions by 2050. “All men are created equal” means that all human beings must be allotted equal shares of CO2 pollution until 2050. This means that high per capita countries such as the US and Australia must reach zero CO2 emissions by 2020 while low per capita emitters (e.g. India and Burkina Faso) can increase their emissions until finally reaching zero emissions by 2050 (see Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, “Terra quasi-incognita: beyond the 2 degree C line”< 4 Degrees & Beyond, International Climate Conference, 26-30 September 2009, Oxford University, UK).
It must be noted that other leading climate scientists have reached similar conclusions about the urgency of achieving zero emissions. Thus Dr Vicky Pope (Head of Climate Change Advice, UK Met Office Hadley Centre): “Latest climate projections from the Met Office Hadley Centre show the possible range of temperature rises, depending on what action is taken to reduce Greenhouse gas emissions. Even with large and early cuts in emissions, the indications are that temperatures are likely to rise to around 2 °C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century. If action is delayed or not quick enough, there is a large risk of much bigger increases in temperature, with some severe impacts. In a worst-case scenario, where no action is taken to check the rise in Greenhouse gas emissions, temperatures would most likely rise by more than 5 °C by the end of the century. This would lead to significant risks of severe and irreversible impacts. In the most optimistic scenario, action to reduce emissions would need to start in 2010 and reach a rapid and sustained rate of decline of 3 per cent every year. Even then there would still only be a 50-50 chance of keeping temperature rises below around 2°C. This contrasts sharply with current trends, where the world’s overall emissions are currently increasing at 1 per cent every year.”
Similarly, Professor Kevin Anderson and Dr Alice Bows (Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK): “According to the analysis conducted in this paper, stabilizing at 450 ppmv [carbon dioxide equivalent = CO2-e, atmospheric concentration measured in parts per million by volume] requires, at least, global energy related emissions to peak by 2015, rapidly decline at 6-8% per year between 2020 and 2040, and for full decarburization sometime soon after 2050 …Unless economic growth can be reconciled with unprecedented rates of decarburization (in excess of 6% per year), it is difficult to envisage anything other than a planned economic recession being compatible with stabilization at or below 650 ppmv CO2-e ...
Ultimately, the latest scientific understanding of climate change allied with current emissions trends and a commitment to “limiting average global temperature increases to below 4oC above pre-industrial levels”, demands a radical reframing of both the climate change agenda, and the economic characterization of contemporary society.”
Dr James Hansen, (heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, and an adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University) has concluded: “After the ice has gone, would the Earth proceed to the Venus syndrome, a runaway greenhouse effect that would destroy all life on the planet, perhaps permanently? While that is difficult to say based on present information, I’ve come to conclude that if we burn all reserves of oil, gas, and coal, there is a substantial chance we will initiate the runaway greenhouse. If we also burn the tar sands and tar shale, I believe the Venus syndrome is a dead certainty” (James Hansen, “Storms of My Grandchildren. The truth about the coming climate catastrophe and out last chance to save humanity””, Bloomsbury, London & New York, 2009).
However, achieving zero CO2 emissions is just the start. Many top climate scientists and biologists state that atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration (currently a damaging 392 ppm and increasing at about 2 to 2.5 ppm per annum) must be urgently reduced to about 300 ppm for a safe planet for all peoples and all species.
At current CO2 pollution rates, in about 30 years the atmospheric CO2 concentration will reach 450 ppm, a level at which the Great Barrier Reef coral and indeed most coral around the World is doomed from the dual effects of warming and ocean acidification.
The message from science is unequivocal. High per capita GHG polluter Australia is obliged top cease CO2 pollution by 2020. Accordingly any further expansion of Australian Domestic or Exported GHG pollution is absolutely contra-indicated.
A key part of achieving 100% cessation of CO2 pollution by 2020 is installation of 100% renewable energy. Professor Peter Seligman (bionic ear electrical engineer. University of Melbourne) has published a book setting out how Australia can get 100% renewable energy by 2030 at a cost $253 billion, his scheme involving a mix of wind, concentrated solar thermal and other technologies with hydrological energy storage for 24/7 baseload operation ( Professor Peter Seligman, “Australian Sustainable Energy – by the Numbers”, Melbourne Energy Institute, University of Melbourne, 2010 ).
An Australian engineering team called Beyond Zero Emissions has released its 5 year study on Zero Carbon Australia by 2020 (ZCA2020) Report) that shows how Australia can have 100% renewable energy by 2020 for $370 billion using renewable technologies of wind power and concentrated solar thermal with molten salts energy storage for 24/7, baseload operation (see Beyond Zero Emissions, “Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan”, 2010).
Professor Mark Jacobson of Stanford University, California, and Mark A. Delucchi of University of California Davis have produced a plan for 100% renewable energy plan for the whole world by 2020.
Unfortunately the clear message from top scientists is being ignored because of the lobbying power of “business as usual” and fossil fuel vested interests. Dr James Hansen in answer to the question “Is there any real chance of averting the climate crisis?”, has stated: “Absolutely. It is possible – if we give politicians a cold, hard slap in the face. The fraudulence of the Copenhagen approach – "goals" for emission reductions, "offsets" that render ironclad goals almost meaningless, the ineffectual "cap-and-trade" mechanism – must be exposed. We must rebel against such politics as usual.”
The Capitalist Establishments have failed to act - indeed leading climate economist Sir Nicholas Stern has described man-made global warming as "the biggest market failure the world has ever seen." Further, the Western Lobbyocracy and Murdochracy Capitalist Establishments (most notoriously the Murdoch media empire) have used their billions to prevent not just action but even public understanding of the problem.
Solar energy (whether direct as in concentrated solar thermal energy or indirect as in wind energy) is free and implementation of a carbon-free economy will require implementation of intra-national and international per capita equity in greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution and government implementation of 100% renewable energy and biochar utilization to rapidly return atmospheric CO2 to 300 ppm from the current disastrous 392 ppm.
Currently about 18 million people in the developing World (excluding China) die avoidably from deprivation each year. Both Dr James Lovelock FRS (Gaia hypothesis) and Professor Kevin Anderson ( Director, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Manchester, UK) have recently estimated that fewer than 1 billion people will survive this century due to unaddressed, man-made global warming – noting that the world population is expected to reach 9.5 billion by 2050, these estimates translate to a climate genocide involving deaths of 10 billion people this century, this including 6 billion under-5 year old infants, 3 billion Muslims in a terminal Muslim Holocaust, 2 billion Indians, 1.3 billion non-Arab Africans, 0.5 billion Bengalis, 0.3 billion Pakistanis and 0.3 billion Bangladeshis. Unaddressed, man-made climate change will thus yield an average annual avoidable death rate to 100 million per year.
Of course Homo sapiens (Man) is but one of millions of species on Earth. However the species extinction rate is now about 100-1,000 times greater than normal. Thus Dr Donald A. Levin (Professor of Biology, University of Texas, Austin) and his son Dr Phillip Levin (a biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service) (2002): “The numbers are grim: Some 2,000 species of Pacific Island birds (about 15 percent of the world total) have gone extinct since human colonization. Roughly 20 of the 297 known mussel and clam species and 40 of about 950 fishes have perished in North America in the past century. On average, one extinction happens somewhere on earth every 20 minutes. Ecologists estimate that half of all living bird and mammal species will be gone within 200 or 300 years. Although crude and occasionally controversial, such statistics illustrate the extent of the current upheaval, which spans the globe and affects a broad array of plants and animals…The current losses are, however, exceptional. Rates of extinction appear now to be 100 to 1,000 times greater than background levels, qualifying the present as an era of “mass extinction”. The globe has experienced similar waves of destruction just five times in the past.”
In particular where ecocide and genocide coincide, the man-made threats to coral reefs threaten not just diverse species but also the livelihoods and lives of hundreds of millions of people. Thus J.E.N. Veron and other eminent coral scientists: “Temperature-induced mass coral bleaching causing mortality on a wide geographic scale started when atmospheric CO2 levels exceeded 320 ppm. When CO2 levels reached 340 ppm, sporadic but highly destructive mass bleaching occurred in most reefs world-wide, often associated with El Niño events. Recovery was dependent on the vulnerability of individual reef areas and on the reef’s previous history and resilience. At today’s level of 387 ppm, allowing a lag-time of 10 years for sea temperatures to respond, most reefs world-wide is committed to an irreversible decline. Mass bleaching will in future become annual, departing from the 4 to 7 years return-time of El Niño events. Bleaching will be exacerbated by the effects of degraded water-quality and increased severe weather events. In addition, the progressive onset of ocean acidification will cause reduction of coral growth and retardation of the growth of high magnesium calcite-secreting coralline algae.”
Greedy Capitalism denies - or through resolute inaction effectively denies - the acute problem of man-made climate change. Informed by the premise that “all men are created equal”, Capitalism – that brought us colonialism, neocolonialism, wars, holocausts and genocides – has been unable or unwilling to address man-made climate change and indeed now threatens a climate genocide in which 10 billion people are set to die this century.
Science and Equality are clearly dictating Eco-socialism, Green Socialism, and Climate Socialism on our one and only Spaceship Earth. With renewable energy, biochar and re-afforestation we can save Humanity and the Biosphere. But crucially this salvation must involve equal shares in atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution until zero emissions are achieved mid-century and, of course, a cessation of the horrendous and increasingly climate change-impacted avoidable mortality from capitalist greed-imposed deprivation.