Bettina Trabant reviews a book which puts the fight against capitalism at the heart of the struggle to stop climate change.
Stop Global Warming: change the world
Jonathan Neale, Bookmarks (2008)
Unlike most books about environmental issues, which seek to locate the problem within individual human consumption, this book is quite clear about capitalism being at the root of global warming.
Throughout the book, author Jonathan Neale argues that the reason governments are unwilling or unable to combat climate change is because profit matters more than human need. Capitalism as a system is based on constant economic growth and making large amount of profits, not a system based on what humans actually need. Therefore measures that could benefit humans and prevent environmental destruction are not introduced as they dent the profit of big capital.
Neale further states that in order for humans to avoid catastrophic climate change, we need to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 80%. He argues that in order to achieve this we need radical technological change. The technology, while already available, is not being implemented, as it is not profitable to do so.
Divided into five parts the book starts with an overview of climate change and outlines solutions that could be implemented with today’s technology. It goes on to detail why governments of this world are unwilling to act on climate change and outlines the various failed international agreements. The book ends with Neale’s vision of an alternative society based on human need.
This book is an invaluable read for anyone interested in climate change and solutions that do not focus on an individual’s change in lifestyle, but ways to radically transform society.
The Campaign for Climate Change has a new book, edited by Jonathan Neale: One Million Climate Jobs, Tackling the Environmental and Economic Crises.
Release date 20 Sept 2014.