Capitalism, Climate Change and the Transition to Sustainability

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* Essay: Capitalism, Climate Change and the Transition to Sustainability: Alternative Scenarios for the US, China and the World. Minqi Li. Development and Change. Volume 40, Issue 6, pages 1039–1061, November 2009



JB Foster writes:

" A transition to a carbon-free economy is simply not possible under present-day capitalism, i.e. with anything like the given composition of output and economic growth/profit requirements of the system. Technology alone can't accomplish it within the current parameters set by capital/private property. This has been demonstrated, I think quite definitively, by economist Minqi Li in a number of publications, most recently in a 2009 article in the journal Development and Change. Social relations (the mode of production) would have to change. What we need to promote instead is an ecological revolution aimed at sustainable human development and protecting the planet, making it clear that if capitalism can't save the earth -- and in fact continues as the main driver destroying it -- then capitalism itself must go. One has to remember that climate change is only one small part of the current overall threat to the earth system. It is accompanied by many other threats, such as ocean acidification, soil depletion, desertification, freshwater shortages, mass extinctions, toxic chemical pollution, the rifts in the nitrogen and phosphorus cycles, etc. All of these find their common cause in our current mode of production." (