Crash and Burn: Confronting Capitalism’s Toll on the Environment


A trash fire in Manila, Philippines. (photo: Adam Cohn/Flickr)
A trash fire in Manila, Philippines. (photo: Adam Cohn/Flickr)

 

Kate Aronoff | Jacobin | Reader Supported News | April 23, 2016

f climate wonks have a Holy Grail, it’s decoupling rising greenhouse gas emissions from a rising GDP. Paths to economic growth have historically involved digging up and burning massive stores of carbon held in fossil fuels. For centuries, their fumes have produced the energy needed to build factories, plan modern cities, and increase living standards.

Calls to find new paths to prosperity are met by cries from the Right that pit growth against environmental stewardship. Take dirty energy out of the mix, they say, and the chances for a better life for billions crumble.

“We frankly don’t have an option,” United Nations climate chief Christiana Figures recently told journalist Elizabeth Kolbert about decoupling. Growth and falling emissions, she warned, “are absolutely key to being able to feed, house, and educate the two billion more family members who will be joining us.”

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