climate change

Capitalism, nature, socialism: a theoretical introduction - James O'Connor

The Alberta tar sands

James O'Connor's influential 1988 article introducing the idea of a 'second contradiction of capitalism', between political economy and the environment.

"Those who insist that [environmental destruction] has nothing to do with Marxism merely ensure that what they choose to call Marxism will have nothing to do with what happens in the world." - Aiden Foster-Carter

Après moi le déluge! Fossil fuel abolitionism and the carbon bubble - part 2

A worker cleans an oil spill from an abandoned Shell well in Oloibiri, Nigeria

In part two of this two-part article, we look at the parallels between fossil-fuel abolitionism and the abolition of slavery in the 19th century United States.

Part one of this article, looking at the 'carbon bubble' and path-dependent development is here.

Abolitionism in the 19th century US

Après moi le déluge! Fossil fuel abolitionism and the carbon bubble - part 1

Image: carbontracker.org

In part one of this two-part article, we look at the so-called ‘carbon bubble’ – assets priced based on 'unburnable' fossil fuels.

The 'carbon bubble' and path dependency

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and its latest report

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report came out on Monday. This post includes some background on the IPCC, and discussion of the report.

The IPCC - background and history

What's wrong with Prometheanism?

Prometheus: mythical figure who stole fire from the gods

Simple questions of technological progress abound in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties.

In response to our introduction to Murray Bookchin's philosophy of technology, a commenter asked:

888 wrote:
What's so bad about Prometheanism? Sounds good to me! Defying the gods, playing with fire, storming heaven...

Murray Bookchin's libertarian technics

A robot adjusting solar panels

The first in a series of critical introductions to thinkers and concepts that inform discussion of the climate crisis, looking at Murray Bookchin's ideas about technology.

Murray Bookchin (1921-2006) was a pioneer of radical ecological thought and working class autodidact. Bookchin's political trajectory took him from Stalinism (as a 9 year-old, he was soon expelled), to Trotskyism, to anarchism, to eventually breaking with anarchism and founding libertarian municipalism/communalism in an attempt to engage with the local state.

Let them eat growth

Image source: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2148

Radicals are right to point out capitalism's need for growth at all costs is the road to ruin, but does runaway climate change wreck the prospect of a communist society too?

A tale of two charts

Goodbye to the future

Goodbye to the future

An environmentalism that appeals to the future will come too late.

Everyone knows that the past is a foreign country, far fewer realise that the same is true of the future. The ability of humankind to engage with the future is, in fact, even more limited than their ability to engage with the past.

Communising energy: power to the people!

A brief critique of the existing model of heat production in Britain and a comparison with a communal system. If you thought things were rosy in the garden, think again...

Part of domestic living in Britain is receiving hot water and heating from a boiler that serves one property alone. In fact, around 93% of households have a single appliance in homes where typically the number of occupants per household is around 2.5. Natural gas is the majority fuel by far for all heat needs within homes and non-domestic buildings.

Who's afraid of ruins?

New Orleans under water - wikicommons

Capitalism is locking-in climate change for centuries, but in the process, making radical social change more realistic than tinkering around the edges.

I : Ruins

There is an oft-quoted passage from the Spanish anarchist militant Buenaventura Durruti. Many readers will know it by heart. It reads: