Fred Magdoff and John Bellamy Foster: A `realistic’ answer to the ecological crisis
“What is clear from … Magdoff and Foster, is that ‘what every environmentalist needs to know about capitalism’ is that: 1) it is the root cause of the environmental crisis, 2) capitalism is incapable of solving it, either by going green or by becoming non-growth.’
John Bellamy Foster, co-author with Fred Magdoff of What every environmentalist needs to know about capitalism, will be a featured international guest at the second World at a Crossroads: Climate Change – Social Change Conference, Friday, September 30 – Monday, October 3, 2011.
By Liam Flenady
September 25, 2011
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal
Resolving the ecological crisis is incompatible with capitalism. We must build a movement that works against capitalist logic with the aim to overcoming it in favour of a properly sustainable and egalitarian form of society. This is the contention persuasively presented by Fred Magdoff and John Bellamy Foster in their recently published book What every environmentalist needs to know about capitalism.
Fred Magdoff is professor emeritus of soils in the Department of Plant and Soil Science at the University of Vermont. He has written a number of books on sustainable agriculture and on the economic crisis. John Bellamy Foster is the editor of Monthly Review, professor of sociology at the University of Oregon and author of a prolific output of books on Marx and ecology, Marxian economics, capitalism and crisis, imperialism and the ecological revolution.
The Australian situation at the time of writing this article is a very bleak one: massive expansions of the gas industry in New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland (with the proposed explosion from 4000 to 40,000 coal-seam gas wells in Queensland alone over the next few years), as well as in Western Australia; a bid by BP for exploration for deep-sea oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight; the stillbirth of much of the renewable energy industry, especially with state and federal governments cutting subsidisation of solar, and the NSW and Victorian governments’ large-scale rejection of wind power; and a proposed carbon tax that could well represent a backward step.
Government projections themselves indicate that – even if the carbon tax is effective – by 2020, coalmining will increase by 45%, gas mining by 100% and iron-ore mining by 104%; by 2050, coal production will be 109% higher than in 2010, gas production will be 155% higher and iron-ore production will be a whopping 408% above today’s levels. Moreover, because much of the “emissions reductions” will be achieved by various (overseas) “carbon offsets”, government modelling shows that under the carbon tax Australia’s domestic emissions will go up by about 12% on 2000 levels by 2020 and will be only barely reduced by 2050! (see http://climatechangesocialchange.wordpress.com/2011/07/22/green-reasons-to-oppose-australia’s-carbon-price/ and http://www.treasury.gov.au/carbonpricemodelling/content/report/09chapter5.asp)….
Read the entire review in Links Journal of International Socialist Renewal