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The Free Market Cannot Address Climate Change

September 22, 2014

Effective climate action is now so urgent that the free market cannot deliver it. This is the key claim in Naomi Klein’s latest book, ‘This Changes Everything: Capitalism v. the Climate’, released on 16th Sept 2014. She points out something which I had not fully realised before, that from the very outset at Rio 1992, climate change negotiators had accepted that any agreement on combating climate change had to conform all present and future trade agreements. So two decades of climate summits have been largely wasted.

Naomi Klein illustrated her points with a wealth of examples and I am totally convinced. The New York summit starts tomorrow (Tues 23rd Sept). Unfortunately the UN website points to a study (The New Climate Economy, downloadable at: http://www.un.org/climatechange/summit/2014/09/report-reducing-climate-change-need-curtail-economic-growth/ ) which purports to contradict her. I have skim read it and it looks like a piece of corporate puff to me. Read the book and the report and let us know which you believe. Another summit wasted if Klein is right.

Which is more important, that the human race survives into the second half of the 21st century, or that free market ideology continues to inform public policy? This ideology is ridden with internal logical contradictions and enjoys virtually no supporting empirical evidence. But it is used to justify the very rich holding onto almost all the wealth, and that minimum wage levels set at below subsistence level, coupled with zero hours contracts produce a healthy economy.

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