Marx, Capitalism, Globalization, and Climate Change: Revolutionary Ideas For Climate Change Mitigation

Jason MacLeod


Climate change is the most significant issue humans have ever faced. Climate change politics, policy, and regulation are directed towards mitigation and adaptation, but the sluggish pace may further produce and contribute to the harsh realities of global warming. The science is no longer debatable and countless international organizations call for the “greening” of the global economy. Yet, the endless growth required by Capitalism is at odds with the finite barriers of nature. Development, industrial production, waste, and consumerism all contribute to green house gas (GHG) emissions. Government regulation could decrease or cap the use of certain technologies and production practices that release GHG; however, the global economy is intimately tied with the use of fossil fuels. Effective climate change mitigation will require more than amorphous government regulations, a “green economy” or the advent of “sustainable development.” Climate change mitigation will necessitate a comprehensive shift of being and knowing, especially in the advanced capitalist societies. At the heart of capitalism lies the exploitation of natural resources. Deforestation, corporate agriculture, pollution, and the degradation of the essential ecological life services, occurs under the tutelage of capitalist production, neoliberal idelogy and uneven development. Unless there is a decisive and urgent shift in policy and action, there is little room for optimism.



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