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Thursday, February 02, 2006
The Real Reason for the Global Warming Yelps

Robert Newman lets the cat out of the bag, unintentionally of course.

There is no meaningful response to climate change without massive social change. A cap on this and a quota on the other won't do it. Tinker at the edges as we may, we cannot sustain earth's life-support systems within the present economic system.

Capitalism is not sustainable by its very nature. It is predicated on infinitely expanding markets, faster consumption and bigger production in a finite planet. And yet this ideological model remains the central organising principle of our lives, and as long as it continues to be so it will automatically undo (with its invisible hand) every single green initiative anybody cares to come up with.

Of course, as Tim Worstall points out, that's a bunch of hooey. But Newman's article does back up what Rush has been saying for years, that these are watermelon environmentalists--green on the outside but red (as in communists) on the inside. I suspect most of the modern environmental movement started out with the hatred of capitalism. Why is capitalism better for people than communism or socialism? Because it provides growth. Ergo if you eliminate growth as a desireable end, communism and socialism don't look quite so bad.

On these pages we have been called on to admire capital's ability to take robust action while governments dither. All hail Wal-Mart for imposing a 20% reduction in its own carbon emissions. But the point is that supermarkets are over. We cannot have such long supply lines between us and our food. Not any more. The very model of the supermarket is unsustainable, what with the packaging, food miles and destruction of British farming. Small, independent suppliers, processors and retailers or community-owned shops selling locally produced food provide a social glue and reduce carbon emissions. The same is true of food co-ops such as Manchester's bulk-distribution scheme serving former "food deserts".

This is the brand of "let's all get back to the land" hippie environmentalism from the 1960s, dressed up a bit. Not all of us have to be farmers, but a heck of a lot more do, and we all get our food locally. Never mind that this is inefficient, that it lays us open to famine, that it makes cities impractical. Hey hey ho ho, the supermarket has got to go!
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