Unprecedented: Can Civilization Survive The CO2 Crisis? Ray Griffin’s book is a hefty 424 pages plus 77 pages of footnotes, a carefully researched document about the catastrophe of Capitalism: pursuit of profit is destroying life on earth.
Griffin has made a huge investment in researching climate change. Griffin concludes that civilization itself is at stake.
His evaluation of the evidence is that humans have about three decades to get CO2 emissions under control.
Griffin argues that instead of rushing to their own destruction like lemmings, the human race must accept the moral challenge of abolishing the fossil-fuel economy. He makes the case that clean energy permits most of modern society’s way of life to continue without the threat posed by ever rising emissions.
Nuclear energy is not among clean energy sources–just look at the ongoing radiation pollution from Fukushima. Griffin is correct in the way he has framed the issue. It is a moral challenge.
Clearly the climate is changing, whether caused by CO2 emissions or some other cause. Every day brings more reports of perils associated with climate change.
Our foods are also polluted. On one hand our food is polluted with herbicides and on the other hand by antibiotics. And then we have hormones and pesticides. The World Health Organization has concluded that the glyphosate in Monsanto’s Roundup, a herbicide widely sprayed on GMO food crops, is a likely causes of cancer in humans and animals.
Glyphosate, which is also believed to be exterminating honey bees and Monarch butterflies, is now present in 75 percent of air and rain samples. Some time ago I reported on a microbiologist who wrote to the US Secretary of Agriculture about extensive findings by independent scientists that glyphosate has serious adverse effects on animal life and on animal and human fertility and on the ability of soil to produce nutrition in food crops. The scientist pointed out that the US government’s clearance of glyphosate rested entirely on the industry’s own studies of its safety and that these “studies” are not substantiated by independent scientists. He pointed out that not only are the studies done by scientists employed by Monsanto, but also many agricultural science university faculties are dependent on research funds from the chemical industry and thereby do not have an independent voice.
(On a French TV show a Monsanto representative claimed Roundup was safe enough to drink, but turned down the offer from the show’s host to demonstrate by drinking a glass by exclaiming “I’m not stupid!” KILLING US SOFTLY Monsanto Underreporting Use of Toxic Chemicals MARCH 30, 2015
Martha Rosenberg writing in CounterPunch reports that 70 percent of all antibiotics are fed to livestock because it produces weight gain and saves money on feed costs. Ninety-three percent of doctors are concerned about the meat industry’s excessive use of antibiotics, and independent scientists have definite evidence that the growing resistance of bacteria to antibiotics is due to the use of antibiotics as animal feed.
Scientists at the University of Iowa found Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in 70 percent of farmed hogs. A Consumer Reports investigation found that US meat, regardless of the meat’s source, is full of “pathogens, commensals, and antibiotic resistant bacteria.” Pork tested contained five resistant bacteria strains.
The Food and Drug Administration, severely weakened by Republicans, cannot stand up to Big Meat. Rosenberg reports that “when the FDA tried in 2008 to ban farm use of cephalosporins (antibiotics like Cefzil and Keflex) because they are needed for pneumonia, strep throat, and other serious human conditions, the egg, chicken, turkey, milk, pork, and cattle industries and the animal Health Institute stormed Capital Hill.”
Congress responded to the campaign donations, not to the health and safety of the American people. The Animal Health Institute consists of the drug companies who make profits selling 70 percent of their production to meat, egg, and milk producers. The members of the “health” institute are Abbott, Bayer Healthcare, Elanco/Lilly, Merck, Boehringer, Ingelheim Vetmedica, Novartis, etc.
In other words profits come far ahead of public health. As the drug companies have more or less stopped the development of new antibiotics, the protection antibiotics provide against infections is rapidly fading.
The horror goes on. During a time of severe drought in the western US, with California reportedly left with one year’s supply of water, the fossil-fuel fracking industry is polluting the remaining surface and ground water.
All of these activities–use of antibiotics as animal feed, use of GMO herbicides, fracking–are profitable because they impose huge external costs on the environment and on third parties who are not participants in the profits gleaned by externalizing the costs of production. And this brings us back to Griffin’s important book.
Griffin makes the point that the external cost imposed on the climate by fossil-fuel use is the source of the life-threatening crisis that humanity confronts. Capitalists make money by exploiting labor and by externalizing the costs of the wastes produced by the productive process by imposing the wastes on the environment. It is the short-term time horizon of production organized by selfish private interests focused on quarterly profits that is destroying the livability of the earth.
Almost every economist on earth will rise up in opposition to that true statement, because they are brainwashed in the neoliberal ideology that masquerades as economic science, but in fact is nothing but an apology for capitalist exploitation of labor and the earth.
I happened to be one of Ronald Coase’s graduate students the year he published his famous article on “The Problem of Social Cost” (external costs) for which, together with his article, “The Theory of the Firm,” he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics. In theory, externalities can be internalized into the process of production so that the producer bears all the costs if all inputs and waste products are subject to property rights. But no one owns the atmosphere, the oceans, the rivers and streams. They remain “common property” and thus are dumping grounds for waste disposal.
Governments, despite pressure from corporations, have realized that pollution is a problem, and governments have imposed some regulation. The regulation raises some costs to corporations, but the regulation is insufficient to halt very much of the externalization of the cost of production. In economic terms, this is the crisis that David Ray Griffin presents to us.
Capitalism’s pursuit of profit is destroying life on earth.
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts' latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West and How America Was Lost.
The Social Costs Of Capitalism Are Destroying Earth’s Ability To Support Life Paul Craig Roberts 28 March, 2015China’s leading weather official has released a bare caution report on climate change, announcing that increasing temperature levels might have “serious influence” over the world’s most populated nation climate, State Media reported on Sunday.
Global changes in climate will reduce crop yields, cause “ecological weakening” and lead to unstable river levels and streams, according to Xinhua news agency, quoting the China’s Meteorological Administration chief, Zheng Guoguang.
“As the world warms, climate change risks and disasters to China might become more severe,” Zhen said.
China is the largest source of co2 emissions in the world and this has serious influence over global climate changes. Beijing has said it goes for these emissions to escalate “around 2030.”
Temperature level rises over the 20th century only in China have been more severe than worldwide averages, added Zheng.
He explained changes in climate carry a “significant risk” to a number of Chinese mega-projects featuring the Three Gorges Dam, a railway linking Northwest China and Tibet and, and a large water diversion project from China’s South to its dry Northern parts.
Zheng suggested China should take a “low-carbon production course.” However, Xinhua quoted him stating that the capacity for wind and solar-generated energy was “restricted,” without offering any further details.
The Top Weather Official of China Warns About Serious Climate Changes Coming JASON MAVERICK - MARCH 23, 2015