Members and others who follows IMT publications may have noticed that there is no reference to global warming and climate change in any of it's major documents like World Perspectives and very little on its main publication, the website In Defence of Marxism (www.marxist.com). The following links to a major article by Brian J Baker and public expressions of climate change scepticism by IMT leader Alan Woods may provide some insight into this. We publish them here as a contribution to fuller discussion within the IMT and with others on the left regarding a marxist approach to the vital challenges of climate change and environmental degeneration.
Introduction to the opening article by Marxist.com editor and IMT International Executive member Fred Weston:
We start today a serialised article on Global Warming, written by one of our readers who challenges the scientific basis upon which the theory of human-caused climate change is based. He gives detailed facts and figures which point out the flaws in the dominant, mainstream theory within the "scientific" community. He maintains that global warming cannot be proved so we are left to accept "a belief system" and at the same time abandon the scientific method. We publish this article as a discussion document that we hope will stimulate serious debate on the issue.
We received this article on the issue of Climate Change, which questions the whole idea of Anthropomorphic (human-caused) Global Warming. The comrade does not deny that climate change is taking place, but he questions whether this is due to human activity. He also stresses that the climate has always changed, in a constant flux. Therefore, the idea that the climate should always remain the same is an absurd one, to begin with.
The question is: has human activity over the past couple of centuries significantly altered the balance such that a sharp "unnatural" change in the climate is about to take place over the next century? He provides very detailed facts and figures taken from scientific studies that contradict this mainstream point of view and argues that there are much more powerful natural forces at work, which far outweigh any activity by human beings.
For example, he points out that all the data sets show no warming whatsoever since 1998. This is if we base ourselves on ground measurements. Satellite records show no significant temperature increase since 1978. And throughout this period there has been continuous increase in CO2 emissions.
He in fact provides satellite pictures that would indicate that rather than warming we have cooling, at least in some parts of the world. He provides the records for solar spot activity which would indicate that this is a much more powerful force contributing to climate change on Earth, something which seems to be either left out or considered as having a minimal effect by the theorists of Anthropomorphic Global Warming.
He points out that the predictions presently being made about the climate over the next 50 to 100 years are based on computer models that cannot reflect the real process in the climate of the plant. The world weather system is a chaotic system and predictions cannot be made beyond a very small time-scale and yet we are told that climatologists know with a high degree of precision what is going to happen over a century!
He also highlights a very worrying development in modern science. The dominant idea is that there is global warming and that this is human caused. Huge amounts of money are provided for research into Anthropomorphic Global Warming. Any scientist who steps out of line and comes up with results that question the dominant point of view is ridiculed, ostracised and in some cases forced to resign his or her position. Funding is provided for the dominant idea and if a scientific institute takes up an opposing point of view it risks lose its funding.
This is similar to what we have seen with research into the Big Bang theory. There is plenty of money for those backing the idea that everything started with the Big Bang, but very little for any scientist who has a different point of view. This is not an atmosphere conducive to genuine debate among scientists. As the saying goes "he who pays the piper calls the tune".
Anyone arguing that climate change is not due to human causes is open to the accusation that by doing so they are letting the big multinational corporations off the hook. It is obviously the case that big corporations have a material interest in avoiding having to spend money on cleaning up their act, and we have to take this into account in our approach to this issue. However, we shouldn't allow it to develop a prejudiced view when looking at this question.
As Brian Baker points out, "we find that the family [the Rockeffelers], who profited from the great Wall Street crash and the depression, is now profiting from the sustainable development of bio-fuels. Socialists should be aware of these developments, because the reason that these capitalists support the green lobby is for no other reason that they can become richer than they already are."
The development of biofuels is a reminder of how so-called "sustainability" can cause major disasters. Food prices are going up everywhere. This is partly due to food shortages caused by bad harvests. But the growing amount of land now being dedicated to biofuels is also provoking further shortages of food. Now we have been told that biodegradable plastics, "bioplastics", are also damaging the environment. They emit "greenhouse gases" on landfill sites, contribute to the global food crisis, and also contaminate the recycling process of normal plastic when sent to recycling plants.
In 2004 the "Friends of the Earth" advised the British government that it should stimulate a UK biofuels industry. Now they are demanding a moratorium on biofuels targets. Within a very short space of time these so-called "green" policies have contributed to major food shortages with unimaginable consequences for some of the poorest people on this planet.
These examples would indicate that we should be very careful not to jump on the latest green bandwagon of the moment. The same may apply to the question of global warming. Let us imagine that climate change is not being caused by human activity and that it does have natural causes. If that were the case then all the money on attempting to avoid it by reducing carbon emissions would be pointless.
That wouldn't stop the climate change from taking place, but it would mean that humanity has not prepared for the inevitable changes. If sea levels are going to rise, we will have to move millions, hundreds of millions of people across national boundaries to more inhabitable zones. Can capitalism plan for such a scenario? It cannot. It is an unplannable system and certainly cannot plan ahead 50 or 100 years. If, as some scientists believe, we may be going towards a cooler period, the same logic applies.
It is not the job of the Marxist.com Editorial board to develop a "line" on climate change. The task of discovering what really is going on in the climate belongs to the scientists. As socialists we should however be aware of the fact that mainstream science is not always objective. We live in a capitalist world, with huge economic interests dominating world politics.
This point should at the very least make Socialists think. We invite our readers to read Brian Baker's article without prejudice, with an open mind. Consider the facts and figures he provides. We also invite any of our readers, comrades and supporters, especially the more scientifically qualified, to contribute to this debate with their opinions both for and against.
Marxism is not
just about economics and the class struggle; it is about the very future of the
human race on this planet. Marxists take an interest in all that is human. And
this debate about the future of our climate is one worth having. Our aim is to
transform society in such a away that the working people of this planet finally
reach the stage where they can take their destiny into their own hands, where
they can rationally plan production in a way that it is in harmony with the
environment we evolved in. Capitalism is incapable of doing this, because the
profit motive does not allow it.
Brian J Baker - Sceptic
The publication of these articles in April 2008, with consistently approving introductions,
prompted individual members of the IMT to hurriedly respond to the
mammoth Brian Baker article. Mauro Vanetti in particular put together a
comprehensive demolition in record time, see his series of articles at
UPDATE: Over four years later in July 2012 Marxist.com broke its silence, publishing a brief article by Chris Burrows including a clear rejection of climate change scepticism. Presumably the pressure of newer members perplexed by the absence of the subject from IMT material has pushed the leadership into allowing the issue to be re-opened. The decisive question, however, remains, whether the author of all main political position documents, Alan Woods, will retreat sufficiently to include discussion of these immense problems for the future of humanity to appear in his general analysis and IMT "Perspectives"?