Earlier this year we received a letter from a reader of Socialist Appeal who says we put too much importance on one factor that contributes to climate change, human-induced emissions of “greenhouse” gases. In his answer Phil Mitchinson looks at the broader aspects of pollution, climate change and so on and stresses the need for a radical, socialist transformation of society if we are even to begin to tackle these vital problems.

Global warming and other environmental issues are always in the news. The Green Party in the UK claims to be neither right wing nor left wing as, they say, environmental issues transcend the traditional issues of class and the division between rich and poor that define conventional political discussions and divisions. This is poppycock. The environmental problems, and the potential environmental catastrophe, we face are creations of the capitalist system.

Dramatic climate change in recent years has led scientists to the conclusion that global warming is the cause. This is bad news for the private owners of the $2trn dollar oil, gas and natural gas industries. If serious action were taken to deal with global warming, their profits would be in trouble. That is why these big monopolies have spent millions on a campaign designed to rubbish the global warming theory.

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