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.

The debate over global warming and the consequences it may or may not have for planet Earth and humanity has been raging for several decades now. Global warming is an endless source of controversy, but one thing is clear – our climate is changing.

"According to the defenders of capitalism and the "free market", socialism in general and marxism in particular is all but dead and buried. However it may be instructive to examine one of the main environmental problems created by the free market, namely global warming. This has been described as the greatest disaster facing humankind, not to mention a myriad of other species! The question is can the capitalist system find a global solution?".

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