10 Dec 2018, 14:06
Benjamin Wehrmann

“Capitalism has to save the climate” – opinion


There’s a “silent consensus” surrounding the international climate action negotiations that “capitalism has to stop the climate catastrophe,” Ingo Arzt writes in an opinion piece for the left-wing newspaper Tageszeitung (taz). “Saving the planet has to become the biggest business of the 21st century. The fancy thing that everyone wants,” Arzt says. This might sound “paradoxical,” since capitalism itself has contributed a great deal to the increase in man-made emissions in past decades, but the efficient organisation made by capitalist agents that base their actions on scientific knowledge in pursuit of financial gains is likely to be the only “system” that can bring about rapid change where it is necessary, Arzt argues. Many people in decisive positions in the capitalist system have long started using it for progressive environmental causes and “only capitalism has the destructive and at the same time creative power to blow away the old industries quickly.” However, what is needed to protect the climate in a capitalist system in Germany is a tax reform that gives carbon emissions appropriate prices, a digital transformation to manage intermittent power production with renewables, social safety measures to bolster structural economic changes, and the readiness of consumers to abstain from buying ever more things just for the sake of consumption, Arzt says.

Read the opinion piece in German here.

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