Friday, 13 April 2007

An Inconvenient Truth in Bridgend

A showing of the acclaimed film about climate change and a chance to meet two grassroots activists - Paul Lynch and Ahmed Al-Jeffrey, RESPECT candidates for South Wales West

Monday 16 April at 7 pm
Council Chamber
Municipal Building
Angel Street

RESPECT will be standing on May 3rd for a rapid transition to a low carbon economy.
Hosted by Bridgend RESPECT


Anonymous said...

Why are RESPECT showing a film made by a captialist politician like Al Gore?

Anonymous said...

Al Gore's film is actually very good, but where it does fall down is the final 3 minutes where he outlines the solutions. He doesn't talk about nationalising the railways or taking on multinational corporations like Esso/Exxon Mobil, nor does he talk about huge programmes for renewable energy.

I'm sure the RESPECT speakers afterwards will describe how RESPECT's approach to solving the climate crisis is radically different to Plaid, Tories, LibDems, New Labour and the Greens
whose solutions can't save the planet.

But for further on Al Gore, I refer you to the comments by a comrade of mine.

Adam Johannes

"Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth does an excellent job in making the threat we face understandable and dramatises the need for emergency action. But it is precisely on what needs to be done, and how, that he falls far short.

The main solutions Gore offers are individual actions: that we all install long-life light bulbs, insulate our homes, drive hybrid cars, vote for the “right” respectable candidates. Beyond that, Gore makes few serious demands on big business, and endorses the largely voluntary market-based measures, such as emissions trading, contained in the Kyoto treaty. Gore also mentions in passing and approvingly “geosequestration”, so-called clean coal, and nuclear power.

Unfortunately, such an approach is both inadequate and politically misleading, given the magnitude and source of the global environmental crisis. Gore and others urge us to lead “carbon-neutral” lives — but how is that possible, if the Australian and world economy is not carbon neutral because the unaccountable, unelected giant multinational car makers, fossil fuel combines, huge mineral processors and the major power generating corporations and corporatised public utilities spew greenhouse gases into the air at increasing rates?

However well intentioned, appeals to people to change their individual habits — “Don’t drive a car”, “Don’t keep your appliances on stand-by”, “Stop being a consumer” — bring trivial results when measured against the problem. If there’s no adequate public transportation, if there’s no adequate city planning that lets workers live close to jobs, schools, hospitals and recreation, how can they stop driving cars? If every appliance the big corporations churn out is designed be on standby by default, it makes it bloody difficult.

As a leading liberal wealthy capitalist politician who so recently sought to take the political reins of the world’s most powerful capitalist government, someone who believes that capitalism and the market can solve the world’s problems, Gore is unwilling to and sees no reason to confront the world’s most powerful corporations, and the ruling capitalist class. He doesn’t blame the political and economic system run for and by the tiny minority class of capitalists who are prepared to gamble with the fate of the Earth in order to maximise their profits.

Of course, Gore is not alone in pushing the onus of solving global warming and other manifestations of the broader environmental crisis onto individuals, while also relying on the capitalist market, nudged along by so-called “green” taxes and legislative regulations. This is also the underlying approach of most mainstream environmental groups and the major Greens parties. Even Monbiot’s otherwise radical proposals include a form of carbon trading, albeit much more egalitarian. As a result, this consensus is accepted by most environmental activists.

Such views among genuine environmental activists reflect a well-meaning but ultimately utopian belief that if only enough of us decide to drastically reduce our demand on the world’s resources — via greatly reduced personal consumption, purchasing from firms with sustainable production techniques and non-polluting technologies — big business and governments will respond to “market signals” and accept and adapt to a slow-growth or no-growth economy.

Of course, we should not dismiss the importance of environmental consciousness and radicalisation, which is often expressed in attempts to live in ways consistent with sustainability. It is a good thing if people try to organise their lives so that they live more ecologically."

Derek Wall said...

its important to challenge market based environmentalism


Anonymous said...

Why not ?

All views are worth at least listening too
if you havent seen it how can you comment

Respectable Citizen said...

Cheers, Derek. I will read the article. I recently read your book "Babylon and Beyond" which I found very enjoyable, though there were a couple of points I disagreed with.

I agree with Valleys Mam partially.

It would sound strange for a left wing organisation to be showing a film by an American politician whose party is heavilly funded by oil companies, but as I stated the film is an excellent presentation of the science of climate change and does inspire people to take action. Where we part company with Al Gore is over some of his solutions as outlined in Derek's article and the comments above - but we hope to return to this theme again on the blog soon . . .!