Sunday 1st November 2009
It's really quite simple. In much (though not all) of Europe and elsewhere we have some political democracy, and this is a fantastic thing which we must defend tooth and nail. What we don't have, alas, is economic and social democracy. Corporations have more power than governments, and by law they are required to put shareholder value above all things. If a corporation appears philanthropic think "marketing" and look for the inevitable get-out clause. This means that governments can't tackle climate change, even in countries with forms of political democracy and free press (at least free to those with Rupert Murdoch's level of resources).
Runaway global climate change is probably already with us. The supply of oil has probably already peaked. Nation states and international corporations make all the important decisions to serve only the inhuman needs of the market for continuous growth and profit. "Growth purely for its own sake is the philosophy of cancer" (J. Fforde, Lost in a Good Book, 2002, rephrasing several predecessors), and, like a cancer, the inexorable logic of capitalism is gradually cutting off the lifeblood of the world. Very soon (perhaps in less than a decade) the advanced capitalist countries will plunge into chaos. (Why only the advanced countries? Because by any useful definition the other countries are already in chaos!) It's later than you think!
If you're not pissed off, you haven't been paying attention.