The colossal fraud by Volkswagen, the world’s second-biggest vehicle manufacturer, sums up the capitalist system’s approach to the environment. VW rigged vehicle emissions tests worldwide to boost short-term profit. And the EU took no action – pressured by governments backing their own automotive industries. No matter that thousands of people die of diseases directly linked to this pollution, or that pumping out greenhouse gases threatens life on earth. PETE DICKENSON examines this systemic failure. Originally published in Socialism Today, Issue 194 (December 2015 / January 2016), the political journal of the Socialist Party (sister party of Socialist Alternative in England and Wales).

It is more than a quarter of a century since the ruling classes of the world began serious discussions on global warming, in preparation for the 1992 UN-sponsored ‘Earth Summit’ in Rio. Yet no meaningful steps have been taken to tackle the problem, even though the majority of the capitalist establishment has come to understand that something needs to be done. The Paris summit looks very unlikely to break from this pattern. So how can the lack of action be explained?

Read More