Archive for September, 2019

There Will Be A Third(Nuclear) World War Unless The Far-Right is Defeated in Several Countries by Mass Action! Remember Hitler Didn’t Have Nuclear Weapons!

September 9, 2019 Leave a comment

‘Blood on our hands’ over US use of Shannon, says Clare Daly

Niamh Horan, Sunday Independent, January 5 2020

Dublin MEP Clare Daly has warned Ireland has “blood on our hands” as the rapid escalation of tension between the US and Iran brings the use of Shannon Airport into focus.

The outspoken activist has said she will seek an immediate discussion on the use of the airport by US military when the European Parliament convenes this week.

She was joined in her criticism by fellow MEP Mick Wallace, who called the killing of Qasem Soleimani as “nothing short of an act of terrorism”.

The US administration had argued the opposite _ that it has taken one of the world’s biggest terrorist organiser off the battlefield.

But speaking to the Sunday Independent yesterday, Ms Daly said: “The rapid escalation of US military action targeted at Iran has brought into sharp focus the role of Shannon Airport in the transiting of troops to theatres of war.”

Describing the assassination of Soleimani at Baghdad International Airport as “an outrageous murder”, she said the killing was “in breach of all international law.”

Questioning the reasoning behind the attack, she said: “Imagine the response if North Korea took out US Chief of Staff James McConville in Toronto Airport while he was working there at the request of the Canadian government?”

And she warned the situation could now deteriorate rapidly “with Iraq facing another major war on its territory”. She said: “Ireland will be complicit in these deaths while we continue to allow Shannon to be used as a stop-over point.

“Many of the soldiers who pass through will not make it back either.”

Ms Daly has repeatedly asked questions of various ministers about the movement of US troops and aircraft through Shannon.

—————————————————————-U.S Peace Council Statement:

“It is clear that we are no longer on the “brink of war with Iran,” but the war has actually begun.”

Friday January 3, 2020
On January 2, 2020, the Trump Administration recklessly escalated its war on Iran by the drone
assassination of Iran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani, Commander of Iran Revolutionary Guards’ Quds
Force. The assassination, ordered directly by President Trump, is a lawless action against an official of a
sovereign state — Iran — with which the US is not officially at war. It occurred on the territory of yet another
sovereign state — Iraq — with which the US is not officially at war.
This reckless act is bound to lead to Iranian retaliation and possibly to an all-out war in the region. It is clear
that we are no longer on the “brink of war with Iran,” but the war has actually begun.
The decision by Donald Trump and the Pentagon to launch new air assaults on the Iraqi territory in the past
week has ignited nationwide resistance by Iraqis who demand to reclaim their full sovereignty and refuse to
allow Iraq to be used as a U.S. base in a U.S. war on Iran.
The Trump Administration’s path to all-out war with Iran didn’t start on December 27, 2019, when a US
“contractor” (mercenary) was killed. Rather, it started in January 2017 with Trump’s inauguration: First, he
selected as top foreign policy advisers such war mongers as John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, who called for
war on Iran. Then he pulled out of the Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA) and embarked on the “maximum
pressure” campaign, imposing illegal, severe economic sanctions on Iran and forcing US allies to join in.
Since then, he has launched cyberattacks on Iranian facilities and has worked to isolate Iran diplomatically.
He public comments have been bullying and contemptuous of a sovereign nation.
The Trump Administration is now further escalating the war by sending thousands more troops to the
Middle East, in the name of “preparing against retaliation” by Iran. He has already ordered 750 more US
troops to the Middle East and potentially 3,000 more. This is in addition to the 5,200 already in Iraq that
push the US agenda against Iran, Syria and Yemen. Many more troops will be needed if the US expands
the war.
But the current US policy toward Iran is part of a bigger and longer picture. It is part of the 1953 overthrow
of the democratically elected Iranian government, the insertion of a dictator Shah for 26 years. After the
Shah was deposed in 1979, the US supported the Saddam Hussein’s 8-year military aggression against
Iran as part of US-engineered takeovers of independent countries in the Middle East — through wars on
Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan.
Every US president over the last 30 years has ordered the bombing of Iraq. More than a million Iraqis have
died during the past three decades years as a consequence of U.S. occupation, bombings, and sanctions.
Tens of thousands of US troops have either been killed or suffered life-changing injuries. The US
government has spent more than $3 trillion of our tax dollars in the on-going occupation and bombing of
this oil-rich country.
Trump Administration’s policy against Iran has also tightened the US alliance with two of Iran’s mortal
enemies, Israel and Saudi Arabia; has ramped up tension in the region, has concentrated military forces in
the Persian Gulf; and has armed the Saudi monarchy in its genocidal war on Yemen.
Since Trump took office in 2017, US aggression against the rest of the world has also been put into
overdrive. The Trump Administration’s foreign policy — supported by much of Big Business and wrapped in
U.S. Peace Council • PO Box 3105, New Haven, CT 06515 • (203) 387-0370 • USPC@USPeaceCouncil.org
the deceitful cover of “Making America Great Again!” — vastly expands Pentagon spending and profitable
US arms exports; bullies allies to buy more US-made weapons and join with US military operations; and
threatens wars on any state refusing to bend the knee to Washington. The US has been ripping up any
multilateral treaty that imposes even the mildest constraints on its aggressive behavior, while flouting
international law and the UN Charter.
Given the fact that the US has invaded and initiated war on more than a dozen countries since the
beginning of this century and has imposed coercive sanctions — economic warfare — on dozens, all in
violation of international law, we should recognize that today the US is the greatest threat to peace in the
On Saturday, January 4th, people from around the United States will be organizing local demonstrations to
1. Show up on Saturday January 4. List of local actions is below
2. Phone Congress 202-224- 3121. Phone your House member and your US Senator. Take Action to
Prevent War with Iran!
3. Phone the White House: 1-202-456-1414 (Switchboard) 1-202-456-1111 (Comments). Say No war
with Iran! The Administration must hear that millions of us are unalterably opposed to an insane
4. Write Letters to the Editor. Express your opposition to war with Iran. Bring all the troops stationed in
Iraq home safely, now.
5. Hold Vigils and organize Rallies in your area and your cities against war with Iran.
6. Take photos of yourself holding “No War with Iran!” signs. Post them on Twitter and Instagram.
Send them to your House Representative and Senator. Encourage others to do the same.

—————————————————————-The US Action can be seen as a DECLARATION OF WAR-Middle East Correspondent on RTE

This is how World Wars Can Start-Iran has a nuclear capability and is Allied to Russia

Iran general Qassem Suleimani killed in Baghdad drone strike ordered by Trump

Supreme leader vows ‘severe revenge’ after US president orders Baghdad airport strike as part of ‘decisive defensive action’

Guardian, Fri 3 Jan 2020

An Image released by the Iraqi prime minister’s office shows wreckage at Baghdad airport following a drone strike on Iran general Qassem Suleiman ordered by Donald Trump

The White House said Donald Trump ordered an air strike that killed powerful Iranian general Qassem Suleimani in Baghdad in the early hours of Friday, in a dramatic escalation of an already bloody struggle between Washington and Tehran for influence across the region.

Suleimani, who ran Iranian military operations in Iraq and Syria, was targeted while being driven from Baghdad airport by local allies from the Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU). The deputy head of the PMU, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes, a close Suleimani associate, was also killed in the attack.


———————————————————–THIRD WORLD WAR  DRAWS CLOSER!!

Russia Announces Development of Rocket which Travels at 27 times Speed of Sound in Air-It would Travel the length of Ireland in less than a minute

Two Days Earlier, Trump Started Huge Escalation of Nuclear Arms Race with “Spaceforce”

Trump to put Nuclear Weapons in Space “the world’s newest war-fighting domain”


World Moves Closer to Disaster as Trump Starts Huge Escalation of Nuclear Arms Race with “Spaceforce”

Trump to put Nuclear Weapons in Space “the world’s newest war-fighting domain”(Trump).

Other Large Powers are already Responding (see response of France and China further down)

– The Treaty (SALT2 1979) between US and Russia Banning Nuclear Weapons in Space was never Ratified by Either Side

BBC news:

President Donald Trump has officially funded a Pentagon force focused on warfare in space – the US Space Force.

The new military service, the first in more than 70 years, falls under the US Air Force.

At an army base near Washington, Mr Trump described space as “the world’s newest war-fighting domain”.

“Amid grave threats to our national security, American superiority in space is absolutely vital,” he said.

“We’re leading, but we’re not leading by enough, but very shortly we’ll be leading by a lot.”

“The Space Force will help us deter aggression and control the ultimate high ground,” he added.

BBC News    France to create new space defence command in September

13 July 2019Share

France plays a leading role in the EU’s space exploration programmes

France will set up a new space defence command in September, President Emmanuel Macron has announced.

Speaking a day before the annual Bastille Day celebrations, Mr Macron said that the command would help to “better protect our satellites, including in an active way”.

Analysts say this marks a switch from a defensive to an offensive posture.

Mr Macron’s proposal follows similar moves by the US, China and Russia in recent years.

Last year, US President Donald Trump ordered the formation of a sixth branch of the country’s armed forces – a “space force”. 

Dec 2019 Trump Quote:

“With my signature today, you will witness the birth of the Space Force, and that will be now officially the sixth branch of the United States Armed Forces,” Trump said Friday before officially signing the National Defense Authorization Act — which creates funding for Space Force — into law. “That is something really incredible. It’s a big moment. That’s a big moment, and we’re all here for it. Space. Going to be a lot of things happening in space.”

Space Force is part of a $1.4 trillion government budget that not only reverses cuts to U.S. defense programs but also allocates funding to the U.S.-Mexico border wall, according to the AP.


The SALT II treaty (1979) prohibited the deployment of Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS) systems:

Each Party undertakes not to develop, test, or deploy:


(c) systems for placing into Earth orbit nuclear weapons or any other kind of weapons of mass destruction, including fractional orbital missiles;

Although SALT II resulted in an agreement in 1979, the United States Senate chose not to ratify the treaty in response to the Soviet war in Afghanistan, which took place later that year. The Soviet legislature also did not ratify it. The agreement expired on December 31, 1985 and was not renewed.


Trump Tweet: Last night I was so proud to have signed the largest Defense Bill ever. The very vital Space Force was created. New planes, ships, missiles, rockets and equipment of every kind, and all made right here in the USA. Additionally, we got Border Wall (being built) funding. Nice!”


BEIJING — Rising space power China on Monday attacked the newly created U.S. Space Force as a “direct threat to outer space peace and security.”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters that China is “deeply concerned about it and resolutely opposed to it.”

“The relevant U.S. actions are a serious violation of the international consensus on the peaceful use of outer space, undermine global strategic balance and stability, and pose a direct threat to outer space peace and security,” Geng said at a regular briefing.

BBC news: President Donald Trump has officially funded a Pentagon force focused on warfare in space – the US Space Force.

The new military service, the first in more than 70 years, falls under the US Air Force.

At an army base near Washington, Mr Trump described space as “the world’s newest war-fighting domain”.

“Amid grave threats to our national security, American superiority in space is absolutely vital,” he said.

“We’re leading, but we’re not leading by enough, but very shortly we’ll be leading by a lot.”

“The Space Force will help us deter aggression and control the ultimate high ground,” he added.




————————————————————————————————————————————–Just Published :Article From Jerry Barmash for Daily Mail  PUBLISHED:  15 September 2019  

U.S. is ‘ready’ to deploy its oil reserves to stop disruptions to global markets after drone attack suspends operations at Saudi Arabian processing facility

  • Drone strikes from Yemen rebels hits oil supply in Saudi Arabia
  • Half of Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities were destroyed from Saturday attack
  • Yemen’s Houthi rebels, backed by Iran, take responsible for drone blasts  
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accuses Iran of ‘launching unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply’
  • President Trump said the United States ‘strongly condemns attack critical energy infrastructure 
  • Saudi-led coalition has been fighting the rebels since 2015 

The United States Energy Department said it is set to use resources from the Strategic Petroleum Oil Reserves, ‘if necessary, to offset any disruptions to oil markets,’ in the wake of a drone attack in Saudi Arabia on the world’s largest oil processing facility.

Full Piece



Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, Björn Höcke (Germany), Peter   Casey, are preparing the ground for the New Hitlers, Mussolinis, General O’Duffys (Blueshirts)  Remember: Peter Casey came second in the 2018 Irish Presidential Election. The second world war was preceded by capitalist economic crisis and heightened worl-wide inter imperialist rivalry including trade wars

In the lead up to a Third World War, what are the chances of the following line-up occurring at some stage: USA-Russia vs Franco-German Axis- Peoples Republic of China??

Why is France Threatening To Veto any Brexit Extension?

Perhaps the final sentence in the statement of the French Foreign Minister is the most important: ‘We are not going to do (extend) this every three months,’ he said.

The Guardian and the Daily Mail have reported that France has threatened to Veto any extension  of the Brexit deadline beyond Oct 31. Perhaps the final sentence in the statement of the French Foreign Minister is the most important: ‘We are not going to do (extend) this every three months,’ he said. In the context of heightened inter-imperialist rivalry including trade/tariff wars between US and EU, it is to be expected that France will not tolerate “an enemy within” for very long. Johnson and the Tories are in League with TRUMP. While the UK remains a member of the EU, it has a veto on crucial political and economic matters. It can disrupt and paralyse the EU in the service of Trump with whom Johnson wishes to Ally.. France will not allow this to continue. Of course, as before the Second World War, inter-imperialist alliances can shift suddenly. Remember the Stalin-Hitler Pact.! Note Trumps recent kind words for Putin! When imperialist interests are in play, it would be wise not to rule anything out. States have no morals, just interests as we all know. My own opinion is that France will insist that the Brexit issue be fully resolved within months.

In the lead up to a Third World War, what are the chances of the following line-up occurring at some stage: USA-Russia vs Franco-German Axis- Peoples Republic of China??

Question to Me on Aubane List

What kind of Mass Action have you in Mind to Defeat the Far-Right?

REPLY by  Paddy Healy

Social Democracy, The Communist Part and its linked trade unions had huge support in Germany as the Nazi movement grew. Trotsky correctly advocated a political and trade union united front of the two to stop Hitler. Both refused to take his advice seeing their rivals in the workers movement as the main enemy.

The actions of the proposed united front would include  voting pacts but above all the general strike.

In a capitalist economic and political crisis many workers and poor people , who have been betrayed by their traditional and Trade union leaders , become vulnerable to recruitment to Far-Right forces using false promises and scapegoating Jews, Muslims, Black people, immigrants etc (It is happening again to-day)

It is vital that traditional workers organisations use over-whelming power such as the general strike to defeat attacks on workers and to demonstrate to the poor that their problems can be solved by the workers movement

In Ireland the capitulation of ICTU to Austerity while the Irish super-rich massively prospered has opened the way to the  far right. Tony Blair in the UK, European social democracy and the French Communist Party have much to answer for on the European continent


Trotsky Was First to Warn of Nazism

From The Militant ,Volume 1X No 19, 12 May 1945, p. 5.
The course of events in Europe have given terrible confirmation to Trotsky’s repeated warnings of the dangers of fascism. Before Hitler came to power, the statesmen of the capitalist “democracies” viewed the rise of fascism with sympathy, while the heads of the Social-Democratic and Stalinist organisations retreated without fighting before the onslaught of the Nazi gangs. Trotsky on the other hand sounded the. alarm from the very beginning. Here is one of his first warnings in 1931:

“The decisive hour is very close … The coming into power of the German ‘National Socialists’ would mean above all the extermination of the flower of the German proletariat, the disruption of its organizations, the extirpation of its belief in itself and in its future. Considering the far greater maturity and acuteness of the social contradictions in Germany, the hellish work of Italian Fascism would probably appear as a pale and almost humane experiment in comparison with the work of the German National Socialists … The struggle of the proletariat, taken unawares, disorientated, disappointed and betrayed by its own leadership, against the Fascist regime would be transformed into a series of frightful bloody and futile convulsions …

From The MilitantVol. IX No. 19, 12 May 1945, p. 5.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.

“It goes without saying, that some day triumphant Fascism will fall as a victim to the objective contradictions and to its own inadequacy. But for the immediate, perceptible future, for the next ten to twenty years, a victory of Fascism in Germany would mean a suspension in the development of revolutionary progress, collapse of the Comintern and the triumph of world imperialism in its most heinous and bloodthirsty forms.” (Germany – The Key to the International Situation, 1931)

Even before Hitler came to power Trotsky warned he would attack the Soviet Union:

“A victory of Fascism in Germany would signify the inevitable war against the USSR … Once Hitler comes into power and proceeds to crush the vanguard of the German workers, pulverizing and demoralizing the whole proletariat for many years to come, the Fascist government alone will be the only government capable of waging war against the USSR. Naturally, it will act under such circumstances in a common front with Poland and Rumania, with the other border states as well as with Japan in the Far East.” (Germany – The Key to the International Situation, 1931.)

As Hitler moved toward power, Trotsky, the founder of the Red Army, made a dramatic appeal to the Soviet Government to initiate a militant defense:

“In my opinion this is how the Soviet government OUGHT to act in case of a Fascist coup in Germany. Upon receiving the telegraphic communication of this event I would, in their place, sign an order for the mobilization of the army reserves. When you have a mortal enemy before you, and when war flows with necessity from the logic of the objective situation, it would be unpardonable light-mindedness to give that enemy time to establish and fortify himself, conclude the necessary alliances, receive the necessary help, work out a plan of concentric military actions- – not only from the west but from the east – and thus grow up to the dimensions of a colossal danger.” (Article in Liberty, July 16, 1932.)

Warn of War and Attack on USSR

After Hitler took power, many people thought he would not last long. Trotsky saw instead that Hitler was the harbinger of another world war:

“Simply to say that Hitler is a demagogue, an hysterical person and an actor is to shut one’s eyes so as not to face the danger! It takes more than hysteria to seize power, and method there must be in the Nazi madness. Woe to those who do not awaken to this fact in. time! The leaders of German working class organizations refused to take Hitler seriously: considering his program as a reactionary and Utopian one they proved incapable of estimating its force of action. Today, as a result of their ghastly mistake, their organizations have been shattered to bits. The same error might be repeated in the field of world politics.” (What Hitler Wants, 1933)

In face of the hope that Mussolini might become involved in conflict with Hitler, Trotsky pointed to the reality. Hitler, Trotsky said, was seeking allies.

“Hitler is counting upon the support of Italy and, within certain limits, this is assured him, not so much because their internal governments are similar – the purely German Third Reich is, as is known, a frankly Latin plagiarism – as because of the parallelism in many of their foreign aspirations. But with the Italian crutch alone, German imperialism will not rise to its feet. Only under the condition of support from England can Fascist Germany gain the necessary freedom of movement.” (What Hitler Wants, 1933)

Chamberlain, as the world knows, later appeased Hitler at Munich, thus fulfilling Trotsky’s prediction. But looking still further ahead, Trotsky foresaw a temporary pact between Stalin and Hitler:

“Hitler is preparing for war. His policy in the domain of economics is dictated primarily by concern over the maximum economic independence of Germany in case of war. To the aims of military preparation must also be subordinated the service of obligatory labor. But the very character of these measures indicates that it is not a question of tomorrow. An attack upon the West in the more or less immediate future could be carried out only on condition of a military alliance between Fascist Germany and the Soviets.” (What Hitler Wants, 1933)

While Hitler deluded the Allied statesmen with gestures over disarmament, Trotsky again and again warned that the main line of Hitler’s policy was directed toward war and attack of the Soviet Union.


Far-right AfD makes big gains but fails to topple mainstream parties

Exit polls put party second in German state elections in Saxony and Brandenburg

Kate Connolly,  in Berlin, Guardian, Sun 1 Sep 2019

The anti-immigration Alternative für Deutschland party made strong gains in two crucial state elections in Germany on Sunday, increasing its support significantly but failing to oust the mainstream parties.

But the sharp shift to the right in Saxony and Brandenburg – AfD came second in both states – is a blow to the ruling coalition of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Social Democrats (SPD), both parties having lost thousands of voters to AfD.

The AfD was also able to mobilise several hundred thousand people who had never voted before, initial analysis showed.

Exit polls showed the CDU remaining the strongest party in Saxony but losing more than six points to secure 33%, while AfD reached 28.1% – a gain of 18 percentage points, and a larger share of the vote than pollsters had predicted.

In Brandenburg, the SPD, which has governed there since 1990, narrowly clung to first place, winning 26.6% and losing 5 points, while AfD secured 24.5%, a more than 10-point rise and a larger share than predicted.

AfD’s success in Saxony and Brandenburg, both in the former communist east, reflects the breakdown of support for Germany’s mainstream parties, the centre-right CDU and the left-of-centre SPD and, as elsewhere in Europe, the increasing fragmentation of the political landscape.

More than 5 million people were eligible to vote, about a 10th of the population.

Turnout was significantly higher than at the last elections in the states in 2014 – up 12 points to 60% in Brandenburg, and up 16 points to 65% in Saxony – in what was billed a historic poll, AfD’s first real electoral test in the region since it entered the national parliament as the leading opposition party two years ago.

Formed in 2013 as an anti-euro party, its strength has grown on the back of its opposition to the arrival in Germany of almost 1 million refugees in 2015.

It campaigned in Saxony and Brandenburg under the slogan “Vollende die Wende”, or “complete the transition” – promising to rectify the mistakes of the mainstream parties after German reunification almost three decades ago and to address the inequalities between citizens of the former east and west.

Björn Höcke, a leading AfD member based in the state of Thuringia, which votes on 27 October in what is expected to be another nail-biting election, said the polls offered “a strong indication that we’ll have a good future in Brandenburg and Saxony and in the whole of Germany”. Höcke represents AfD’s radical right contingent, whose influence in the party is likely to be strengthened by the result.

The Green party was celebrating gains in both states, of 3.3 points in Saxony, where it reached 8.6%, and 3.8 points in Brandenburg, reaching 10.2%, even though it failed to perform as strongly as had been predicted.

But it is likely to be an important player in the formation of coalitions in both Saxony and Brandenburg, where the SPD-Left party partnership lost its majority. All the major parties have ruled out forming a coalition with AfD, even though the CDU has come under pressure from its right wing to do so.

Because the slump in the performance of the mainstream parties was not as severe as predicted, the beleaguered grand coalition in Berlin under Merkel will gain some breathing space, as will the CDU’s chairwoman, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.

She has failed to convince as a leader since taking over from Merkel in December, but will probably benefit from the CDU’s better than expected showing in Saxony. Merkel, who has led the country since 2005, has said she will not stand for re-election. The next German federal election is expected to be held between August and October 2021.

Analysis of the results showed that in Saxony, home to the notorious anti-immigrant campaign group Pegida, often seen as the protest arm of AfD, voters’ main motivation for choosing AfD was out of conviction for its political message, while the majority of AfD supporters in Brandenburg said they voted in protest against the policies of the mainstream government.


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Can Catastrophic Climate Change be Avoided Under Capitalism?

September 3, 2019 Leave a comment

Capitalism in Last Chance Saloon on Climate Change Warns Financial Expert


Without far more ambitious targets and policies to combat global warming, an increasing number of people will come to believe that capitalism is the problem and not part of the solution


By ADAIR TURNER, Business Post Sep 3, 2019

Adair Turner, Chair of the Energy Transitions Commission, was Chair of the UK Financial Services Authority from 2008 to 2012.


This year, the evidence that global warming is occurring, and that the consequences for humanity could be severe and potentially catastrophic, has become more compelling than ever.

Record global temperatures in June and July. Unprecedented heatwaves in Australia and India, with temperatures above 50°C. Huge forest fires across northern Russia. All of these things tell us that we are running out of time to cut greenhouse-gas emissions and contain global warming to at least manageable levels.

The response has been growing demand for radical action. In the United States, proponents of the Green New Deal argue that America should be a zero-carbon economy by 2030. In the United Kingdom, activists of the “Extinction Rebellion” movement demand the same by 2025, and have severely disrupted London transport through very effective forms of civil disobedience. And the argument that avoiding catastrophic climate change requires rejecting capitalism is gaining ground.

Against this growing tide of radicalism, companies, business groups, and other establishment institutions urge caution and more measured action. Achieving zero emissions as early as 2030, they argue, would be immensely costly and require changes in living standards which most people will not accept.

Illegal actions that disrupt others’ lives, it is said, will undermine popular support for necessary measures. A more affordable and gradual path of emissions reduction would be better and still prevent catastrophe, and market instruments operating within the capitalist system could be powerful levers of change.

These counter-arguments are robust. The costs of achieving a zero-carbon economy will increase dramatically if we try to get there in ten years, not 30. Most forms of capital equipment naturally need replacement within 30 years, so switching to new technologies over that timeframe would cost relatively little, whereas switching over ten years would require companies to write off large quantities of existing assets.

Technological progress – whether in solar photovoltaic panels, batteries, biofuels, or aircraft design – will make it much cheaper to cut emissions in 15 years than today. And the profit motive is spurring venture capitalists to make huge investments in the new technologies required to deliver a zero-carbon economy.

Meanwhile, decentralised market mechanisms such as carbon pricing are essential to drive change in key industrial sectors, given the multiplicity of possible routes to decarbonisation.

Socialist planning will not be as effective: Venezuela is an environmental as well as a social disaster. And there is a real danger that excessively rapid action could alienate popular support.

After all, the gilets jaunes (yellow vest) movement in France was provoked by tax increases designed to make diesel cars uneconomic, but were imposed at a time when electric vehicles are not yet cheap enough and lack the range to be a viable alternative for less well-off people living outside major cities.

All developed economies should commit to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050

But it is also true that the capitalist system has failed to respond to the challenge of climate change fast enough; and in some ways, capitalism has impeded effective action. Venture capitalists financing brilliant technological breakthroughs have been matched by industry lobby groups successfully arguing against required regulations or carbon taxes.

If adequate policies had been adopted 30 years ago, we would be well on the way to achieving a zero-carbon economy at a very low cost. The fact that we did not is, in part, capitalism’s fault.

Massively accelerated action is now required. All developed economies should commit to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. And zero must mean zero, with no pretence that we can continue burning large quantities of fossil fuels in the late 21st century, balanced by equally large quantities of carbon capture and storage.

Developing economies should get there by 2060 at the very latest. That would still leave us vulnerable to significant and unavoidable climate change, but climate science suggests that it would be sufficient to avoid catastrophe.

And as the Energy Transitions Commission described in its recent Mission Possible report, it is still possible to achieve that objective at relatively low economic cost, provided we adopt without delay the policies required to drive rapid change.

Carbon taxes should be introduced at a sufficiently high level, and with future increases declared well in advance, to drive the multi-decade investment plans required to decarbonise heavy industry. Carbon tariffs should be used to protect industry from being undercut by imports from countries that fail to apply adequate carbon prices. Airlines should face either steadily rising carbon prices, or regulations requiring them to use a rising proportion of zero-carbon fuels from clearly sustainable sources, with the percentage reaching 100 per cent before 2050.

Blunt but effective instruments – such as banning new sales of internal combustion engine autos from a specific future date, such as 2030 – should also be part of the policy armoury. And regulations should ban putting plastics in landfills and plastic incineration, forcing the development of a complete plastics recycling system.

None of these policies is anti-capitalist. Instead they are the policies we need to unleash capitalism’s power to solve the problem. Once clear prices and regulations are in place, market competition and the profit motive will drive innovation, and economies of scale and learning-curve effects will force down the costs of zero-carbon technologies. And if we do not unleash that power, we will almost certainly fail to contain climate change.

Believers in a market economy are dismayed by radical voices arguing that capitalism is incompatible with effective climate action. But unless capitalism’s defenders support the immediate establishment of far more ambitious targets and policies to achieve net-zero emissions by mid-century, they should not be surprised if an increasing number of people believe that capitalism is the problem and not part of the solution. They will be right to do so.

Adair Turner, Chair of the Energy Transitions Commission, was Chair of the UK Financial Services Authority from 2008 to 2012. See


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