Forces, relations, and 21st century eco-socialism

Paul Street
wind turbines

. . .With the little slice of intellectual history as background, let me advance what might sound like a technologically determinist proposition regarding present day forces of energy extraction and production: humanity has perhaps 20 years, maybe less, to move off fossil fuels and onto renewable sources or it will ruin all prospects for a decent future. 

This is not merely the judgment of apocalyptic cranks and “catastrophist” worry warts. It is the consensus finding of a vast scientific literature on the environmental cataclysm that is certain to take hold in coming decades and centuries if Homo sapiens does not get off fossil fuels. For many years now, the preponderant majority of earth and climate scientists have been telling us that the planet we all share is being made progressively uninhabitable for human and other sentient beings (and living things) by global capitalism’s relentlessly wasteful, growth-addicted burning of fossil fuels. According to the latest and last report from the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), grave consequences will follow if nothing is done to slow the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) that is already well underway thanks to the mass extraction and burning of hydrocarbons. The report cites food shortages, refugee crises, flooding, mass extinction of plants and animals and dangerously high temperatures as the effects of global warming at its current pace. The panel also warns that dying forests, melting of ice worldwide, rising sea levels and devastating heat would come if emissions continued on their current pace.