Alas, it was not to be . . . (Climate and Capitalism)

Today’s Times reports on the development of alternative energy resources in Chile which are said to put it “on track to rely on clean sources for 90 percent of its electricity needs by 2050, up from the current 45 percent. ”

The word “bittersweet” is entirely insufficient to describe the emotions evoked by articles like this, though it strikes me as the best we have. That’s to say that during the next half century we will see a significant move to renewable energy sources, and this will occur, contrary to what Naomi Klein predicted, within the neoliberal capitalist order which has been dominant since the early 80s.

Of course, as Klein would immediately-and correctly-respond, it will be in no way sufficient to prevent massive, almost unthinkable destruction between now and then: hundreds of millions of refugees from Southeast Asia inundated by floods, hundreds of millions more from destruction of formerly productive agricultural regions, hundreds of millions more fleeing from temperatures which simply can’t support human habitation.

So yes, capitalism has responded. But far too little and far too late. Had a decent economic order emerged, one which allowed for some degree of centralized economic planning based on the needs of the population rather than the corporations, the survival of a large fraction of the species could have been secured.

Alas, it was not to be.

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