Economic system

Letter from over 200 academics: Our economic system is unfit to deal with the climate crisis

Eearlier this year, the official international summary of climate science has announced that we are facing an increase in disasters and disruptions, with the most vulnerable suffering the most and soonest. A leaked report the same UN process has identified the need for a transformation of our economic systems for a meaningful attempt to limit loss and damage.

Yet at the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow, no justice-based economic transformation plan was launched. Worse still, voluntary corporate pledges have diverted attention from the economic policies needed to reduce atmospheric carbon and prepare for further disruption. And this, despite decades of voluntary initiatives do not deliver significant impacts on the climate. It is unscientific and unethical to deny that our economic system is at fault, therefore must transform to reduce climate risk and adapt to difficulties. To ignore this reality, plans are afoot to waste huge sums of money on power-hungry but atmospherically insignificant devices. carbon capture machines.

Instead, political leaders could agree with their populations on needed changes in industries and lifestyles. In keeping with climate justice, they could take immediate action to reduce inequalities nationally and globally, which is essential for any change in livelihoods to be just and sustainable.

We are hundreds of scholars from dozens of countries, who mourn the situation but are determined not to ignore it. We believe that the capture and failure of Cop26 by corporations makes it clear that members of communities and organizations must now lead our own emergency response. This includes coordinated radical political advocacy from outside a corporate-led system, for a true green revolution that will drastically reduce and decrease emissions, regenerate nature and help us adapt. This also includes the growth of community-led activities deep adaptation independent of governments and transnational corporations.

Glasgow’s hot air means it’s time for more honest and radical leadership. We must challenge the fantasy that dangerous global warming will not get worse or that the biggest corporations will come to our rescue. When we escape such an illusion, we can contribute to a different path – a path that we hope governments will adopt when they escape the constraints of the status quo.

Dr Malika Virah-Sawmy, IASS-Potsdam, Germany and Mauritius

Professor Dr Jem Bendell, University of Cumbia and co-editor Deep Adaptation, UK

Dr Yves Cochet, Former Minister of the Environment, France, Momentum Institute, France

A full list of all 200+ signatories can be found here

The system is faulty

We have heard a lot recently about the alarming state of affairs in the UK, with particular emphasis on the government in place and the behavior of the Prime Minister.

While I agree with most critics, I can’t help but think that in a perverse way Boris Johnson is highlighting the terrible shortcomings of British democracy. He behaves the way he does because the system allows him to.

From a grossly unfair electoral system that effectively guarantees five years of rule for the winning party, to labyrinthine parliamentary practices and procedures, it is clear that major reform is needed. It is time to lift the country out of the sickening mists of dubious grandeur and into a 21st century that already presents formidable challenges for future generations to face.

So let’s introduce proportional representation at election time and get a much more balanced mix of decision makers around the top table, tighten the rules by creating a written constitution and elect a head of state to replace the ravaged monarchy the scandals which the public pays £340million a year.

J. Wells


New health priorities

There has been a heavy price to pay in terms of acute illnesses during Covid and it will continue well beyond. The complete lockdown and diversion of medical personnel from areas such as cardiovascular and cancer treatment has meant that many patients have not been seen, diagnosed or treated. No doubt some symptomatic did not bother to ask for help because they despaired of the difficulty of accessing it, accumulating troubles for their future. And we know only too well what problems there are with ambulances.

This is a personal issue for me. I have been thankful several times that my two cancers were diagnosed and treated in 2011 and 2015, not 2019-21. A friend with a serious heart condition was told her case was ‘urgent’ in early summer 2021 but was kept awaiting heart bypass surgery. This is what she received when she was finally rushed to hospital with a heart attack. Fortunately, she is recovering well.

But what about people whose treatment has been interrupted or put on long-term hold? With the decline of Covid and vaccinations now widespread, why is it not a priority to treat people with life-threatening conditions?

Jill Stephenson


Ah, the Brexit dividend!

The latest figures show that the UK economy is stagnating, one of the main reasons being the government’s tough Brexit. If Tory MPs had done their homework – instead of, in some cases, doing second jobs – they would have realized the utter folly of leaving the EU single market.

It was accomplished by Lord Cockfield, a European Commissioner who served in Margaret Thatcher’s government, and is ranked as one of the EU’s greatest achievements. By eliminating non-tariff physical and fiscal barriers, it fueled economic growth by boosting trade, improving efficiency and helping to lower prices. The opposite of what is happening to us now.

Roger Hinds


F.W. de Klerk

The death of South Africa’s last white president, FW de Klerk, marks the end of those who ruled South Africa during apartheid. He started the process of transition to democracy well, but he also worked for a long time in the apartheid system and did not seem to apologize, acknowledge and refute apartheid as completely as he should have.

It’s customary to congratulate those who succeed, and he started the process, but the full picture is more complex than that. Although apartheid is officially over, do all people in South Africa have the same opportunities? I think there is more to do.

Denis Fitzgerald

Melbourne, Australia

Of my nut

I thought it might be useful to offer some sage advice to the three MPs who allegedly consumed too much alcohol on a flight to Gibraltar (the three MPs vehemently deny these claims).

In my late teens and early twenties, staggering home from a long night out, managing to find my door key and subsequently ending up on the hall carpet, I always found it conducive to tell my parents that I had eaten a bag of peanuts that had to be “off”.

Don’t think they ever suspected. It was then.

Robert Boston