Letter from over 200 academics: Our economic system is incapable of dealing with the climate crisis


EEarlier this year, the official international climate science summary announced that we are facing an increase in disasters and disruption, with the most vulnerable suffering the most and the earlier. A leaked report from the same UN process identified the need for a transformation of our economic systems in 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, voluntary trade commitments have distracted attention from the economic policies needed to reduce atmospheric carbon and prepare for further disruption. And this despite decades of voluntary initiatives that have not had a significant impact on the climate. It is unscientific and unethical to deny that our economic system is at fault, so it must be transformed to reduce climate risk and adapt to difficulties. To ignore this reality, plans are underway to waste huge sums of money on energy-hungry but atmospheric insignificant carbon capture machines.

Political leaders could instead align with their populations on needed changes in industries and lifestyles. By respecting climate justice, they could take immediate action to reduce inequalities nationally and globally, which is essential for any change in livelihoods to be fair and sustainable.

We are hundreds of academics 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 businesses clearly shows that members of communities and organizations must now lead our own emergency response. This includes radical and coordinated political advocacy outside of a business-led system, for a true green revolution that will dramatically reduce and reduce emissions, regenerate nature and help us adapt. It also includes growing community-led deep adaptation efforts, independent of governments and transnational corporations.

The hot Glasgow air means it’s time for more honest and radical leadership. We must speak out against the fantasy that dangerous global warming will not get worse or that the biggest companies will come to our rescue. When we escape such an illusion, we can contribute to another path forward – one that we hope governments will join in 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 of Deep Adaptation, UK

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

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

The system is at fault

We have heard a lot recently about the alarming state of UK affairs, with a focus on the government of the day and the behavior of the Prime Minister.

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

From a blatantly 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 pull the country out of the sickening mists of questionable grandeur and enter a 21st century that already presents formidable challenges that future generations must face.

So let’s introduce proportional representation at election time and get a much more balanced mix of people making decisions around the head table, tighten the rules by creating a written constitution, and have an elected head of state to replace the ravaged monarchy. by the scandals which the public pays 340 million pounds sterling on an annual basis.

J. Wells


New health priorities

There has been a heavy price to pay in terms of acute illnesses during the Covid and it will continue well beyond. The complete lockdown and hijacking of medical personnel from areas such as cardiovascular and cancer treatments has left many patients unseen, diagnosed or treated. No doubt some with symptoms did not bother to seek help because they despaired of the difficulty of accessing it, accumulating problems for their future. And we know all too well what the problems are with ambulances.

It is a personal problem for me. I have given thanks on several occasions that my two cancers were diagnosed and treated in 2011 and 2015, and not in 2019-21. A friend with severe heart disease was told her case was “urgent” in early summer 2021, but was kept waiting for 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 standby? With the decline of Covid and vaccinations now widespread, why is it not a priority to treat people with life-threatening diseases?

Jill stephenson


Ah, the Brexit dividend!

The latest figures show the UK economy is stagnating, one of the main reasons being the government’s hard Brexit. If the Conservative MPs had done their homework – instead of, in some cases, taking a second job – they would have realized utter folly to leave the EU’s 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 removing physical and fiscal non-tariff barriers, it fueled economic growth by boosting trade, improving efficiency and helping to reduce prices. The opposite of what is happening to us now.

Roger hinds


Klerk’s FW

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

It is customary to congratulate those who are successful, and he started the process, but the whole picture is more complex than that. Although apartheid is officially no longer, do all South Africans have the same opportunities? I think there is more to do.

Dennis fitzgerald

Melbourne, Australia

Out of my nut

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

In my late teens and early twenties, coming home from a long night out, managing to find my door key and eventually ending up on the hallway rug, I always found it helpful to tell my parents that I had eaten a bag of peanuts that had to be “turned off”.

Don’t think they ever suspected. That was the time.

Robert boston