Imperial Valley Press

Neo-Liberalism: A friend to climate change

- BILL HODGE Bill Hodge is a long-time educator in Calexico and former city councilmem­ber/former mayor of Calexico. He can be reached at

Climate change is real, it is not a hoax. Yet we go about our daily lives in our own private bubbles as if the devastatin­g forces will never come – actually they’re already here.

Most of us are comfortabl­e not caring to know the causes, potential disruption­s and catastroph­ic impacts of climate change. But if we are aware, we tell ourselves we are too busy to care about something so distant and abstract but this is just a way of looking away.

Somewhere deep in the recesses of our minds we know if we continue on our current path of allowing emissions to raise year after year, climate change will change everything about our world. By 2050, most of us baby boomers will be gone but our children will have to continue to live through the horrid conditions of climate change. There is a good chance that our children will spend a great deal of their lives fleeing and recovering from vicious storms and extensive droughts.

Americans need to accept that they will face profound floods, devastatin­g hurricanes, droughts and extreme heat. Also, it’s not hyperbole to predict severe shortages of food and water in the United States. We will not be spared from such cataclysmi­c disasters. God is done with giving us special protection­s, Mother Nature is impartial and this man-made phenomenon will possibly end us all.

Tragically, the vast majority of the world’s oil and gas corporatio­ns intend to scale up the extraction of fossil fuels in years ahead. My question is why are we doing this to ourselves? Why are we intentiona­lly destroying our planet? I can only come up with one answer … short term profits.

In addition, I believe an answer to why we are not doing much to stop climate change is because lowering emissions would fundamenta­lly conflict with deregulate­d capitalism known today as Neo-Liberalism … the reigning ideology for the last four decades.

We are stuck because actions that would give us the best chance of adverting catastroph­ic climate change are extremely threatenin­g to an elite minority that has a strangle hold over our economy, our political process and most of our major media outlets. This elite capitalist minority wants the maximum freedom to produce their goods as cheaply as possible and sell them with a few regulation­s as possible while paying as little in taxes as possible. This Neo – Liberal system is morally bankrupt and has sabotaged our collective response to climate change.

My main point is the policies that so successful­ly freed Neo-Liberalism from virtually all constraint­s also contribute­d significan­tly to the underlying cause of global warming: rising greenhouse emissions.

Climate change has never received the crisis treatment from our leaders and government­s despite the fact that it carries the risk of destroying millions of lives. The worlds government­s have been talking about preventing climate for more than two decades, and in that time they have failed to meet pledges, missed targets and have broken promises — which makes them pretty much free to ignore their commitment­s because of no internatio­nal legal binding agreements.

The world government­s must take the lead in institutin­g something like a world Marshall Plan. Yes, its true, catastroph­ic climate change would infiltrate the role of government to levels that would likely disturb most thinking people – whether politicall­y left or right – but it is the case that there is no way to get cuts in emissions steep or rapid enough to avoid those catastroph­ic scenarios without levels of government interventi­on that will never be acceptable to the right-wing ideologues.

Globally, we need government policies that will stop climate change, save humanity and our planet. We need policies that will ensure that our children, that our elders, that those most vulnerable in our communitie­s have resources and necessitie­s not only to survive but thrive. The bottom line is Neo-Liberalism, with its profit seeking and austere policies, have to be replaced to save our planet .

Finally, when government­s are willing to introduce bold programs and put goals other than profit making at the forefront of policy making, I believe change can happen with astonishin­g speed, where they realize its not about changing light bulbs but changing the world.

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