Dinner Debate – December 2016

Are the forces of capitalism destined to conflict with envirionmental protection? As of right now, they may be. A 2013 study found that two-thirds of global greehouse gas emissions were produced by only 90 companies. For international efforts to slow climate change to truly be successful, getting businesses on board will be crucial. This important question was engaged for our December dinner debate, 'Captialism vs. The Climate'.

Members sought to address a number of questions stemming from this tension. For example, how do free market ideals influence people to deny climate change? Should reducing the impacts of climate change take priority over reducing poverty and unemployment? How can social capitalism be encouraged to take root and reduce the impacts of climate change? Will unfettered capitalism lead to its own - and humanity's - destruction if it continues to eat up the resources that sustain us? Or will it be our only hope of funding and finding a solution to the climate change challenge?

We sought to address the potential benefits and ramifications of carbon taxes, as well as improving the efficiency of carbon trading schemes where they exist. Challenges included relativising measures that must be taken by developed versus developing versus least-developed countries, local approaches to combating versus large business campaigns, and the detrimental effect of climate change denial groups. 

Jonathan Short