Policies favourable to fossil fuel companies have extracted our common wealth – our air, forests, land… – and put it in the hands of a small minority. Green policies are therefore bound to be redistributive at a time when inequality is soaring. One of the measures proposed to reduce the regressivity of carbon prices is redistributing tax revenues in favour of low and middle income earners. But, as anthropologist Jason Hickel reminds us, “Anything short of a binding cap on fossil fuel extraction, with declining annual targets that will wind down the industry to zero, is just hand-waving.”
This brings us to one of the report’s defining paragraphs, “Some scientists stress that climate change is caused by industrial development, and more specifically, by the nature of social and economic development produced by the nature of capitalist society, which they therefore consider ultimately unsustainable”. Although many have said it before, we don’t think we have ever read anything quite so clarifying in the world’s leading climate report, which adds, “Current emissions are incompatible with the Paris Agreement and immediate and deep cuts are absolutely mandatory.