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To Halt Climate Change, We Need an Ecological Leninism

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Interview with Andreas Malm

State power should definitely be used to prevent luxury emissions perpetrated by the rich — private jets should be banned outright, as should SUVs and other vehicles that consume completely indefensible amounts of fuel. This is low-hanging fruit for the climate justice movement, as these sources of emissions are among the least socially necessary. The situation is completely different when we consider, for example, methane from rice paddies in India, where the problems caused by the emissions have to be weighed against the necessity to produce food to sustain populations. A successful transition away from fossil fuels would not entail the complete planning of the economy in the sense of having states plan and ration individual consumption — far from it. But some forms of consumption will indeed have to be limited or abolished outright — this cannot be done through markets or appeals to ethical consumption, but only through state regulation.