Bolivia's President blames capitalism for global warming

Jeremy Hance
December 18, 2009

The President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, clearly frustrated with the progression of talks at the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, today blamed capitalism for global warming.

"Who is responsible? The responsibility lies on the capitalist system—we have to change the capitalist system," he said. His remarks clearly outlined the gulf between wealthy northern countries and the developing south that has made it so difficult to achieve an agreement at Copenhagen.

Yesterday Morales, Bolivia's first indigenous President outlined his views further on the radio show Democracy Now: "Capitalism is the worst enemy of humanity. Capitalism—and I’m speaking about irrational development—policies of unlimited industrialization are what destroy the environment. And that irrational industrialization is capitalism. So as long as we don’t review or revise those policies, it’s impossible to attend to humanity and life."

When asked how he would move to end capitalism, Morales said, "It’s changing economic policies, ending luxury, consumerism. It’s ending the struggle to—or this searching for living better. Living better is to exploit human beings. It’s plundering natural resources. It’s egoism and individualism. Therefore, in those promises of capitalism, there is no solidarity or complementarity. There’s no reciprocity. So that’s why we’re trying to think about other ways of living lives and living well, not living better. Not living better. Living better is always at someone else’s expense. Living better is at the expense of destroying the environment."

From the podium at a plenary meeting, Morales said that leaders should admit to the world that the conference is failing.

"If there is no agreement at this level, why not tell it to the people? […] The time has come for everyone. We can't spend days and days here. We have other important issues to deal with,"

Morales surprised many by demanding earlier this week that nations should lower their temperature target from 2 degrees Celsius to 1 degree Celsius.

"Our objective is to save humanity and not just half of humanity. We are here to save mother earth. Our objective is to reduce climate change to [under] 1C. [above this] many islands will disappear and Africa will suffer a holocaust," he said according to .

Many vulnerable nations have asked the target to be set at 1.5 degrees Celsius, a target that wealthy nations have largely dismissed. Temperature has currently risen approximately 0.8 degrees Celsius so far.

This year Morales won a second term in Bolivia as a member of the Movement for Socialism Party.

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Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com (December 18, 2009).

Bolivia's President blames capitalism for global warming.