The Greens Against the Poor: Contradictions of Left Environmentalism

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2024-68-2-94-105
Institute of Philosophy and Law, Ural Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (IFP UrD RAS), 16, Sof’i Kovalevskoi Str., Ekaterinburg, 620108, Russian Federation.

Received 28.06.2023. Revised 16.07.2023. Accepted 30.11.2023.

Abstract. The article examines the prospects of an alliance between the ideology of environmentalism and left-wing ideological trends aimed at solving the problems of the poor and socially vulnerable. It is noted that although the “greens” have often been criticized for their focus on the interests of the middle class and ignoring the material problems of the social “grassroots”, modern left-wing theorists increasingly associate the solution to the problem of global warming with the struggle for the material interests of the “exploited and oppressed” (representatives of the working class, precarious workers, poor residents of developing countries, minorities, etc.). It is assumed that the richest, not the poor, should pay for the energy transition; many jobs will be needed for such a transition; serious material climate damage will be prevented; residents of the poorest countries will benefit from the fight against global warming, because they are most vulnerable to droughts, floods and other potential catastrophic events. Today, it is also increasingly noted that “green” energy has already become competitive, and the main problem is in the selfish interests of capitalists. Nevertheless, as the author shows, despite the attempts of the “greens” to get closer to the “reds”, objective realities indicate a fundamental difference between the interests of environmentalists and those who today need basic material goods at present. “Green” energy has not become cheaper than fossil fuels, and attempts to radically accelerate the energy transition can lead to an economic, not a climatic, catastrophe. Moreover, it is impossible to solve all the problems at once: a choice is inevitable between urgent investments in the energy transition and the achievement of other socially significant goals: affordable education, free and high-quality medicine, housing construction for all those in need, and much more.

Keywords: global warming, environmentalism, “greens”, sustainable energy, Green New Deal, renewable energy, intersectionality


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For citation:
Davydov D. The Greens Against the Poor: Contradictions of Left Environmentalism. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2024, vol. 68, no. 2, pp. 94-105. EDN: OEHVKB

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