Capitalism favours economic growth, irrespective of how damaging that is. On current trends (average annual growth of 3.5%) the world economy will be 17 times its current size by 2100!
Failure to address long term issues
Capitalism fails to provide incentives to address long term problems. Climate solutions make little money under current economic conditions.
Unregulated capitalism suffers financial crashes. Each financial crash exacerbates inequality and in turn, instability. Conflict damages the environment still further.
Inter-disciplinary skills shortage
Capitalism leads to specialisation, but climate change is a multi-disciplinary set of problems and solutions. Without wide knowledge it is difficult to appreciate the problems or understand potential solutions.
Capitalism favours incumbents. A ‘catalyst’ is needed to overcome them, especially the fossil fuel industry. Competitive renewables are beginning to provide such a catalyst. Widespread carbon pricing, if enacted to a sufficient level, will provide much stronger incentives to replace fossil based energy systems. However, fossil fuel interests work to keep the industry embedded by repelling workable climate legislation.
Inefficient Economic Instruments Favoured
Carbon markets (a form of carbon pricing) have proved largely ineffectual to date. Unfortunately capitalism favours them over explicit carbon pricing, which is more efficient at exerting consistent downward pressure on greenhouse gas emissions, while minimising economic damage.
Next: Human Failings