As the coal dust settled on COP 24 (Conference of Parties for its full title) in Katowice Poland, the ‘deal’ was released to the world with a ‘high’ spirited Michal Kurtvka, Chairman of the COP and Poland’s energy minister, leaping form the stage in celebration, writes Sam Mason. And celebrate they might. The deal to establish a common rule book on how countries will monitor and meet their carbon reduction targets arising from the Paris Climate agreement, requires little action. This will scarcely slow the full force of climate catastrophe hurtling towards us.
I was privileged to spend a few days at the COP as part of the International Trade Union Congress (ITUC) delegation. Privileged because the people who will be affected by the deal made in Katowice – the working class, vulnerable, indigenous, small island nations and more – could not be further removed from the outcomes of these talks.
Continue reading “Another deal on Climate change; another Conference of Procrastination”
On climate change, the world’s major economies are playing a game of chicken, writes Rebecca Long Bailey. It’s like a nuclear stand-off, with the difference that if things stay just as they are, catastrophe is guaranteed.
The science could not be clearer on the consequences of inaction. Yet each year at around this time, the world’s diplomats wait for someone else to blink first as they stumble over the same questions — who is most responsible for reducing emissions? Who should pay for efforts to avoid and adapt to climate change? How do we know national commitments will be honored, and what happens if they’re not?
This is not due to failings of diplomacy. Rather, it is the inevitable outcome in a situation where countries engage like vying businesses, keen to avoid the loss of any competitive advantage. Carbon dioxide emitted anywhere damages the climate everywhere. Common sense would suggest the need for engagement based on cooperation and solidarity, to the mutual advantage of all. Yet negotiators cannot escape what has become a “collective action problem.”
Continue reading “A Common Sense for Our Planet”
As midterm elections in the USA loomed, suddenly everyone was formulating a foreign policy for the Left, writes Meredith Tax. On August 9, Phyllis Bennis put forward “A Bold Foreign Policy Platform for the New Wave of Left Lawmakers,” for In These Times. On September 4, in Foreign Affairs, Daniel Nexon called for “a new progressive internationalism.” On September 13, Bernie Sanders wrote in the Guardian that we need an “international progressive movement” to combat a rapidly coalescing “new authoritarian axis.” His motion was seconded by Yanis Varoufakis.
And it didn’t end there. Soon joining the call for a new progressive foreign policy were Daniel Bessner in the New York Times, Katrina vanden Heuvel in the Washington Post and more. All these pieces addressed traditional foreign policy questions and what progressives should pressure the U.S. government to do.
This piece is about something different: not primarily what candidates or the state should do but what we in the socialist movement should do, with or without state power—and how we can update our approach for the 21st century. (I am using socialist as a catchall term for all the anarchists, labor organizers, municipalists, feminists, anti-racists, gender activists and other progressives who make up our still-amorphous movement.)
Continue reading “Socialist Foreign Policy Must Center Climate Change”
In a week of fracking irony, can the Labour Party reclaim the future from catastrophic climate change, asks Sam Mason?
It’s a decade since the Labour Party pioneered the ground-breaking Climate Change Act 2008. A rare moment of political consensus forged in the centre ground of New Labour and Tory beyond ideology visions of the ‘modern market economy’. Responses to climate change if anything, are ideological in their economic and political basis and absurd that solutions can be left to the market waiting for signals. Surely the scientific signals that we have twelve years to stabilise emissions are paramount and reassuringly something the Labour Party are finally addressing opposing the dogma of the market. But is the party ready to “reclaim the future” with a transformative and ideological vision as Rebecca Long-Bailey said in her keynote speech at the party conference in September?
Continue reading “Can the Labour Party reclaim the future from catastrophic climate change?”
Alan Thornett offers an initial assessment of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special ‘1.5°C’ report published on October 8 on the deepening crisis around climate change.
The timescale available to do something about global warming and climate change just shrank dramatically. Just this year the planet reached a temperature increase of 1°C in the global average surface temperature over pre-industrial levels. This report concludes that, at the current rate of increase, a 1.5°C limit could be reached as soon as 2030 – in just 12 years’ time. This takes the climate struggle to a new level of urgency.
Continue reading “IPCC climate report: a global wakeup call”