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”
“Hambi bleibt!” (“Hambi remains!” The rallying cry of the movement. Hambi is an affectively charged abbreviation.) The long, mass citizens’ struggle to protect the Hambach woods near Cologne, threatened by the extension of a lignite mine, has won a major, albeit partial, victory, writes Angela Klein.
On 6 October in a nearby meadow, 50,000 people celebrated the cessation of deforestation decided the previous day by the Regional Administrative Court of Münster. This demonstration, the largest ever seen here, was organized by the three major organizations BUND , Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, in association with Campact  . It was supported by the associations “Buirer für Buir” (“The inhabitants of Buir for Buir”),”Ende Gelände”  and many, many more. It was like in the 1980s in Kalkar. 
Continue reading “A victory in the struggle to protect the Hambach forest”
How many times have you heard people say ‘I would much rather not have nuclear power but we need it to combat climate change’, asks Linda Walker?
This claim has been made so many times by the nuclear industry and its supporters that many people now just accept it as the lesser of two evils.
But the development of new nuclear power plants is actually no part of the solution to tackling climate change, and is in fact a big part of the problem.
Continue reading “Don’t Nuke the Climate!”
The 2018 edition of the highly respected World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Living Planet Report – and its associated Living Planet Index – have just been published, writes Alan Thornett. The Report is the world’s leading, science-based analysis on the health of our planet and the impact of human activity.
The Living Planet Index (LPI) is produced for WWF by the Zoological Society of London. It uses data compiled on the basis of 16,704 individual populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians, representing more than 4,000 species.
Continue reading “WWW report: wildlife in freefall”
Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, the Labour Party has taken significant steps away from the soft-neoliberalism of Tony Blair, towards a more interventionist economic strategy, aiming to boost productivity, redistribute wealth and power from the rich to the poor and tackle the great problems of the 21st century, writes Andrea Grainger
Chief among those problems is climate change and other forms of ecological devastation. During this year’s Labour conference the party released a new paper; The Green Transformation , laying out Labour’s solutions for these problems.
Continue reading “Going beyond ‘The Green Transformation’”
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?”
There was a lively crowd outside the High Court on October 17, showing solidarity with the 3 anti-fracking protestors, Simon Blevins, 26, Richard Roberts, 36, and Rich Loizou, 31, who were appealing their sentences of up to 16 months after being convicted of causing a public nuisance at the Cuadrilla site at Preston New Road, writes Terry Conway
Supporters were jubilant later in the day to hear that the men were to be freed, after the Lord Chief Justice ruled that an “immediate custodial sentence in the case of these appellants was manifestly excessive”. Given that they had already been in custody for two weeks, he granted them a conditional discharge.
Continue reading “Important victory in the fight against fracking”