The next five to ten years are absolutely crucial for the future of human civilisation. A central question facing the left is whether, in the short window of time remaining, humanity can be saved from catastrophic consequences of climate breakdown. We are currently on the brink. Global temperatures have already risen 1°C from pre-industrial levels and we are currently on track for 3°C warming by the end of the century if the Paris Agreement pledges are kept to and 4.3 to 4.8°C with business as usual. We know from the UN’s IPCC report that should global temperatures exceed 1.5°C of warming humanity faces a cataclysmic future.
We are already seeing the disastrous consequences of climate change – deadly heat waves, destructive hurricanes, draughts, floods and extreme weather events are the new reality. Without decisive action now the impacts of climate change will be extreme and devastating. At stake are the lives, livelihoods, health, homes and living standards of billions of people across the world.
Stopping climate change is going to require an immense class struggle. Internationally there is a growing polarisation on the issue – it’s increasingly becoming a clear right wing versus left wing fight.
On the right wing, US President and climate-change-denier-in-chief, Donald Trump, is actively resisting action to stop climate change – and he started by abandoning the Paris Climate Change Agreement. Trump represents the powerful interests of the fossil fuels industry and is pursuing an ultra-reactionary course of increasing fossil fuel extraction which is leading to a dynamic of increasing greenhouse gas emissions at a time when the US should be rapidly reducing them. Brazil President, Jair Bolsonaro, whose right wing policies are destroying the Amazon rainforest, joins Trump as an international leader of the right wing climate disaster international axis.
On the left wing, China is the world-leader in investing in climate change solutions and is writing the blueprint for what a ‘Green New Deal’ looks like in action. China already has twice as much renewable energy installed as the US, is the global centre for electric vehicles and is carrying out widespread reforestation. As a consequence China is set to reach its 2030 targets under the Paris Agreement five to nine years ahead of schedule. This has been achieved because of China’s massive levels of state investment and state intervention into the economy and the country has a political leadership that regards the struggle to stop climate change as a defining battle in the twenty first century. As a result of China’s huge state investments, renewable energy is now an affordable alternative to fossil fuels everywhere in the world – this is absolutely key to achieving a rapid green transition.
It is the left in the West that is providing leadership and answers to the climate crisis too. British and US left politicians Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez are proposing to rapidly decarbonise economies through mobilising massive state investment in renewables, insulating homes and public buildings and rolling out green public transport – green policies which are packaged under the banners ‘For a Green Industrial Revolution’ in Britain and ‘For a Green New Deal’ in the US. These proposals are exactly what is needed.
Meanwhile the alternative in Britain to a Jeremy Corbyn’s inspiring green agenda is Boris Johnson and his hard right Tory government who are aiming for a No Deal Brexit and falling in behind Trump across the board – including on the question of climate change.
Socialist Action is launching a new bulletin ‘Climate Watch’ to:
- Share regular news, analysis and opinion on the global struggles to stop climate change.
- Exchange ideas, information, facts, initiatives and actions.
Key questions and issues we will be exploring include:
- Stopping Trump, Bolsonaro and the international far right from destroying the planet
- Supporting the left internationally that are pushing for climate change solutions and sustainable development models
- What’s going on in international climate change talks, what is the latest science telling us about the climate crisis and what impacts are we already seeing across the globe as a result of global warming that has already taken place?
- What campaign strategies are needed globally and in Britain to stop climate change?
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