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environment

People are not pollution -- Why climate activists should not support limits on immigration

`Despite the good intentions of its green advocates, support for immigration controls strengthens the most regressive forces in our societies and weakens our ability to stop climate change'. The cartoon above by Nicholson depicts the anti-refugee government of John Howard, many of whose policies remain in force under the Australian Labor Party.

By Ian Angus and Simon Butler

January 25, 2010 -- Immigrants to the developed world have frequently been blamed for unemployment, crime and other social ills. Attempts to reduce or block immigration have been justified as necessary measures to protect “our way of life” from alien influences.

Today, some environmentalists go farther, arguing that sharp cuts in immigration are needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow climate change. However sincere and well-meaning such activists may be, their arguments are wrong and dangerous, and should be rejected by the climate emergency movement.

The 350 ppm carbon dioxide challenge and how to achieve it

By Renfrey Clarke

January 14, 2010 -- The target posed by leading NASA climate scientist James Hansen of stabilising atmospheric carbon dioxide at 350 parts per million (ppm) is increasingly understood in conjunction with the need to keep cumulative emissions within a tight global “budget”. While the point at which budgeted emissions occur is not in theory crucial, in practice there is a need to ensure that emissions peak early and decline swiftly thereafter.

Hugo Blanco: `Only extinction of capitalism will ensure the survival of our species’; Reunión sobre cambio climático Copenhague

Hugo Blanco (left).

By Hugo Blanco, translated by Richard Fidler for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

The concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere is already so high that the climate system has been brought out of balance. The CO2 concentration and global temperatures have increased more rapidly in the last 50 years than ever before on Earth, and will rise even faster in the coming decades. This adds to a multitude of other serious ecological imbalances, the impacts of which threaten the lives and livelihoods of the people of the world, most acutely, impoverished people and other vulnerable groups.

John Bellamy Foster: Why ecological revolution?

By John Bellamy Foster

January 2010 -- Monthly Review -- It is now universally recognised within science that humanity is confronting the prospect — if we do not soon change course — of a planetary ecological collapse. Not only is the global ecological crisis becoming more and more severe, with the time in which to address it fast running out, but the dominant environmental strategies are also forms of denial, demonstrably doomed to fail, judging by their own limited objectives. This tragic failure, I will argue, can be attributed to the refusal of the powers that be to address the roots of the ecological problem in capitalist production and the resulting necessity of ecological and social revolution.

Bolivia: Invitation to the Peoples’ World Conference on Climate Change and Mother Earth’s Rights

By Evo Morales, president of Bolivia

January 5, 2010 -- Considering that climate change represents a real threat to the existence of humanity, of living beings and our Mother Earth as we know it today;

Noting the serious danger that exists to islands, coastal areas, glaciers in the Himalayas, the Andes and mountains of the world, the poles of the Earth, warm regions like Africa, water sources, populations affected by increasing natural disasters, plants and animals, and ecosystems in general;

Making clear that those most affected by climate change will be the poorest in the world who will see their homes and their sources of survival destroyed, and who will be forced to migrate and seek refuge;

Confirming that 75% of historical emissions of greenhouse gases originated in the countries of the global North that followed a path of irrational industrialisation;

Noting that climate change is a product of the capitalist system;

Fidel Castro: The struggle now is to save our species

Rebel army enters Havana, January 1, 1959.

By Fidel Castro

January 3, 2010 -- As the Cuban Revolution celebrated its 51st anniversary two days ago, memories of that January 1, 1959, came to mind. The outlandish idea that, after half a century — which flew by — we would remember it as if it were yesterday, never occurred to any of us.

During the meeting at the Oriente sugar mill on December 28, 1958, with the commander in chief of the enemy’s forces, whose elite units were surrounded without any way out whatsoever, the commander admitted defeat and appealed to our generosity to find a dignified way out for the rest of his forces. He knew of our humane treatment of prisoners and the injured without any exception. He accepted the agreement that I proposed, although I warned him that operations under way would continue. But he travelled to the capital, and, incited by the United States embassy, instigated a coup d’état.

People's power in Copenhagen

December 30, 2009 -- Green Left Weekly writer and Australian Socialist Alliance climate change activist Simon  Butler talks about the the Copenhagen climate talks with Radio Adelaide’s Backstory.

Fidel Castro on who really was to blame for the failure in Copenhagen

Protest in Copenhagen, December 12, 2009.

By Fidel Castro Ruz

December 26, 2009 -- Climate change is already causing enormous damage and hundreds of millions of poor people are enduring the consequences.

The most advanced research centres have claimed that there is little time to avoid an irreversible catastrophe. James Hansen, from the NASA Goddard Institute, has said that a proportion of 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is still tolerable; however, the figure today is 390 ppm and growing at a pace of 2 ppm every year. Each one of the past two decades has been the warmest since the first records were taken, while carbon dioxide increased 80 ppm in the past 150 years.

The melting of ice in the Artic Sea and of the huge two-kilometre thick ice cap covering Greenland, of the South American glaciers feeding its main fresh water sources and the enormous volume of ice covering Antarctica; of the remaining ice on Mt Kilimanjaro and the Himalayas, and the large frozen area of Siberia are visible. Outstanding scientists fear abrupt quantitative changes in these natural phenomena that bring about the change.

Copenhagen: Morales and Chavez a `smashing success' -- an insider's report from the ALBA delegation

Evo Morales.

[See the ALBA countries' declaration on the Copenhagen talks below.]

By Ron Ridenour

December 23, 2009 -- “Nobel War Prize winner walked in and out of a secret door, and that is the way capitalism and the United States Empire will end up leaving the planet, through a secret back door.” So spoke Venezuela President Hugo Chavez from the plenary podium on the last afternoon, December 18, of the 12-day long Copenhagen climate conference (COP15).

“While the conference was a failure, it, at least, led to more consciousness of what the problem is for all of us. Now starts a new stage of the struggle for the salvation of humanity, and this is through socialism. Our problem is not just about climate, but about poverty, misery, unnecessary child deaths, discrimination and racism—all related to capitalism”, Chavez said at the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Latin America (ALBA) press conference held at the Bella Centre immediately following Chavez’ last remarks at the plenary.

Bolivia's President Evo Morales followed Chavez’ remarks by saying:

CPI (ML): `Shameful betrayal' at Copenhagen -- India and China sign undemocratic US-scripted accord

By Radhika Krishnan

December 24, 2009 -- Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation -- The 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) has finally ended in Copenhagen, and it is now time to officially write the obituary. This week-long conference, where 110 countries got together to try and evolve a blueprint to handle the climate change crisis, has quite predictably and most unfortunately ended in failure. Predictable, because for a long time now there have been indications that the US would continue to hold the rest of the world to ransom by refusing to accept responsibility for its role in creating the climate crisis.

Climate Justice Now! statement: Call for `System change not climate change' unites global movement

Copenhagen, December 12, 2009. Photo by Lauren Carroll Harris.

Corrupt Copenhagen "accord" exposes gulf between peoples' demands and elite political interests

By the Climate Justice Now! coalition

December 22, 2009 -- Climate Justice Now! -- The highly anticipated UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP15) ended with a fraudulent agreement, engineered by the United States and dropped into the conference at the last moment. The "agreement" was not adopted. Instead, it was "noted" in an absurd parliamentary invention designed to accommodate the United States and permit UN secretary generla Ban Ki-moon to utter the ridiculous pronouncement, "We have a deal", in a spectacular disrespect for the multilateralism that should be the basis of the United Nations.

How to cure the post-Copenhagen hangover

Protesters in Newcastle,December 20, 2009. Photo by Rising Tide.

By Patrick Bond, Durban

December 23, 2009 -- In Copenhagen, the world’s richest leaders continued their fiery fossil fuel party last Friday night, December 18, ignoring requests of global village neighbours to please chill out. Instead of halting the hedonism, US President Barack Obama and the Euro elites cracked open the mansion door to add a few nouveau riche guests: South Africa’s Jacob Zuma, China’s Jiabao Wen (reportedly the most obnoxious of the lot), Brazil’s Lula Inacio da Silva and India’s Manmohan Singh. By Saturday morning, still drunk with their power over the planet, these wild and crazy party animals had stumbled back onto their jets and headed home.

The rest of us now have a killer hangover, because on behalf mainly of white capitalists (who are having the most fun of all), the world’s rulers stuck the poor and future generations with the vast clean-up charges – and worse: certain death for millions.

Excellent news from Copenhagen: Capitalist politicians exposed, foundations laid for mass movement

By Daniel Tanuro 

December 19, 2009 -- International Viewpoint -- We knew the United Nations summit in Copenhagen would not conclude with a new international treaty but a simple statement of intent – just one more. But the text adopted at the end of the meeting is worse than anything we could imagine: no quantified objectives for carbon-emissions reduction, no reference year for measuring them, no deadlines, no date!

The text included a vague promise of US$100 million yearly for adaptation in developing countries, but the formulas used and various comments lead us to fear that these will be loans administered by major financial institutions rather than true reparations paid by those responsible for the mess.

Democracy Now! interview: Hugo Chavez on how to tackle climate change: `We must go from capitalism to socialism'

December 21, 2009 -- Democracy Now! -- We speak with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez about climate change, the Copenhagen summit and President Obama. Chavez calls the COP15 summit undemocratic and accuses world leaders of only seeking a face-saving agreement. “We must reduce all the emissions that are destroying the planet,” Chavez says. “That requires a change in the economic model: we must go from capitalism to socialism.”

AMY GOODMAN: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez spared no criticism of the climate conference in Copenhagen. At a joint news conference he held with the Bolivian president Evo Morales on Friday afternoon—this was before President Obama announced the accord—Chavez called the proceedings undemocratic and accused world leaders of only seeking a face-saving agreement. He described President Obama as having won the “Nobel war prize” and said the world still smelled of sulfur, referring to his comments about President Bush at the United Nations last year.

Well, shortly after the news conference, I caught up with President Chavez for a few minutes.

Hugo Chávez: `La Batalla de Copenhague'

Foto: Prensa Presidencial.
por Hugo Chávez Frías
I

Caracas, 20 Dic. ABN -- Copenhague fue el escenario de una batalla histórica en el marco de la XV Conferencia del Convenio Marco de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climático. Mejor dicho: en la bella y nevada capital de Dinamarca, comenzó una batalla que no concluyó el viernes 18 de diciembre de 2009. Quiero reiterarlo: Copenhague fue apenas el comienzo de la batalla decisiva por la salvación del planeta. Batalla en el terreno de las ideas y en el de la praxis.

Fidel Castro: The truth about what happened at Copenhagen

Copenhagen, December 12, 2009. Photo by Lauren Carroll Harris.

By Fidel Castro Ruz

December 19, 2009 -- Until very recently, the discussion revolved around the kind of society we would have. Today, the discussion centres on whether human society will survive. These are not dramatic phrases. We must get used to the true facts. Hope is the last thing human beings can relinquish. With truthful arguments, men and women of all ages, especially young people, have waged an exemplary battle at the Copengahen COP15 summit and taught the world a great lesson.

It is important now that Cuba and the world come to know as much as possible of what happened in Copenhagen. The truth can be stronger than the influenced and often misinformed minds of those holding in their hands the destiny of the world.

Hugo Chávez writes on `The battle of Copenhagen'

By Hugo Chávez Frías, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, translated by Kiraz Janicke for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

December 20, 2009

``I will not tire of repeating to the four winds: the only possible and viable alternative is socialism. I said it in each of my speeches to all the world representatives gathered in Copenhagen, the world's most important event in the last two hundred years: there is no other way if we want to stop this heartless and debased competition that promises only total annihilation." – Hugo Chávez

I

Copenhagen: `Imperial' climate deal rejected by poor-country delegates

Hugo Chavez denounces Obama's ``imperial'' deal. Photo COP15.

December 18, 2009 -- Speaking on behalf of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela took the floor at the plenary of the COP15 climate talks in Copenhagen to denounce the final ``deal'' that was soon to emerge and be imposed on the majority poor-country delegates, and which would fall far short of their demands.

Chavez accused US President Barack Obama of behaving like an emperor “who comes in during the middle of the night … and cooks up a document that we will not accept, we will never accept”.

Chávez declared that “all countries are equal”. He would not accept that some countries had prepared a text for a climate deal and just “slipped [it] under the door” to be signed by the others. He accused them of “a real lack of transparency”.

“We can’t wait any longer, we are leaving … We are leaving, knowing that it wasn’t possible getting a deal,” he said. 

Beyond Copenhagen: left alternatives to capitalism

Copenhagen, December 12, 2009. Photo by Lauren Carroll Harris.

By Lauren Carroll Harris, Copenhagen

"Can a finite Earth support an infinite project? The thesis of capitalism, infinite development, is a destructive pattern, let’s face it. How long are we going to tolerate the current international economic order and prevailing market mechanisms? How long are we going to allow huge epidemics like HIV/AIDS to ravage entire populations? How long are we going to allow the hungry to not eat or to be able to feed their own children? How long are we going to allow millions of children to die from curable diseases? How long will we allow armed conflicts to massacre millions of innocent human beings in order for the powerful to seize the resources of other peoples?"

-- Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, speaking at COP15, December 16, 2009

Copenhagen: Democracy Now! interview with Evo Morales -- `We cannot end global warming without ending capitalism'

December 17, 2009 -- Democracy Now! -- Bolivia's President Evo Morales joins us in Copenhagen to talk about the UN climate talks, capitalism, climate debt and much more. “Policies of unlimited industrialisation are what destroys the environment”, Morales said. “And that irrational industrialisation is capitalism.”

AMY GOODMAN: This is Climate Countdown. It’s Democracy Now!, democracynow.org. I’m Amy Goodman. We’re broadcasting from inside the Bella Center [in Copenhagen].

It’s just one day before the COP15 UN climate summit comes to a close. The summit has been described as the biggest gathering on climate change in history. And now, ten days after it started, are the talks on the brink of collapse?

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