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climate change

Australian socialists: `Vote Socialist & Greens, put Abbott's conservatives last'


Sam Watson, Socialist Alliance Senate candidate for Queensland. Longstanding leader of the Aboriginal community of Brisbane, campaigner against Black deaths in custody and for Indigenous rights.

On July 24, 2010, Australia's leading socialist newspaper Green Left Weekly spoke to Peter Boyle, national convener of the Socialist Alliance, about the political climate of the 2010 federal election, to be held on August 21.

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Many progressive people are feeling depressed about the federal election. How do you see it?

The Australian Labor Party and the conservative Liberal Party-National Party Coalition are in a “race to the bottom”, as Socialist Alliance lead Queensland Senate candidate and Murri [Indigenous] community leader Sam Watson aptly put it.

`Overpopulation' — a political weapon for conservatives

By Simon Butler

July 24, 2010 -- Green Left Weekly -- Forget about the climate science and the record high temperatures. Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard has decided she doesn’t need a serious climate change policy to win the August 21 federal election. In its place, she kicked off her election campaign on July 18 with a “sustainable Australia” policy. It promised a future of low population growth, which “preserves our quality of life and respects our environment”.

Opposition leader and climate denier Tony Abbott was quick to say he fully agreed with this vision, but was even more committed to it than Gillard.

From a conservative point of view it makes sense to raise the spectre of overpopulation in this election campaign. Population control is the mother of all political diversion tactics. Population levels explain nothing about social problems. But they can be scapegoated for just about everything, from traffic jams and home prices to grocery bills and climate change.

Australia: `Sustainable population?' -- Scapegoating migrants and refugees for the capitalist system's ills

To read more on the discussion around population, click HERE.

By Graham Matthews

July 24, 2010 -- Green Left Weekly -- In one of her first policy changes after replacing Kevin Rudd as leader of the Australian Labor Party, Prime Minister Julia Gillard dumped Rudd’s idea of a “big Australia”. On June 26, Gillard said “Australia should not hurtle down the track towards a big population”. Instead, she called for a “sustainable population”.

Almost four weeks on, however, Labor’s policy has no details — just lots of rhetoric designed to pander to fears that immigration (particularly asylum seekers) is causing a raft of social problems.

Is `de-growth' compatible with capitalism?

Photo by Twaize/Flickr.

By Alejandro Nadal

July 15, 2010 -- TripleCrisis -- A serious campaign in favour of “de-growth” has been going on for some time and has made important contributions. This movement has opened new avenues for debate and analysis on technology, credit, education and other important areas. It’s an effort that needs support and attention, and we must applaud their initiators and promoters for their boldness and dedication.

Tackling climate change: Is putting `a price on carbon' enough?

An absract `price on carbon' is the favoured solution of supporters of business-as-usual. Photo by Lauren Carroll Harris.

By Simon Butler

July 18, 2010 -- Pressure is now bearing down on the Australian climate movement because there has been so little forward progress in the federal government’s climate policy. The pressure is for the movement to accept, support and campaign for weak or inadequate climate policies on the grounds that something is better than nothing.

This is plain from looking at the new, media-driven “consensus” about the need for a “price on carbon”.

Putting a price on carbon is not the best way to deal with climate change, but a growing chorus of media commentators, NGOs and politicians are nonetheless plugging it as the key solution.

Many who advocate a price on carbon would agree that we face a dire climate emergency. The problem is that they are willing to let the emergency response be privatised.

Markets

Climate action now! Socialist Alliance releases latest Climate Change Charter

Photo by Martina Popovich, Green Left Weekly.

By the Socialist Alliance (Australia)

July 2010 -- For years, climate scientists have warned us that we need to act on climate change. Now, science is saying that climate change is taking place more rapidly than everyone previously thought.

The warning signs are obvious. April and May were the world’s hottest months since records began. This year’s Arctic ice sheet melt is taking place at a pace never seen before.

Scientists say carbon pollution has made the world’s oceans more acidic than they have been for at least 20 million years.

There is already too much carbon in the atmosphere. The warming already in the system risks the crossing of various natural “tipping points” that would raise temperatures further and faster.

If these points are crossed, it would bring average temperatures to levels that have not existed for millions of years, and to which today’s nature is simply not adapted.

Australia: Report shows how to reach 100% renewable stationary energy by 2020

To download the full Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan click HERE (8.4MB). You can also download a 16-page synopsis HERE.

Hard copies can be purchased from the Melbourne Energy Institute.

July 14, 2010 -- Don't miss out on this cutting-edge research, which shows how Australia can reach 100% renewable energy within a decade, using technology that is commercially available right now.

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By Pablo Brait and Leigh Ewbank

Beyond Zero Emissions -- In April, the Australian government abandoned the severely flawed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme [a carbon trading scheme], the centrepiece of its national climate policy agenda.

Bolivia's Pablo Solon: We need 'a global movement to defend Mother Earth'

Pablo Solon (second from left) and the Bolivian delegation address a press conference during the Copenhagen climate talks, December 2009.

Pablo Solon interviewed by Derrick O'Keefe

June 29, 2010 -- Rabble.ca -- While G20 leaders barely made mention of the climate crisis, Pablo Solon, Bolivia's UN ambassador, was in Toronto to encourage action on the Cochabamba protocols.

It is no surprise that Pablo Solon, Bolivia’s chief climate negotiator and ambassador to the United Nations, was not on the list of special invitees to the G8/G20 meetings in Ontario this weekend. After all, in April Solon and the Bolivian government he represents organised the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, an international convergence of as many as 30,000 people determined to challenge the Copenhagen Accord being pushed by the world’s richest countries.

In defence of the People's Agreement -- Tanuro and Invernizzi get Cochabamba wrong

[For more information about, documents from and discussion of the World People's Conference on Climate Change, click HERE.]

By Ben Courtice

June 28, 2010 -- In their article "World People's Conference on Climate Change: Some critical comments on the People's Agreement", the Fourth International's Daniel Tanuro and Sandra Invernizzi have missed the main usefulness of this document.

They note, “The words `coal' and `natural gas' are simply not mentioned. The expression `renewable energies' is also absent” and that the document “overlooks the struggle against the capitalist energy lobbies and the sectors linked to it (cars, petrochemicals, shipbuilding, the aeronautics industry, transport …), whereas this is obviously the key question in the framework of an anti-capitalist strategy of stabilisation of the climate.”

It is true the conference did not target the hydrocarbon industries. The Bolivian hydrocarbon ministry in fact had a stall at the conference.

World People's Conference on Climate Change: Some critical comments on the People's Agreement

[For full coverage of the World People's Conference  on Climate Change, including the full text of the documents, click HERE.]

By Daniel Tanuro and Sandra Invernizzi

June 2010 -- International Viewpoint -- The World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, which met in Cochabamba (Bolivia) from April 20-22, 2010, at the invitation of Bolivia's President Evo Morales, was an enormous success. Thirty-thousand participants discussed for several days the various facets of the climate crisis and adopted a series of very interesting documents, from a resolutely anti-capitalist standpoint.

Comparision of the Cochabamba People’s Agreement and the Copenhagen Accord

The People's Agreement stems from an integral vision of climate change, incorporating the issue of the structural causes of the climate crisis, the rupture of harmony with nature, the need to recognise the rights of Mother Earth in order to guarantee human rights, the importance of creating a Tribunal of Climate and Environmental Justice, the development of global democracy so that the people can decide on this issue affecting and the planet and all of humanity.

On the other hand, the Copenhagen Accord represents a step backward with relation to the Kyoto Protocol by proposing a methodology of voluntary commitments for the industrialised countries that are principally responsible for climate change.

Capitalism is the cause of climate illness! Global movement begins the cure!

[For full coverage of the World People's Conference  on Climate Change, including the full text of the documents, click HERE.]

By Ron Ridenour, Cochabamba

May 15, 2010 -- Presenting the People’s Agreement — “Mother Earth does not belong to us, we belong to it” — worldwide was the first act of the Global People’s Movement for Mother Earth. This was carried out in May by Bolivia’s President Evo Morales and representative activists from five continents.

Representing 35,000 people from 147 countries, they presented the conclusions of 17 workshops — held April 19-21 at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth (WPCCC) — to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, to the Non-Alignment Movement (now 130 Third World countries) plus China (the world’s second greatest polluter), and then to leaders of the European Union.

Video: The Malthus myth: Population, poverty and climate change

May 30, 2010 -- Capitalism and Climate -- Most of what you've heard about Robert Malthus is wrong. He didn't predict a population explosion, and he didn't think we should control our population. His real goal was to convince people that society cannot be improved, that most people will always be poor. "The Malthus Myth: Population, Poverty and Climate Change" was a talk presented by Ian Angus, editor of Climate and Capitalism and a contributing editor of Socialist Voice, at Socialism 2010 in Toronto, May 22, 2010. Many thanks to Pance Stojkovski, who recorded this presentation and edited it for Socialist Project's LeftStreamed.

Cochabamba People's Agreement must be heard in UNFCCC negotiations

This sign-on letter was circulated by the Bolivian government prior to the negotiations that began on May 28, 2010 in the UNFCCC to push for key proposals made in the Cochabamba People's Agreement to be included in negotiations.The People's Agreement was a key document of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, held in Bolivia in April 2010.

* * *

May 28, 2010 -- This is the pronouncement of the World People's Movement for Mother Earth, which demands that the United Nations climate change negotiations be inclusive, transparent and equitable, and incorporate the proposals presented by the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in order to find real solutions to the climate crisis and save humanity and our Mother Earth as we know it.

Australia: Tax billionaire companies to fund rapid transition to renewable energy

By Dick Nichols

May 24, 2010 -- Even as the Australian federal Labor government sticks its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme [carbon trading scheme] into the freezer the climate change crisis intensifies, demanding a response adequate to its enormity. The goal dictated by climate science is annual emissions reductions of 5% from now to 2020 -- the critical "transition decade".

Policies such as a carbon tax and feed-in tariffs have a role to play in reaching that target, but there is no way it will be remotely achieved without a vast increase in public investment in programs that strip back carbon emissions in the key problem sectors -- energy generation, transport, land use, buildings and carbon-intensive industry.

Public investment, planning and oversight is the irreplaceable centrepiece of adequate climate action.

Evo Morales: United, the developing countries can save Mother Earth

“The response to global warming is global democracy for life and for the Mother Earth.… we have two paths: to save capitalism, or to save life and Mother Earth.” — Speech by Evo Morales, president of  Bolivia, to the G77 + China at the United Nations, May 7, 2010.

By Evo Morales, president of Bolivia

[Text from Climate and Capitalism.]

May 7, 2010 -- I have come here to share the conclusions of the First World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, held last April 20 to 22 in Cochabamba, Bolivia. I convened this conference because in Copenhagen the voice of the peoples of the world was not listened to or attended to, nor were established procedures respected by all states.

The conference attracted 35,352 participants, and of those, 9254 were foreign delegates, representing movements and social organisations from 140 countries and five continents. The event also benefited from the participation of delegations from 56 governments.

Climate debt owed to Africa: What to demand and how to collect?

By Patrick Bond

May 5, 2010 -- The “climate debt” that the industries and over-consumers of the global North owe Africans and other victims of climate change not responsible for causing the problem has accrued by virtue of the North’s excessive dumping of greenhouse gas emissions into the collective environmental space. Damage is being accounted for, including the more constrained space the South has for emissions. This historical injustice – and “debt” -- is now nearly universally acknowledged (aside from Washington holdouts), and reparations plus adaptation finance are being widely demanded.

In Copenhagen, the 2009 United Nations summit on climate change witnessed a great deal of theatre over conceptual problems, including, who should make emissions cuts and to what degree; should markets be the main mechanism; who owes a climate debt; how much is owed; and how the debt should be collected. The willingness of African heads of state to raise the matter publicly beginning in mid-2009 was notable, but their inability to ensure political solidarity led to the imposition of the Copenhagen Accord on December 18, in a manner that sets back the cause.

Bolivia submits Cochabamba Conference outcome to UNFCCC

Geneva, April 28, 2010  -- The Bolivian government forwarded a submission on April 26 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat containing the outcome of the "World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth" held in Cochabamba, Bolivia, from 19-22 April. [Read the full document at http://www.scribd.com/doc/30720894/null.]

The Cochabamba conference was convened by Bolivia's President Evo Morales and was attended by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and other Latin American political leaders.

According to the Bolivian submission to the UNFCCC, more than 35,000 delegates from social movements and organisations from 140 countries had participated in the conference.

The Bolivian submission incorporates the main content of the "People's Agreement" and the draft proposal for a "Universal Declaration of Mother Earth's Rights" that were adopted at the Cochabamba conference to facilitate the inclusion of proposals for the draft negotiating text to be prepared by the chair of the Ad-hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) for the working group's next session in June.

Distorted account of Morales speech distracts from fundamental issue of climate change

MEDIA ADVISORY

April 23, 2010 -- CMPCC -- A few national and international media outlets, instead of carrying out analysis and reports on the fundamental challenge of climate change, decided to distract the public with a distorted and inaccurate account of a speech by President Morales.

Various media reports are misinforming the public, saying that Morales has linked eating chicken with homosexuality. In his exact words, Morales said that “chicken that we are eating is full of feminine hormones, which is why men who eat this chicken have changes in their being as men. I have read some information that isn’t from me, asking about a daughter of one and a half years who already had breasts..”

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