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climate change

TAKE ACTION! Help Copenhagen climate change activists falsely accused of terrorism

Natasha Verco and Noah Weiss with the incriminating evidence.

By Kieran Adair

March 23, 2010 -- In Copenhagen, Sydney-based climate justice advocate Natasha Verco, as well as US activist Noah Weiss, faces charges under Denmark’s “terrorism” laws. Verco faces up to 12-and-a-half years' jail for her role in organising protests against the United Nations Copemnhagen climate summit in December.

The two activists appeared in court on March 18 (see report below).

Verco was arrested while riding her bike on December the 13 ahead of a national day of action she was helping organise the following day. She said: “A plainclothed police women jumped out at me and ... took me to an unmarked police van. I asked them, ‘Are you randomly picking me up?’ and they said ‘No, we hunted you’.”

South Africa: Momentum against climate-destroying World Bank loan grows

By Patrick Bond, Durban

March 16, 2010 -- In an indication that the climate justice movement is broadening, deepening and going local, there is now intense opposition to a climate-destroying energy loan for South Africa. The campaign is led by community activists in black townships allied with environmentalists, trade unionists and international climate activists.

The World Bank is trying to lend nearly US$4 billion to the Johannesburg-based state-owned electricity utility Eskom, the world’s fourth-largest power company and Africa’s largest carbon emitter (with 40% of South Africa's total emissions). The loan is mainly for constructing the world-s fourth most CO2-intensive coal-fired power plant, Medupi, in the ecologically sensitive Waterberg area north of the capital of Pretoria.

The World Bank also aims to finance privatised power generation, notwithstanding the abject failure of public-private partnerships in South African infrastructure, including in electricity and water. More than 200 organisations have signed up in protest.

Why global capitalism is tipping towards collapse, and how we can act for a decent future

"Random events, those happenings that nobody could foresee, always have a huge impact on historical outcomes."

March 15, 2010 -- This is an excerpt from an essay that forms the entire contents of the March 2010 edition of UNITY, Socialist Worker New Zealand's quarterly Marxist journal for grassroots activists. Following editions of the journal will expand on the crises which are converging to tip global capitalism towards collapse. To subscribe to UNITY journal, email Len Parker at office@sworker.pl.net. UNITY is posted to your letterbox four times a year. Price: $25 for NZ subscribers, NZ$40 offshore fastpost. This excerpt has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.

* * *

By Grant Morgan

Part 1: History lessons

The fable behind the stereotype

Women’s rights, population and climate change: The debate continues

March 7, 2010 -- Climate and Capitalism -- Should climate activists and feminists support campaigns to slow population growth? Laurie Mazur says that alliance will strengthen the movement. Ian Angus strongly disagrees …

Introduction

Climate and Capitalism recently published a debate between Betsy Hartmann and Laurie Mazur about campaigns that promote family planning and reproductive health programs as means of slowing population growth and fighting global warming.

The site subsequently published a reply to Laurie Mazur in which Ian Angus argued: “The combination of population reduction and women’s rights was already like oil and water. Adding CO2 reductions to the mix only makes things worse.”

John Bellamy Foster on `Marx's Ecology' and `The Ecological Revolution'

John Bellamy Foster interviewed by Aleix Bombila

John Bellamy Foster is editor of the US socialist journal Monthly Review and author of Marx's Ecology and The Ecological Revolution. Aleix Bombila writes for En Lucha (Spain).This interview first appeared in English at MRZine.

En Lucha: In your book Marx's Ecology you argue that Marxism has a lot to offer to the ecologist movement. What kind of united work can be established between Marxists and ecologists?

Climate change: Has the IPCC passed its use-by date? Time for new independent climate science body

By Renfrey Clarke

February 21, 2010 -- The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an organisation whose time has passed. Preferably within the next year or so, it needs to be dismantled.

As verdicts go, that might seem to have been plucked from the mouths of the climate-denialist right, of the Herald-Sun’s far-right columnist Andrew Bolt or the flat-earthers at Rupert Murdoch's Australian. After all, right-wing media outlets in recent months have run a lurid campaign against the IPCC. The UN body, which coordinates thousands of volunteer scientists in assessing and reporting on research into climate change, is accused of making gross errors and of systematically exaggerating the dangers of global warming.

`Population Justice' -- Blaming Third World women for global warming

By Ian Angus

January 31, 2010 -- Climate and Capitalism -- For more than two centuries, the idea that the world’s ills are caused by poor people having too many babies has been remarkably successful at diverting attention from the complex social causes of poverty and injustice.

Forty years ago, Paul Ehrlich’s bestseller The Population Bomb applied the idea to environmental problems:

The causal chain of deterioration is easily followed to its source. Too many cars, too many factories, too much detergent, too much pesticide, multiplying contrails. Inadequate sewage treatment plants, too little water, too much carbon dioxide – all can be traced easily to too many people.[1]

Ehrlich’s book convinced many environmentalists, and led to the formation of a variety of groups that focused solely on the supposed evils of overpopulation.

Today, as women’s rights activist Betsy Hartmann warns in a recent article, populationist arguments are back – but now groups such as the US-based Population Connection (formerly Zero Population Growth) and the UK’s Optimum Population Trust have added a “faux feminist twist” to their attacks on the reproductive rights of Third World women.

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.

Copenhagen: Why the West tries to blame China and the poor for COP15 fiasco

Protest in Copenhagen.

By Roy Wilkes

December 27, 2009 -- Socialist Resistance -- Something rotten happened in Denmark. The fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP15), in which so many had invested so much hope, began as farce and ended in tragedy. Anyone who still had the faintest illusion that the climate crisis could be resolved within capitalism has now seen it fatally dashed against the rocks of Copenhagen.

Of course, our rulers cannot blame themselves for this fiasco. So, who then is to blame? “China”, screams a furious Ed Milliband [the British Labour government's Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change] upon his return to London, with the media machine joining the chorus. Blame China! Blame Venezuela! Blame the poor countries who obstructed "The Deal"! Blame the victims who dared to ask for a 1.5 degree C limit, those unrealistic fools who dared to ask to be allowed to live.

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.

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