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climate change

Nationalise big oil, enemy of the planet and its people

By Dick Nichols

June 17, 2008 -- The latest surge in the spot price of crude oil (to US$139 a barrel—87.4 cents a litre) dramatises the urgent need for society to wean itself off “black gold”. The longer we remain hooked the greater the devastation both to our environment and to the living standards of billions, especially the poorest peoples of the planet.

The challenge is huge. The response must combine defence against the threat to livelihoods from price rises with a plan to restructure economies and ways of living so that oil-intensive production and transport becomes a thing of the past.

Scottish Socialist Party: Free public transport for all: travel doesn't have to cost the Earth

 

The Scottish Socialist Party’s campaign for free public transport is an ``audacious, eye-catching idea'' according to Douglas Fraser, political editor of The Herald newspaper.

In the Belgian city of Hasselt, which covers an area double the size of Dundee, congestion was eliminated in the late 1980s after the introduction of a totally free public transport system.

Free public transport would be the biggest single pro-environment policy enacted by any national government anywhere on the planet, dramatically slashing car use and CO2 emissions.

Free fares would represent a major shift of wealth in favour of the many thousands of people who currently pay sky-high fares to subsidise the transport companies.

Via Campesina farmers to heads of state: Time to change food policies!

Via Campesina

Rome, June 3, 2008 -- Now that the FAO expects that hunger will affect an extra 100 million people by the end of the year, heads of states and leaders from around the world are gathering in Rome for the FAO "High-Level Conference on World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy".

The international peasant’s movement Via Campesina welcomes this sudden high level interest in food and agriculture production, but reminds governments and international institutions that the current climate and food crisis are not the result of any sudden natural disaster. They are the fruit of decades of policies of trade ``liberalisation'' and of the vertical integration of production, processing and distribution by corporate agriculture.

Therefore, governments today have to take full responsibility for the current crisis and take resolute actions to solve it.

Cuba's vice-president: `We can confront the food crisis'

Address by José Ramón Machado Ventura, vice-president of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, to the high-level conference on World Food Security: The Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy.

(English translation by Climate and Capitalism, from Juventud Rebelde, June 4, 2008)

Two years ago, in this very hall, the international community agreed to eradicate world hunger. It adopted a goal of halving the number of malnourished people by 2015. Today that modest and inadequate goal seems like a pipe-dream.

The world food crisis is not a circumstantial phenomenon. Its recent appearance in such serious form, in a world that produces enough food for all its inhabitants, clearly reveals that the crisis is systemic and structural.

Fidel on Obama: The empire's hypocritical politics

By Fidel Castro Ruz

May 25, 2008 -- It would be dishonest of me to remain silent after hearing the speech Barack Obama delivered on the afternoon of May 23, 2008, at the Cuban American National Foundation, created by Ronald Reagan. I listened to his speech, as I did [John] McCain's and Bush's. I feel no resentment towards Obama, for he is not responsible for the crimes perpetrated against Cuba and humanity. Were I to defend him, I would do his adversaries an enormous favour. I have therefore no reservations about criticising him and about expressing my points of view on his words frankly.

Germany: Climate camp in Hamburg - August 15-24, 2008

Let's change the climate!

Climate Camp in Hamburg, 15th-24th August 2008


It's too hot! - The climate is changing!

The atmosphere is getting hotter. Even the most sinister prognoses of the World
Climate Council of the United Nations of the year 2007 in the meantime appear
to have been too optimistic. Climate change is more than melting polar caps,
drowning polar bears and hurricans of up to now unknown magnitudes. Climate
change is a social catastrophe. The global changes of the ecosystems are
exacerbating social contrasts world-wide. Because the effects of warming are
unequally distributed - between North and South, but also within societies,
between rich and poor.

The warming of the atmosphere is not an accident, but the result of an economic
system relying on profit and growth. Due to this higher-faster-forward logic,
capitalism burns enormous amounts of mineral ressources, for instance for the
production and selling of products with the help of a world-encompassing
logistics network. And even though almost everybody in the meantime wants to

Cuban VP: `Sustainable development requires a revolution in our values'

May 18, 2008

Address by José Ramón Machado Ventura, First Vice-President of Cuba’s Council of State, at a session on ``Sustainable Development: the Environment, Climate Change and Energy'', during the 5th EU/LAC (European Union/Latin America and Caribbean) summit meeting in Lima, Peru, May 16-17.

Your Excellency:

At the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro 16 years ago, Fidel Castro issued a prophetic warning, stating that ``an important biological species is at risk of disappearing as a result of the rapid and progressive destruction of its natural living conditions: humanity''.

Time has proven him right.

Let us not mince our words: we won’t attain sustainable development, the negative impacts of climate change will not be halted or reversed, and the environment will not be preserved for future generations, if the irrational patterns of production, distribution and consumption imposed upon us by capitalism prevail. The globalisation of neoliberal policies has drastically exacerbated the crisis.

A brief socialist history of the automobile

By Rob Rooke

No single commercial product in the history of capitalism has had a greater effect on the economy and politics than the automobile. No other product has been such a lever to increase consumption and increase markets in the developed world. It could be argued that the car, more than any other product, was at the very heart of the 20th century’s economic expansion. In US society, for over a century, the car has been raised on a cultural pedestal worshipping individuality and defining big business’ vision of freedom.

Videos: Cuba's green revolution

A clip from the BBC's Around the World in 80 Gardens (2008) introduces the urban organic food gardening revolution in Havana, Cuba. Click HERE for a three-part talk by Cuban permaculturist Roberto Perez that delves deeper into Cuba's green revolution, and an interview with the makers of The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil, the film in which Perez featured.

So there’s nothing to stop us from emulating the Cuban farming revolution.

Global food crisis: ‘The greatest demonstration of the historical failure of the capitalist model’

By Ian Angus

[First of two articles. Click here for part two.] 

“If the government cannot lower the cost of living it simply has to leave. If the police and UN troops want to shoot at us, that's OK, because in the end, if we are not killed by bullets, we’ll die of hunger.” — A demonstrator in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

April 28, 2008 -- In Haiti, where most people get 22% fewer calories than the minimum needed for good health, some are staving off their hunger pangs by eating “mud biscuits” made by mixing clay and water with a bit of vegetable oil and salt.[1]

Meanwhile, in Canada, the federal government is currently paying $225 for each pig killed in a mass cull of breeding swine, as part of a plan to reduce hog production. Hog farmers, squeezed by low hog prices and high feed costs, have responded so enthusiastically that the kill will likely use up all the allocated funds before the program ends in September. Some of the slaughtered hogs may be given to local Food Banks, but most will be destroyed or made into pet food. None will go to Haiti.

This is the brutal world of capitalist agriculture — a world where some people destroy food because prices are too low, and others literally eat dirt because food prices are too high.

Are livable cities just a dream?

By Dave Holmes

When one sees a modern city from the air, especially at night, it is a truly awe-inspiring spectacle. What always strikes me is the immensity of the project, a testimony to the power and creativity of human beings. However, on the ground and actually living and working in this wonder, things are quite different and the social and ecological problems crowd in and fill one’s view. The truth is that our cities have always been dominated by the rich and powerful and built and operated to serve their needs — not those of the mass of working people who live and toil in them.

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This article is based on a talk presented at the Climate Change | Social Change Conference in Sydney, April 2008. The conference was organised by Green Left Weekly. For more articles, audio and video from the conference, click here.

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Individual versus social solutions to global warming

By Terry Townsend

A talk to the Climate Change Social Change Conference held in Sydney from April 11 to 13, 2008, organised by Green Left Weekly. For more articles, audio and video from the conference, click here.

April 13, 2008 -- I’m sure everybody here is aware of the basic facts of global warming and the likely consequences if rapid and serious action is not taken. There is virtually unanimous agreement among scientists and activists, and increasingly among millions of ordinary people, about the degree of the problem and the time frame we have to make fundamental changes to address it.

Climate Crisis — Urgent Action Needed Now!

Statement initiated by participants in the Climate Change|Social Change conference, Sydney, Australia, April 11-13, 2008. The statement is now available at to be signed online at http://www.petitiononline.com/Nelmezzo/petition.html. Please distribute this information to your networks, and get all who are serious about fighting global warming to sign on.

The conference was organised by Green Left Weekly. For video and audio from the conference, please click here.

The following statement was started by the participants in the Climate Change|Social Change conference. It is being distributed to environmental, trade union, Indigenous, migrant, religious and community organisations to help build the movement against global warming.

London, May 8, 2008: Can the free-market stop climate change?

London: Thursday 8 May 7.30-9pm

Is big business responsible for dangerously increasing levels of CO2 emissions or can we buy our way out of climate change with market based solutions such as carbon trading?

Take part online or in person.

Speakers:
Caroline Lucas, MEP Green Party
Peter Hardstaff, World Development Movement
Walden Bello, Focus on the Global South

Watch online

This will be streamed below on 8 May 7.30-9pm.
Register for an email reminder of when the event is live

Watch in person

To attend the live event please register for a free place.

Marxism and the environment -- John Bellamy Foster

Marxism and the environment was a workshop given by John Bellamy Foster to the Climate Change Social Change Conference, in Sydney on April 12, 2008. Foster is editor of Monthly Review (USA) and author of Marx's Ecology. The conference was organised by Green Left Weekly. For more audio and video of John Bellamy Foster on related topics, go to http://links.org.au/node/343


Climate change solutions: what role for the market? & Equity in energy consumption -- Patrick Bond

Two talks by Patrick Bond, delivered at the Climate Change Social Change Conference, Sydney, April 12, 2008.

Climate change solutions: what role for the market?

Patrick Bond, University of KwaZulu-Natal; editor of Climate Change, Carbon Trading and Civil Society
John Kaye, Greens NSW MLC
Stuart Rosewarne, co-editor Journal of Australian Political Economy and Capitalism, Nature, Socialism

Climate change and its social roots

Recording of the public meeting at the Climate Change Social Change Conference April 11, 2008.


Speakers

Cuba: The challenge of fossil fuels and climate change

Roberto Perez, Cuban biologist and permaculturalist, Antonio Núñez Jimenez Foundation for Nature and Humanity, a Cuban NGO. Feature talk at the Climate Change Social Change Conference, Sydney, April 12, 2008. The conference was organised by Green Left Weekly.

 

Audio: John Bellamy Foster on `Ecology, capitalism and socialism'

John Bellamy Foster's feature talk, recorded at the Climate Change Social Change Conference on April 12, 2008. The conference was organised by Green Left Weekly. Foster is editor of Monthly Review and author of Marx's Ecology: Materialism and Nature.

Video: John Bellamy Foster on Capitalism and Climate Change

John Bellamy Foster, Marxist ecologist and editor of Monthly Review, addressed the Climate Change I Social Change Conference on ``Capitalism and Climate Change'', Sydney, April 11, 2008. Foster's talk was part of a panel discussing ``Climate change and its social roots''. The conference was organised by Green Left Weekly. Below is Foster's talk in five parts. Click here for an audio recording of all the speakers on the panel, which included Patrick Bond from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and editor of Climate Change, Carbon Trading and Civil Society. John Bellamy Foster discusses Marxism and the environment further here.

 

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