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climate change

Frankenstorms and climate change: How the 1% created a monster

Frankenstorm Sandy from space.

By Chris Williams

If the study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections, and to destroy your taste for those simple pleasures in which no alloy can possibly mix, then that study is certainly unlawful, that is to say, not befitting the human mind. 

If this rule were always observed; if no man allowed any pursuit whatsoever to interfere with the tranquility of his domestic affections, Greece had not been enslaved; Caesar would have spared his country; America would have been discovered more gradually; and the empires of Mexico and Peru had not been destroyed.

—Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus, by Mary Shelley.

October 29, 2012 -- Climate and Capitalism -- There is little doubt that freakish and unnaturally assembled storms are a taste of what the future holds under an economic system that has “interfered with the tranquility of domestic affections,” galvanised the forces of nature into a fury of clashing dislocations as we pump ever-more heat-trapping gases into our atmosphere and industrial filth into our lungs.

South African metalworkers' union: 'For a class struggle approach to climate change and energy transition'

Karl Cloete addresses NUMSA's February 2012 International Conference on Building a Socially Owned Renewable Energy Sector in Johannesburg.

Click HERE for more discussion on radical workers' solutions to the environemntal crisis.

By Karl Cloete, deputy general-secretary, National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA)

[The following paper was presented on October 10, 2012, at a conference at Cornell University. NUMSA is South Africa's second-largest union, with alomost 290,000 members in the smelting, maunufacturing, auto and electricity generation industries.]

Our starting point as NUMSA is that to effect an energy transition, we as the global union movement DO need a perspective to guide us as well as strategies to be utilised by the movement. While such a perspective and accompanying strategies will definitely not come fully formed and in one go, we HAVE to keep working on them through discussions, through struggles, through experimentation and through learning from experiences of those in the forefront of energy struggles (within and outside of the labour movement).

Green is also the colour of money: EU carbon trading failure as a model for the 'green economy'

By Ricardo Coelho

September 16, 2012 -- Corner House/Carbon Trade Watch -- The first two phases of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (2005-2007, 2008-2012) allocated free permits according to historical emissions; a practice known as "grandfathering" that has acted as a de facto subsidy for the biggest polluters. Electricity producers, for example, by increasing electricity prices in line with the price of the permits they received for free, have made windfall profits of between €23 to €71 billion during the second phase. The third phase (2013-2020) will still see significant subsidies paid to industry.

South Africa: Dying for growth -- World Bank's role in Marikana massacre mine, carbon pollution

More than 3000 mineworkers take part in a march at Lonmin's Marikana mine in South Africa on September 5, 2012. Photograph by Mike Hutchings/REUTERS.

For more on the Marikana mine massacre, click HERE.

By Patrick Bond

September 5, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- “One of the things you learn as an anthropologist, you don’t come in and change the culture”, Dartmouth College president Jim Yong Kim told wealthy alumni when contemplating the institution’s notorious hazing practices, prior to US President Barack Obama’s request last February that he move to the World Bank.

Kim’s Harvard doctorate and medical degree, his founding of the heroic NGO Partners in Health and his directorship of the World Health Organization’s AIDS division make him the best-educated, most humane World Bank president yet. A decade ago, he co-edited the book, Dying for Growth, pointing out that "Washington Consensus" policies and projects had a sharply adverse impact on health.

Video: Class and climate catastrophe in the Philippines

August 30, 2012 -- GreenLeftTV/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Sonny Melencio, chairperson of the Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring masses), reflects on the politics of class and catastrophic climate change in the wake of the 2012 Manila floods. Interview by Peter Boyle.

Philippines: Lessons from Manila floods -- interview from the climate-change frontline

Sonny Melencio (second from left) distributes flood relief supplies.

Peter Boyle interviews Sonny Melencio

"People’s solidarity is a latent component that exists even in the capitalist system. We have to nurture it and provide an environment for it to fully develop by changing the system."

August 13, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- While the Philippines government dithered and made excuses for its grossly inadequate response to the catastrophic floods -- which inundated 80% of the country's capital, Manila -- Sonny Melencio was leading a people's relief effort that brought the first food supplies in days to some of the poorest and most badly effected communities. Together with other activists from the Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM, Party of the Labouring Masses), Melencio went to a string of urban poor communities along the flood-breached Marikina River with supplies collected from ordinary folk, whose upsurge of solidarity was in sharp contrast to the official response.

Philippines flood disaster: A political response is urgently needed

PLM activist Sonny Melencio (right) distributes flood relief.

Statement by the Partido Lakas ng Masa 

August 11, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- While organising relief activities for communities hard hit by the devastating floods, the Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) believes that a political campaign is urgently needed, targeting the inadequacy of government preparedness and response to the flood disasters.

The emerging pattern of extreme weather conditions is related to climate change and while the solution to the climate crisis, given its global parameters, cannot rely on countries such as the Philippines, those suffering the worst impact of the crisis are again, the poor in our countries. The biggest calamity is poverty and mass poverty is the most critical and underlying issue that must be addressed in order to protect and save peoples lives.

This means, among others, the provision of secure employment and a living wage, quality and affordable housing, health and education, electrification and water. While we believe that a program of poverty eradication is the only effective climate crisis mitigation and adaptation strategy, we also put forward the following urgent and necessary measures to mobilise the PLM base communities.

Release calamity funds

Philippines: Climate change crisis hits world's poor hardest -- again

Floods in Marikina, Manila. Photo courtesy of Dave Llavanes Jr.

By Peter Boyle

August 9, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- "The situation is pretty grim", Reihana Mohideen told Green Left Weekly from the frontline of devastating floods that have submerged half of Manila over the last few days. "It's still raining hard and hard to get around."

"This is another painful reminder of the global climate change crisis and the pain is being felt most by the poor and most oppressed."

Mohideen was part of a team delivering basic supplies, collected at the Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) national office, to urban poor and working-class comunities. These include canned goods, instant noodles, milk, coffee, sugar, biscuits, bread, basic medicines and towels. The PLM is one of a number of progressive people's organisations doing relief work with very limited resources.

Pakistan: Urgent action needed to stop torture of activists

STOP PRESS, July 25, 2012 -- Thanks to all who sent protest messages and got the word out quick. Baba Jan and Iftikhar Hussain have now been returned to jail after being interrogated and roughed up by the special interrogation team. But we we still must demand: Free Baba Jan and Free the Hunza Five! -- Peter Boyle

By Peter Boyle, Socialist Alliance (Australia) national co-convener

July 23, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A leading Pakistan newspaper, Dawn, reports that Labour Party Pakistan comrades Baba Jan and Iftikhar Hussain are being tortured by special "anti-terrorist police" unit in an undisclosed location now: http://dawn.com/2012/07/23/gilgit-rights-activist-being-given-the-third-degree/

Video: Pablo Solon on what’s next after Rio+20

June 26, 2012 -- Pablo Solon, former climate change negotiator for Bolivia and now head of Focus on the Global South, discusses what next for the international movement in defence of the environment. For more on the Rio+20 talks, click HERE.

Pakistan: Free Baba Jan, political prisoner of the climate crisis (Green Left TV report)

June 23, 2012 -- Green Left TV/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- For nine months, Baba Jan Hunzai and four fellow activists have been languishing in Pakistan jails, charged with terrorism offences, and suffering torture. Their crime? Organising the oppressed local community to struggle for compensation, after their villages were submerged by a climate change-induced landslide. Green Left TV's Peter Boyle interviewed Labour Party of Pakistan national spokesperson Farooq Tariq.

Support Baba Jan: Protest at the Pakistan embassy in your country. Join Noam Chomsky and Tariq Ali in signing the petition to free Baba Jan and the Hunza 5 at www.ipetitions.com/petition/free-baba-jan. Follow the campaign at www.freebabajan.wordpress.com.

For details of where to send letters demanding Baba Jan's release and more background information on the case of Baba Jan and his comrades, click here and here.

NO REDD+! in Rio+20: A declaration to decolonise the earth and the sky

“Against Amazonian Genocide. Xingu (Afro-Brazilian freedom fighter) Lives Forever.” Photo by Anne Petermann/Global Justice Ecology Project. This photo was taken during the People's March through Rio on June 20, 2012, and first appeared at Climate Connections.

For more coverage of the Rio+20, click HERE.

Introduction and notes by Chris Lang

June 19, 2012 -- REDD-Monitor -- Last week, the Global Alliance of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities on Climate Change against REDD and for Life held a press conference denouncing REDD and the green economy. The press conference was part of the People’s Summit, a nine-day event taking place in parallel to the UN Rio+20 conference.

Values versus prices at the Rio+20 Earth Summit: 'the Green Economy is the environmentalism of the rich'

Climate Connections, June 18, 2012 -- What’s wrong with the green economy?: Joanna Cabello of Carbon Trade Watch at Rio+20.

For more coverage of the Rio+20, click HERE.

By Patrick Bond, Rio de Janeiro

June 18, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, a version of this article also appeared at Climate and Capitalism -- Given the worsening world economic crisis, the turn to "Green Economy" rhetoric looms as a potential saviour for footloose financial capital, and is also enormously welcome to those corporations panicking at market chaos in the topsy turvy fossil-fuel, water, infrastructure construction, technology and agriculture sectors.

On the other hand, for everyone else, the Rio+20 Earth Summit underway this week in Brazil, devoted to advancing Green Economy policies and projects, appears as an overall disaster zone for the people and planet.

Rio+20: Farmers, Indigenous peoples mobilise against green capitalism and the privatisation of nature

Rio de Janeiro, June 14, 2012 -- La Via Campesina -- About 3000 people from around the world will mobilise to say NO to the commodification of life and nature at the "Peoples Summit for Social and Environmental Justice and in Defense of the Commons", the parallel opposition activity to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development or Rio+20.

The peoples' summit is a space for discussion, debate and construction of alternative proposals by the global civil society, social movements and peoples collective organisations. La Via Campesina -- the international organisation of small farmers -- has been actively participating in the construction of this activity in order to denounce the false solutions of the same failed economic model that are now being dressed in green under the name “green economy”. La Via Campesina is instead promoting peasants' sustainable agriculture as a true solution to the global climatic and environmental crises.

Beautiful green world? On the myth of the green capitalist economy

By the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation

June 13, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The "green economy": It will stop climate change and the extinction of species and in so doing will create high growth rates and millions of jobs. It’s seen as a miraculous weapon. Through it, global capitalism will be stabilised. And then it will be sustainable as well.

But what is the green economy? In it, policy parameters are supposed to ensure the flow of capital to make markets and the economy "greener" and create "green" jobs. Enterprises are to pay an "appropriate" price for environmental damage. And not least: the state is supposed to orient its public procurements to sustainability criteria and create sustainable infrastructures.

As of June 2012 at the UN’s Rio+20 conference in Rio de Janeiro, the green economy is to become a new central concept of global policy. The conference is taking place on the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, where the magic formula "sustainable development" was coined.

Pablo Solon on Rio+20: 'We must change the capitalist system, not Earth's system'

Earth photographed from Russia's Electro-L weather satellite, taken from 36,000 kilometres with a high-definition 121-megapixel camera, creating the sharpest image of our planet yet.

By Pablo Solon

May 16, 2012 -- Focus on the Global South/Climate and Capitalism -- Twenty years after the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992, the environmental crisis continues to worsen.

The unsustainable development model that gained dominance in the world resulted to grave loss of biodiversity, melting of polar ice caps and mountain glaciers, alarming increase in deforestation and desertification and the looming danger of an at least 4º C increase in temperature, which will threaten life as we know it.

Science is saying that we are approaching a point of no return that will change the way our planet has behaved over 650,000 years.

One million climate jobs now! The video

May 4, 2012 -- Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Campaign Against Climate Change Trade Union Group  is organising a Climate Jobs Caravan in England and Scotland in May 2012.

Based on the Million Climate Jobs report, produced with the assistance of Public and Commercial Services Union, the University and College Union, the Communication Workers Union and the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association, the caravan will highlight how creating climate jobs can help tackle the twin crises of the ecomony and climate change.

This inspiring video sets out the caravan’s message. The full 33-minute version, along with eight other videos about the struggle for justice, can be purchased on a DVD from Reel News.

You can read the One Million Climate Jobs pamphlet HERE.

Pakistan: Protest torture of Baba Jan, 'prisoner of climate change'

May 3, 2012 -- The following letter to protest the beating and continued detention of Baba Jan (pictured speaking above), Waqar and other activists was sent to Pakistan's High Commissioner (ambassador) to Australia by the Socialist Alliance. Readers of Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal are urged to send similar letters to Pakistan embassies and consulate in their own countries.

* * *

Last year, after devastating floods swept the Atta Abad Lakes region of Pakistan, police opened fire on a demonstration of people demanding compensation. Two people were killed.

Baba Jan. a federal committee member of the Labour Party Pakistan (LPP), was among the first to raise the issue of Atta Abad Lake flood victims. He toured Pakistan in 2011 to organise rallies and demonstrations to highlight the plight of villagers who have lost their homes to this newly formed lake caused by deforestation, soil erosion and climate change. He spoke to the national media in press conferences held in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad.

Promise-breaking at the World Bank: Why Jim Yong Kim will be a heartbreaker

Jim Yong Kim is also known for his rapping and dancing with talented Dartmouth College kids.

By Patrick Bond

April 5, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- That 66th birthday month of his, March 2012, was auspicious for adding a little spice to his dreary life, but no, it just can’t last. Born in March 1946 alongside his evil twin, IMF, in Savannah Georgia, after conception in what must have been a rather sleazy New Hampshire hotel (the Bretton Woods) in mid-1944, the old geezer known as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, or much better by his nickname World Bank (but let me just use WB), really ought to be considering retirement.

Not to be ageist (ok just this once), but still, it’s patently obvious that WB’s relentless WashCon ideology is so last-century, so discredited by recent world financial melting, and so durably dangerous in today’s world. His presidents have reflected the worst of the old yankee imperialist mindset. And let’s not even start on IMF’s extremist lads and lass, who in recent years have migrated their austerity dogma from North Africa to Southern Europe and to my native Ireland, meeting growing resistance along the way.

South African metalworkers: 'Workers must lead the transition to a green economy'


Frank Hammer interviews Cedric Gina, president of the 287,000-member National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA), about the need for workers to lead the transition to a green economy and the creation of green jobs. NUMSA advocates public ownership to achieve the necessary changes required to combat global warming. The interview, broadcast on the Real News Network on February 12, 2012, followed a NUMSA-sponsored conference on fighting climate change. More details on the conference can be found on Frank Hammer's Converge2Convert website.

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