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climate change

Green energy alone won’t save the Earth without system change

By Ian Angus

March 21, 2012 -- Climate & Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The most popular techno-fix for global warming is green energy. If energy companies would only deploy wind, hydro, solar, geothermal or nuclear, then emission-intensive fossil fuels will eventually disappear. But will that actually work?

A new study by Richard York of the University of Oregon shows that it isn’t that simple. Rather than displacing fossil fuels, green energy sources have proven to be mostly additive.

“Do alternative energy sources displace fossil fuels?”, published this month in Nature Climate Change, discusses what happened when alternative energy sources were introduced in countries around the world, over the past 50 years.

Contrary to the accepted wisdom that new green energy replaces fossil-fuel use, York found that on average each unit of energy use from non-fossil-fuel sources displaced less than a quarter of a unit of energy use from fossil-fuel sources.

An exchange on Marx and Engels and 'small is beautiful'

[Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal urges its readers to consider taking out a subscription to Monthly Review, where this article first appeared.] 

By Samar Bagchi; response by John Bellamy Foster and Fred Magdoff

February 2012 -- Monthly Review -- I am a regular reader of Monthly Review. I read with interest the recent articles on ecology and Marxism (Fred Magdoff and John Bellamy Foster, “What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism,” MR, March 2010, and Fred Magdoff, “Ecological Civilization”, MR, January 2011).

It is true that Marx and Engels conceive that capitalism engenders a “metabolic rift” in nature and society. But both of them emphasise that the industrial growth that socialism would produce is beyond imagination under capitalism. Engels writes in Principles of Communism: “Once liberated from the pressure of private ownership, large-scale industry will develop on a scale that will make its present level of development seem as paltry as seems the manufacturing system compared with the large-scale industry of our time. This development of industry will provide society with a sufficient quantity of products to satisfy the needs of all.”

After the Durban climate talks: State and market climate failures amplified by civil society failure

Durban, December 3, 2011. Photo by Anne Petermann/GJEP-GFC.

By Patrick Bond, Durban

February 28, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In 2007, former World Bank chief economist Nick Stern termed climate change the worst "market failure" in history – since those who pollute with greenhouse gases are not charged, and since they threaten future generations and vast swathes of natural life – and at that moment, even the 1991 ravings of another former World Bank chief economist, Larry Summers, made sense.

"I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest-wage country is impeccable and we should face up that", according to a memo with Summers’ signature, although actually Summers was a mere plagiarist of Harvard economist Lant Pritchett’s genius, insiders allege.

‘Global sustainability’ wilts in South Africa’s political hot air

By Patrick Bond, Durban

February 15, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The latest acts in South Africa’s’s intensifying political drama include a sizzling summer-long battle between young and old within the African National Congress (ANC), the February 10 State of the Nation speech by President Jacob Zuma and the release of the ANC’s “research” on alternatives to mining nationalisation, a demand by the ANC Youth League which is now one of the main issues dividing the ruling party.

Amid the chaos, stepping over the political corpse of ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema (about to be expelled for “throwing the ANC into disrepute”), Zuma apparently also wants to be considered a world eco-visionary. As co-chairs of the United Nations’ High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability, he and Finland’s President Tarja Halonen published an article last week entitled “Seizing sustainable development”. Zuma and Halonen ask, “How do we begin to tackle the massive challenge of retooling our global economy, preserving the environment, and providing greater opportunity and equity, including gender equality, to all?”

How Cuba mobilises to defeat public health emergencies

Medical students in Cuba.

[Read more about Cuba's health-care system HERE.]

By Don Fitz

February 8, 2012 -- Submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author, having first appeared at BlackAgendaReport.com -- “I’m on pesquizaje”, my daughter Rebecca told me. “All of the third, fourth and fifth year medical students at Allende have our classes suspended. We are going door-to-door looking for symptoms of dengue fever and checking for standing water.”[1]

As a fourth year medical student at Cuba’s ELAM (Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina, Latin American School of Medicine in Havana), she is assigned to Salvadore Allende Hospital in Havana. It handles most of the city’s dengue cases. Although she has done health canvassing before, this is the first time she has had classes cancelled to do it. It is very unusual for an outbreak of dengue fever, a mosquito-borne illness, to occur this late in the season. She remembers most outbreaks happening in autumn, being over before December, and certainly not going into January–February.

Pablo Solon on Rio+20: For an international campaign against the commodification of nature

For a bottom-up international campaign against the commodification and financialisation of Nature

By Pablo Solon

January 28, 2012 -- The document for the Rio+20 conference of the United Nations (June 20-22, 2012) -- entitled The Future We Want -- was published in January 2012. Its main purpose is to promote a “Green Economy”. In the document's "zero draft", this concept of the Green Economy is left deliberately vague: there is no clear definition provided and no clarity on the usage of this term. In reality, however, it aims to promote the further commodification and financialisation of nature by introducing new market mechanisms like the as carbon markets that were first introduced a decade ago through the Kyoto Protocol and REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) programs which put a monetary price on carbon storage in forests.

Bolivia's proposals on the 'rights of nature' for Rio+20

December 19, 2011 -- The proposals developed by the Plurinational State of Bolivia bring together and build upon the progress made in the World Charter for Nature  (1982), the Rio Declaration (1992), the Earth Charter (2000) and the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth (2010).

[The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) is scheduled for June 20-22, 2012, in Brazil. It marks the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), in Rio de Janeiro, and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg.]

I. A DEEPER COMMITMENT TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN THE 21ST CENTURY

South Africa: One million climate jobs: A just transition to a low carbon economy to combat unemployment and climate change

December 28, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- South Africa's Million Climate Jobs Campaign has released a new booklet describing how the transformation of the economy to one that protects people and the environment, can confront two of South Africa’s biggest threats: climate change and unemployment. The Million Climate Jobs Campaign presents tangible solutions to the ecological and economic crises, and calls on the South African government to create jobs in combating climate change. Authentic, meaningful solutions to climate change offer vast opportunities for decent work in a new
low-carbon economy.

Durban climate talks: How not to tackle climate change and call it a success

By Nele Marien

[Environmental policy analyst Nele Marien helped organise the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth and was climate change negotiator for Bolivia during from 2009 until November 2011.]

December 13, 2011 -- For Whom the Bell Tolls, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- The official package deal coming out of the Durban climate talks consisted of four main documents, apart of several other decisions, most of them less critical:

Ανατέμνοντας τους αριθμούς για τον υπερπληθυσμό

[In English (Αγγλική εκδοχή σε) at http://links.org.au/node/2520.]

των Ίαν Άνγκους και Σάιμον Μπάτλερ

Μαρξιστική Σκέψη, τόμος 4, Ιανουάριος-Μάρτιος 2012, σελ. 416, 13€

 

Από το 1798, όταν ο Πάτερ Μάλθους υποστήριξε ότι ο πληθυσμός αυξάνεται με γεωμετρική πρόοδο (2, 4, 8, 16...), ενώ η προσφορά τροφίμων αυξάνεται μόνο αριθμητικά (2, 3, 4, 5...), το επιχείρημα για τον υπερπληθυσμό έχει εξαρτηθεί από τους αριθμούς. Είναι σπάνιο να διαβάσει κανείς ένα άρθρο, φυλλάδιο ή ιστοσελίδα για τον υπερπληθυσμό που δεν περιλαμβάνει δηλώσεις όπως αυτές:

Τι μπορεί να αναμένεται από τις συνομιλίες του Ντάρμπαν;

Νίμο Μπάσεϊ. Photo: Right Livelihood Award Foundation.

[In English at (Αγγλική εκδοχή σε) http://links.org.au/node/2585.]

του Νίμο Μπάσεϊ

Μαρξιστική Σκέψη, τόμος 4, Ιανουάριος-Μάρτιος 2012, σελ. 416, 13€

National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa: COP17 and class struggle

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa convened its first International Seminar on Climate Change and Class Struggle on December 4, 2011.

By the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa

[The following statement was issued at the conclusion of the NUMSA central committee meeting (CC), held December 11-14, at Vincent Mabuyakhulu Conference Centre, Newtown, Johannesburg.]

December 14, 2011 -- Amidst the deepening crisis of climate change and in the context of the COP17 negotiations that were taking place in Durban, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa convened its first International Seminar on Climate Change and Class Struggle on December 4, 2011.

Climate change cannot be resolved separately from the resolution of the capitalist crisis. Capitalism is currently devouring its own children throughout the world. The crisis is a global class war. We need to link our struggles around climate change with global anti-capitalist struggles.

Climate talks: 'Social movements must unite to cool the planet' -- 'Disastrous' Durban failure condemned

"Developed countries, led by the United States, accelerated the demolition of the world’s international framework for fair and urgent climate action.  And developing countries have been bullied and forced into accepting an agreement that could be a suicide pill for the world”, said Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International.

Indigenous peoples condemn climate talks fiasco and demand moratorium on REDD+

By the Global Justice Ecology Project

Durban talks: Rich polluters impose 'new regime of climate apartheid'; Pablo Solon: 'Kyoto Protocol now a zombie'

Protesters block the halls at the Durban International Conference Centre, December 9, 2011. Photo from Earth Negotiations Bulletin.)

Antidote is Cochabamba Peoples’ Agreement

By Climate Justice Now!, Durban

December 11, 2011 –- Decisions resulting from the UN COP17 climate summit in Durban constitute a crime against humanity, according to Climate Justice Now! a broad coalition of social movements and civil society. Here in South Africa, where the world was inspired by the liberation struggle of the country’s black majority, the richest nations have cynically created a new regime of climate apartheid.

“Delaying real action until 2020 is a crime of global proportions”, said Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International. “An increase in global temperatures of 4 degrees Celsius, permitted under this plan, is a death sentence for Africa, small island states, and the poor and vulnerable worldwide. This summit has amplified climate apartheid, whereby the richest 1% of the world have decided that it is acceptable to sacrifice the 99%.”

Climate talks: No to a 'Durban mandate'!; Pablo Solon, Patrick Bond: 'US should face climate sanctions'

Photo by Orin Langelle/GJEP.

[For more on the COP17 Durban climate talks, click HERE.]

By the Civil Society Committee for COP 17

December 8, 2011 -- Civil Society Committee for COP 17 (C17) -- As African civil society, global South movements and international allies, we reject the call of many developed countries for a so-called “Durban mandate” to launch new negotiations for a future climate framework.

A new mandate for a new treaty in place of the Kyoto Protocol should be understood for what it really is – rich countries backtracking and reneging on “inconvenient” obligations, at the expense of the poor and the planet. While developed countries may appear progressive by asking for a mandate to negotiate a new legally binding treaty, the truth is that this is nothing but a veiled attempt to kill the Kyoto Protocol and escape from their further mitigation obligations under the already existing mandate in the protocol itself, and the agreement in 2005 for negotiating further emission cuts. A political declaration to continue the Kyoto Protocol or anything less than a full amendment and ratification process is, in practice, another nail in its coffin.

La Via Campesina: 'No deal better than a bad deal that condemns humanity to climate catastrophe'

 

[For more on the COP17 Durban climate talks, click HERE.]

Assembly of the Oppressed, December 5, 2011, Durban, South Africa

As the Assembly of the Oppressed we are gathered here to demand the transformation of the entire neoliberal capitalist system. The fight against climate change is a fight against neoliberal capitalism, landlessness, dispossession, hunger, poverty and the re-colonisation of the territories of the people’s of Africa and the global South. We are here to declare that direct action is the only weapon of the oppressed people of the world to end all forms of oppression in the world.

We are here in Durban, South Africa, where the 17th United Nations Conference of Parties [COP17] is taking place and are discussing false solutions to the climate crisis. And we can see that the future of Mother Earth and of humanity is in peril as those responsible for nature’s destruction are attempting to escape their responsibility and erase history.

Climate talks: A dirty deal coming down in Durban

Photo: Orin Langelle/GJEP.

[For more on the COP17 Durban climate talks, click HERE.]

By Patrick Bond

December 6, 2011 -- What, now, are the prospects for a climate deal by December 9?

The biggest problem is obvious: Conference of the Parties 17 (COP17) saboteurs from the US State Department, joined by Canada, Russia and Japan, want to bury the legally binding Kyoto Protocol treaty. Instead of relaxing intellectual property rules on climate technology and providing a fair flow of finance, Washington offers only a non-binding "pledge and review" system.

This is unenforceable and at current pledge rates – with Washington lagging everyone – is certain to raise world temperatures to 4 degrees centigrade, and in Africa much higher. Estimates of the resulting deaths of Africans this century are now in excess of 150 million. As former Bolivian ambassadar to the UN, Pablo Solon said at last week’s Wolpe Memorial Lecture, “The COP17 will be remembered as a place of premeditated genocide and ecocide.”

Durban climate talks: 'Rich-country negotiators are comitting ecocide' -- Pablo Solon; Voices from the streets of Durban

December 3, 2011 -- OneWorldTV -- Pablo Solon, former Bolivian ambassador to the UN climate talks, speaks during the December 3 day of action in Durban, during the COP17 talks.

[For more on the COP17 Durban climate talks, click HERE.]

 

December 5, 2011 -- Democracy Now!

AMY GOODMAN: We’re broadcasting live from Durban, South Africa, where critical talks on fighting climate change have entered their second week. Key issues here at the United Nations Climate Change Conference remain unresolved, including the future of the Kyoto Protocol, the international treaty with enforceable provisions designed to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Delegates are also debating how to form a Green Climate Fund to support developing nations most affected by climate change.

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