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climate change

Pablo Solon: What to expect from Durban climate talks: temperature to rise more than 4° C

Balance sheet and perspectives on the climate change negotiations

By Pablo Solon

November 17, 2011 -- Hoye es Todavia -- Almost a year has gone by since the results of the climate change negotiations in Cancun were imposed, with only the objection of Bolivia. It’s time to take stock and see where we are now.

In Cancun, the developed countries listed their greenhouse gas emission reduction pledges for the 2012-2020 period. The United States and Canada said they would reduce emissions by 3% based on 1990 levels, the European Union between 20% and 30%, Japan 25%, and Russia from 15% to 25%[1]. Adding up all the reduction pledges of the developed countries, the total reduction in emissions by 2020 would be 13-17%,[2] based on 1990 levels.

These greenhouse gas emission reduction “pledges”, according to the United Nations Environment Programme[3], the Stockholm Environment Institute[4] and even the executive secretary of the Climate Change Convention[5], would lead to an average increase in global temperature of around 4° C or more.[6] That is double the amount they established in Cancun: a maximum temperature increase of just 2° C.

Climate change talks: Occupy Durban! For a Climate Spring!

By Patrick Bond

November 22, 2011-- Durban Mercury, via Green Left Weekly -- There they fell during 2011, one after the other in past-their-prime domino descent: Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from Tunis, Hosni Mubarak from Cairo, Dominique Strauss-Kahn from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Muammar Gaddafi from Tripoli, Georgios Papandreou from Athens, Silvio Berlusconi from Rome, US football guru and sex-crime cover-upper Joe Paterno from Penn State University – with media baron Rupert Murdoch, soccer supremo Sepp Blatter, Syrian tyrant Bashar al-Assad and Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh looking decidedly shaky, too.

However, let’s be frank: in many cases the courageous push by the 99% against these 1% personalities only dislodged the venal creatures, not the system, so replacements crawled right back in.

Nnimmo Bassey on what to expect from Durban climate talks

Nnimmo Bassey (centre). Photo: Right Livelihood Award Foundation.

November 2, 2011 -- It’s unlikely there will be "an equitable outcome" from the COP17 climate talks, to be held in Durban in December 2011, but it will be "a great moment to intensify campaigns against the business-as-usual manner" in which climate negotiations have been conducted so far, Friends of the Earth International's Nnimmo Bassey told Pambazuka News.

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Pambazuka News: What role will Environmental Rights Action (ERA) and Friends of the Earth International be playing at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP17) in Durban? What will you be pushing for?

Thailand's flood crisis: neoliberalism is not the answer

[For more on Thailand and the Red Shirt movement, click HERE.]

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

October 27, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The serious flooding in Thailand has affected millions of people. Houses, property and infrastructure have been seriously damaged. Factories and workplaces have been closed and hundreds of thousands of people have become temporarily unemployed. Agricultural land has been flooded, leading to further loss of incomes. Millions of people who are living modest lives will see their incomes and savings drastically lowered and the economy can only be dragged down. The waters are now predicted to remain high for at least a month.

The longer-term effects of the flood damage will become a real test for the Peua Thai government of Yingluck Shinawatra. If this crisis is not solved to the satisfaction of most citizens, the government risks losing long-term public support.

Zeitgeist, far-right conspiracy theories and Occupy Wall Street

October 27, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The global Occupy movement sparked by  Occupy Wall Street has mobilised tens of thousands of people angered at the actions of the big corporations, banks and financial institutions. Protesters rightly hit out at government bailouts of the banks and the close relationships between politicians and big business, while leaving the majority -- the "99%" -- to pay the price through austerity and attacks on their rights.

John Bellamy Foster: Capitalism and the accumulation of catastrophe

Film produced by Jill Hickson and John Reynolds.

[For more material from the conference, click HERE.]

October 20, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- At the 2011 Climate Change Social Change Conference held in Melbourne, John Bellamy Foster, Marxist academic, editor and author on economics and ecology, was a featured speaker. Above is the video of his keynote speech on September 30.

The conference was sponsored by the Office of Environmental Programs, Melbourne University, and organised and co-sponsored by Green Left Weekly, Resistance, Socialist Alliance and Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal. Other co-sponsors included Friends of the Earth (Melbourne), the Labor Party Pakistan and Sydney University Political Economy Society.

Australia: Climate Change, Social Change conference attracts hundreds

[For more material from the conference, click HERE.]

By Viv Miley

October 8, 2011 -- Socialist Alliance -- More than 500 people gathered in Melbourne over September 30 to October 3 to take part in four days of stimulating talks and discussion at the second Climate Change Social Change conference. The conference, which featured five plenary sessions, 39 workshops and more than 90 speakers, was organised by Green Left Weekly, Socialist Alliance and Resistance. Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal also sponsored the conference.

The conference brought together activists, academics and unionists from Australia, Asia, North America and the Pacific to share ideas and experiences from the movements for Indigenous people's rights, against environmental destruction, for women's rights, for queer rights, for peace, social justice and workers’ rights.

Hands over the city: Towards an urban nightmare

 

By Dave Holmes

[This is an edited version of a workshop talk given on October 2, 2011, at the World at a Crossroads: Climate Change, Social Change conference in Melbourne. For more material from the conference, click HERE. It first appeared at Dave Holmes' Arguing for Socialism and is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission. See also Are livable cities just a dream? by Dave Holmes.]

I want to give an overview of the crisis of our cities as I see it. The city I focus on is Melbourne, where I live. But I doubt that the broad situation is much different in the other states.

Modern cities are "free-fire" zones for the corporations. And the situation is getting worse. We can't work out what to do without understanding this basic reality.

'Dissecting those "overpopulation" numbers', excerpt from "Too Many People?" by Ian Angus and Simon Butler

October 4, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Haymarket Books has kindly given permission for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal to publish "Dissecting those 'overpopulation' numbers", an excerpt from the just published Too Many People? Population, Immigration and the Environmental Crisis by Ian Angus and Simon Butler. Links' readers are urged to purchase this essential book. You can order it directly from the publisher HERE; Australian readers can also purchase it at Resistance Bookshops in their city, or online at Resistancebooks.com.

Download "Dissecting those 'overpopulation' numbers" HERE (PDF), or read it on screen below.

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Trade unions must join the fight against climate change

Ian Angus speaking at the Climate Change Social Change conference. Photo by Alex Bainbridge.

September 29, 2011 -- Climate and Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Ian Angus, editor of Climate and Capitalism, is currently in Australia to speak at the Climate Change Social Change conference in Melbourne, September 30 – October 3.

During his pre-conference speaking tour, he was invited to address several meetings of trade union members. The following is a lightly edited transcript of the opening comments he made at union meetings in Melbourne and Geelong.

[For more articles by Ian Angus, click HERE.]

* * *

Thank you for inviting me to speak today.

Durban climate talks: 'Only people-driven and democratic solutions offer genuine ways out of climate crisis'

Protests at COP16 in Cancun, Mexico, December 2010. Protests are being organised to take place at COP17in Durban, November-December 2011.

People's Dialogue statement on climate change, COP17 and Rio+20

Durban, September 2011 -- The People's Dialogue is a network that brings southern Africa and South American rural and popular activists and social movements together to share experiences and strengthen linkages in challenging injustice and building alternatives. The People's Dialogue held a meeting in Durban from September 21-23,  2011, to engage with the issue of climate change and the challenges it poses for rural movements, moving towards COP17 [to be in held Durban in November-December] and Rio+20 [to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on June 4-6, 2012].

Fred Magdoff and John Bellamy Foster: A `realistic’ answer to the ecological crisis

"What is clear from ... Magdoff and Foster, is that 'what every environmentalist needs to know about capitalism' is that: 1) it is the root cause of the environmental crisis, 2) capitalism is incapable of solving it, either by going green or by becoming non-growth.'

John Bellamy Foster, co-author with Fred Magdoff of What every environmentalist needs to know about capitalism, will be a featured international guest at the second World at a Crossroads: Climate Change – Social Change Conference, Friday, September 30 – Monday, October 3, 2011. Read an exclusive excerpt from What every environmentalist needs to know about capitalism HERE.

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By Liam Flenady

Pakistan: Arrested, tortured for assisting climate change victims

Baba Jan speaking at a demonstration for the flood affected earlier this year.

[Urgent: Please send messages calling for the release of Baba Jan and his comrades c/- farooqtariq@hotmail.com. Farooq Tariq will be a guest speaker at the Climate Change Social Change activist conference in Melbourne, over September 30 to October 3.]

By Farooq Tariq

September 15, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Baba Jan, a federal committee member of the Labour Party Pakistan (LPP), has been taken from jail ... and the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) is torturing him on the name of investigation”, fears the LPP. Baba Jan, surrendered himself to an "anti-terrorist court" in Gilgit Baltestan last week, had been on the run after police opened fire on a demonstration demanding compensation for those affected by the Atta Abad Lake floods last year, killing two.

Baba Jan’s “crime” was that he organised rallies and demonstrations against the police killings.

Foundations of an ecosocialist strategy

September 1, 2011 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the permission of the translator and of Nouveaux Cahiers du Socialisme -- The following article by a leading European ecosocialist, Daniel Tanuro, was written especially for the latest issue of the Montréal-based journal Nouveaux Cahiers du Socialisme (NCS), which features a number of articles on the ecological crisis (not yet on-line). Tanuro is the author of an important book-length Marxist critique of “Green capitalism", L’impossible capitalisme vert, soon to be published in English. Other articles by Daniel Tanuro, in both French and English, may be found at Europe solidaire sans frontières. I have translated the French text of this article as published by NCS. – Richard Fidler

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By Daniel Tanuro, translated by Richard Fidler

John Bellamy Foster: The ecology of Marxian political economy

[This article is an extended version of a talk delivered at the Marxism 2011 Conference, University College of London, July 3, 2011. Click HERE to view a video of that talk. Readers of Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal are urged to consider subscribing to Monthly Review, where this article first appeared. John Bellamy Foster will be a featured international guest at the second World at a Crossroads: Climate Change – Social Change Conference, Friday, September 30 – Monday, October 3, 2011, Melbourne University.]

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By John Bellamy Foster

Marxism and ecology (video): John Bellamy Foster at Marxism 2011


John Bellamy Foster addresses the British SWP's Marxism 2011, July 3, 2011.

For an extended text version of the talk delivered at the Marxism 2011 Conference, University College of London, July 3, 2011, click HERE. John Bellamy Foster will be a featured international guest at the second World at a Crossroads: Climate Change – Social Change Conference, Friday, September 30 – Monday, October 3, 2011, Melbourne University.

Keynote speech by John Bellamy Foster: "Capitalist crises, ecology and socialism"

Friday, September 30, 2011, 7.30-9.30 pm,

Sidney Myer Asia Centre (http://maps.unimelb.edu.au/parkville/building/158), Melbourne University.

As COP17 approaches: Dirty Durban’s manual for climate greenwashing

Durban’s infamous Bisasar Road dump: Africa’s largest “Clean Development Mechanism” is one of the world’s primary cases of carbon-trading environmental racism.

By Patrick Bond

August 29, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Will the host city for the November-December world climate summit, COP17, clean up its act? The August 23 launch of a major Academy of Science of South Africa (Assaf) report, Towards a Low Carbon City: Focus on Durban offers an early chance to test whether new municipal leaders are climate greenwashers, attempting to disguise high-carbon economic policies with pleasing rhetoric, as did their predecessors.

Mauritius: Marxism, ecology and the contribution of John Bellamy Foster

By Lalit de Klas

June 2011 – Lalit [the revolutionary socialist party in Mauritius] sees the natural universe, whether it be the air above us, the sea around us or the Earth we walk upon, and all that lives upon it, and even outer space, as being our collective heritage as human beings. We are part of it, and also the guardians of it. This natural universe, our Mother Earth, is now endangered.

Our planet is already suffering irreversible damage, damage so serious as to threaten the very existence of the totality of human civilisation in all its varied forms. We humans have the minds to know this.

The threat is posed by our own human-made forms of agricultural and industrial “development”. This is serious because it is our way of survival that has become this destructiveness.

The main damage has been done in the past 250 years. Increasingly serious damage is being done. And yet most of us are oblivious to it, and once we know, we are “helpless”. We sit and watch a potential meltdown of a nuclear plant in Japan, as the capitalists who run it admit their own helplessness.

Marxism has an ecological heart

Credit: Galen Johnson/Canadian Dimension.

By Ash Pemberton

August 13, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- We all know there’s a big problem with the environment and it needs drastic action to fix it. So does a Marxist analysis of the problem bring anything new to the table?

Marxism redefines the terms of the mainstream environmental debate. Instead of seeing the problem as one of humans versus nature, the problem is framed as one where humans and nature are intrinsically linked and ecological crises arise in which the relationship between the two is thrown into imbalance.

I think a Marxist analysis best describes the connection between human society and the rest of nature in a historical perspective. From this we can better understand the current crises and humanity’s task for the foreseeable future.

Capitalism

First, a few things to keep in mind about capitalism. Under the laws of the capitalist system, profits must continually expand or the system will collapse. This expansion has taken new forms over history, involving different combinations of exploitation of people, the environment and a fair share of economic trickery and speculation.

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