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climate change

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.

Leaving oil in the soil, from Durban's coast to Ecuador's Amazon

The decrepit 40-year-old tanker, MT Phoenix, lost its anchor mooring on July 26, 2011, and was pushed to the rocky shoreline in Christmas Bay, 25 kilometres north of Durban.

By Patrick Bond, Durban

August 2, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- There's no way around it: to solve the worsening climate crisis requires we must accept both that the vast majority of fossil fuels must now be left underground, and that through democratic planning, we must collectively reboot our energy, transport, agricultural, production, consumption and disposal systems so that by 2050 we experience good living with less than a quarter of our current levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

That's what science tells our species, and here in South Africa a punctuation mark was just provided by a near-disaster in Durban -- host of the world climate summit, four months from now -- during intense storms with six-metre waves last week. A decrepit 40-year-old tanker, MT Phoenix, lost its anchor mooring on July 26 and was pushed to the rocky shoreline in Christmas Bay, 25 kilometres north of the city.

Australia: Labor government's carbon price is not a serious response to global warming

Protesters heckle climate denier Barnaby Joyce, a senator with the right-wing opposition National Party, as he speaks in Wollongong's Crown St Mall. Photo by Paola Harvey.

By Simon Butler

July 15, 2011 -- "Our Common Cause", Socialist Alliance's weekly column in Green Left Weekly -- Action on climate change is one of the most important issues of all. But the Australian Labor Party federal government’s carbon price plan is not a serious response. It is not grounded in climate science. The biggest problem is that it aims to take 10 years to cut Australia’s emissions by just 5% (based on 2000 levels). This is nowhere near enough. It’s so far from enough that even if it succeeds, the world will still be pushed into an unstable, dangerous climate system.

Most other developed countries have pledged much bigger emissions cuts than Australia. Yet most climate scientists say all the promised cuts put together will be too little, too late.

Bolivia: Cut war spending to aid victims of climate change

A positive initiative would significantly reduce military spending and allocate monies to a fund that addresses the impacts of climate change in developing countries.

Statement by Ambassador Rafael Archondo, permanent representative of the Plurinational State of Bolivia to the United Nations, in the debate of the United Nations Security Council on maintenance of international peace and security: the impact of climate change, New York, July 20, 2011. Thanks to Climate and Capitalism for the text.

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Thank you Mr. President.

Bolivia joins the statements made by the Group 77 and China, represented by Argentina and the Non-Aligned Movement, whose voice has been expressed by Egypt.

Mr. President:

Climate change is a real threat to the existence of mankind, other living creatures and Mother Earth, and given its systemic nature, can be analysed from multiple dimensions such as social, economic, cultural or environmental.

From a Malaysian police cell: 'Why I am a socialist and intend to remain so', explains Jeyakumar Devaraj

[Jeyakumar Devaraj, a federal member of parliament, is one of six Malaysian socialists being held without trial since June 25. Protest letters still are urgently needed to be sent to the Malaysian government, please visit http://www.parti-sosialis.org/en/en/articles/1585 for details of where they can be sent. See also "Malaysia: Protests demand release of democracy activists" and "Asia-Pacific socialists demand: 'Free all political prisoners! Democracy for the Malaysian people!'".]

By Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, written in detention

South Africa: Fighting the minerals-petroleum-coal complex’s wealth and woes in Durban

WikiLeaks revealed Washington’s bullying, bribery and blackmail when promoting the non-binding 2009 Copenhagen Accord (being hatched by leaders above), a sham of a climate agreement designed to ditch Kyoto. South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma (in left corner) was an original signatory.

By Patrick Bond and Khadija Sharife

July 19, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- When African National Congress Youth League leader Julius Malema recently proposed the mining industry’s partial nationalisation – and asked, quite legitimately, “what is the alternative?”, of those in the South African Communist Party (SACP) and Business Leadership South Africa who threw cold water at him – a debate of enormous ideological magnitude opened in public, which workers, communities and environmentalists have already joined in their myriad struggles.

The deep green meaning of Fukushima

[For previous articles by Don Fitz, click HERE.]

By Don Fitz

June 26, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Humanity must decrease its use of energy. The decrease must be a lot (not a little bit) and it must happen soon. A failure to do so will lay the foundation for the destruction of human life by some combination of climate change and radiation.

How long will the disastrous consequences of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan continue? A good estimate is about 4.5 billion years — the half life of uranium-238. [1] The March 11, 2011, meltdowns sounded alarms that environmentalists have rung for over half a century. There is also a deeper green meaning: the limits of economic growth have long since passed and we need to design a world with considerably less stuff.

The industry claims that there is such a thing as a safe level of radiation and that nuclear production can be safe. Both are profoundly untrue.

The truth behind Chevron's greenwashing: 'The true cost of Chevron'

June 22, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Television viewers in Australia are being bombarded by an expensive series of PR advertisements extolling how much the giant "energy" corporation Chevron "agrees" with the Australian people's concerns for the environment. In a classic example of "greenwashing", Chevron's "We Agree" campaign is a concerted effort to defuse opposition to its activities around the world.

But as with most capitalist advertising, the truth and reality behind the glossy claims are very different, as the True Cost of Chevron: An Alternative Annual Report below highlights in extensive detail. Fortunately too, the satirical exposers of corporate shams the Yes Men joined forces with the environmental groups Amazon Watch and the Rainforest Action Network to issue a bogus press release and set up a phony website to expose the "We Agree" campaign.

Capitalist globalisation and the environment: Offshoring carbon emissions

By Martin Hart-Landsberg

June 12, 2011 -- Reports from the Economic Front, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- More than 3000 participants from 183 countries are attending a two-week UN sponsored climate gathering in Bonn, Germany.  The talks are supposed to help prepare the agenda for COP 17, or as it is more formally known, the 17th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (defenders of the environment have renamed the meeting the Conference of Polluters) which will take place November 28 to December 9, 2011, in Durban, South Africa. 

The cost of climate inaction grows worse.  As the Earth Island Journal reports:

From Copenhagen and Cancun to Bonn and Durban, climate meetings are conferences of polluters

By Patrick Bond, Durban

June 21, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Judging by what transpired at last week’s global climate negotiations in the former West German capital, Bonn, it appears certain that in just over five months’ time, the South African port city of Durban will host a conference of climate procrastinators, the COP 17 (Conference of Parties), dooming the Earth to the frying pan. Further inaction on climate change will leave our city’s name as infamous for elite incompetence and political betrayal as is Oslo’s in the Middle East.

It appears certain that Pretoria’s alliance with Washington, Beijing, New Delhi and Brasilia, witnessed in the shameful 2009 Copenhagen Accord, will be extended to other saboteurs of the Kyoto Protocol, especially from Ottawa, Tokyo and Moscow, along with Brussels and London carbon traders.

Stand up for Africa! Stand up for climate justice!

June 4, 2011 -- From May 24 to 26, 2011, representatives of African trade unions, farmers, women and faith-based groups, as well as key African non-governmental organisations and networks concerned with the climate change crisis met in Johannesburg, South Africa, to discuss shared strategies to confront this crisis and its root causes.

Under the joint sponsorship of the Africa Trade Network (ATN), the International Trade Union Confederation-Africa (ITUC-Africa) and the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), the meeting deliberated on the threats posed to the peoples of Africa and the world over by climate change, as well as the continuing inaction by governments in the face of these threats. The meeting reached shared understandings and adopted the conclusions that follow.

Bangladesh: Climate change and neoliberal policies

By Danielle Sabai

May 9, 2011 -- Asia Left Observer, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Located in the largest delta at the world, where two Himalayan rivers, the Brahmaputra and the Ganges, converge and flow into the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh is used to climatic catastrophes. Half of the land area of Bangladesh is less than 10 metres above sea level. It consists mainly of silt deposited by the rivers that flow down from the Himalayan glaciers. When the snow melts it regularly causes large-scale floods. The coast is at the mercy of cyclones and giant waves which submerge the coastal areas.

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