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climate change

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.

* * *

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.

জলবায়ু পরিবর্তন : একটি মার্ক্সবাদী বিশ্লেষণ

মূল: টেরি টাউনসেন্ড
ভাষান্তর: হাসান মেহেদী

[Original English version (2007) at http://www.dsp.org.au/node/166. The Democratic Socialist Perspective has now merged with the Socialist Alliance of Australia. This translation into Bangla appeared at Bangladesh's monthly progressive online journal, Shojashapta, on April 14, 2011.]

Progress in Bolivia: A reply to Jeff Webber

Bolivia's president Evo Morales addresses a press conference during theWorld People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, April 2010.

[See also "Debate on Bolivia: Government, social movements and revolution". For more article on Bolivia, click HERE.]

By John Riddell

May 5, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Six years after Bolivians elected their first Indigenous-led government, their ongoing struggle for national and social liberation remains a subject of debate and disagreement among socialists around the world.

‘The Ecological Rift’: a radical response to capitalism’s war on the planet

John Bellamy Foster, renowned US economist and ecologist, editor of the US socialist journal Monthly Review and author of The Ecological Rift, The Ecological Revolution, The Great Financial Crisis (with Fred Magdoff), Marx’s Ecology; Ecology Against Capitalism, and The Vulnerable Planet, 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.

* * *

Review by Simon Butler

The Ecological Rift: Capitalism’s War on the Earth
John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark and Richard York
Monthly Review Press, 2010
544 pages

Read an excerpt from The Ecological Rift HERE.

Socialist Alliance: International greetings on May Day 2011


Made with Slideshow Embed Tool.
May Day March in Sydney, May 1, 2011. Photos by Peter Boyle.

By the Socialist Alliance (Australia)

April 30, 2011 -- The Socialist Alliance in Australia sends our warm comradely greetings and best wishes for successful activities on May 1, International Workers’ Day.

May Day this year takes place in a tumultuous time: the multiple crises confronting global capitalism are deepening, while mass resistance to its brutal rule grows. The people’s uprisings across the Arab world this year pose a major challenge to imperialism and neoliberalism, and are inspiring hope and resistance among oppressed people everywhere.

Green illusions and the carbon tax

By Tim Anderson

April 30, 2011 -- The proposal for a carbon tax raises the issues of tax equity and political strategy. Yet despite their inter-relatedness, we need to disentangle these issues to focus on the original question. As a mean of addressing climate change, the carbon tax proposal comes in the context of difficult global negotiations, where almost any proposal has been seen as a breakthrough, and where (after the last financial derivatives bubble) there is justified suspicion of emissions trading schemes.

In Australia the political context includes a narrow, two-party debate which has reverted to tax incidence, with both major parties basically captured by the major investor groups and Labor having recently been humiliated over a failed proposal for a new mining tax. Into this mix we have the Greens, presenting as an alternative, yet signing an accord with the Labor government over its carbon tax.

I would like to briefly touch on the tax equity issue, before moving to the carbon tax and then to the question of political strategies.

Tax equity

Breaking the real taboo in the population debate

By Ian Angus

April 27, 2011 -- Climate and Capitalism -- Is there a taboo against attributing environmental problems to population growth? Are populationist views being suppressed?

Sir David Attenborough thinks so. On March 10, the noted naturalist and broadcaster told a meeting in London that there is a “strange silence … some bizarre taboo” about the population issue. This “absurd taboo” has “a powerful grip on the minds of so many worthy and intelligent people”. Attenborough urged his listeners to “break the taboo”, by raising the population issue whenever and wherever they could.

Who was he talking to? Who were the brave people who dared to listen to a talk on this forbidden topic? Was it some secretive group, hanging on despite all odds, somehow keeping alive the truths that are suppressed by the powers that be?

Well, no.

Climate finance leadership risks global bankruptcy

By Patrick Bond

April 24, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- South Africa’s most vocal neoliberal politician, Trevor Manuel (pictured above), has just been named as co-chair of the Green Climate Fund. On April 28-29, 2011, in Mexico City, Manuel and other elites met to design the world’s biggest-ever replenishing pool of aid money: a promised US$100 billion of annual grants by 2020, more than the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and allied regional banks put together.

The Climate Justice lobby is furious because, as the network of 90 progressive organisations wrote to the United Nations, “The integrity and potential of a truly just and effective climate fund has already been compromised by the 2010 Cancún decisions to involve the World Bank as interim trustee.” A Friends of the Earth International study earlier this month attacked the World Bank for increased coal financing, especially $3.75 billion loaned to South Africa’s Eskom a year ago.

Montreal conference rallies support for rights of nature

By John Riddell

April 23, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Bolivia marked Earth Day (April 22) this year by formulating the Law of Mother Earth, which—when adopted—will establish 11 new rights for nature, including the right not to be polluted and the right to continue vital cycles free from human interference.

On April 20, the United Nations General Assembly debated a proposal introduced by Bolivia, with support of other South American countries, to adopt a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Nature. The proposed global treaty says that “Mother Earth has the right to exist, persist, and to continue the vital cycles … that sustain all human beings”.

Meanwhile, Canada’s political and media establishment have organised an election campaign in which the world’s ecological crisis is barely mentioned.

South Africa: As Durban climate summit approaches, industrial policy hits green wall

South Africa’s trade and industry minister Rob Davies.

By Patrick Bond

April 18, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Hosting the Durban COP17 – let’s rename it the “Conference of Polluters” – starting in late November puts quite a burden on the African National Congress government in Pretoria: to pretend to be pro-green.

Embarrassingly, last week’s US Export-Import Bank loan of US$805 million to South Africa will feed huge profits to the notorious US corporations Black & Veatch so that a vast coal-fired power plant, “Kusile”, can be constructed, mainly on behalf of huge smelters run by BHP Billiton and Anglo American Corporation – whose profits soar away to Melbourne and London.

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