Climate change

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Environmentalists in Singapore mobilise on May Day

On May Day, SG Climate Rally, a youth-led environmentalist organisation, held an online public meeting entitled “Workers Rights = Climate Action”. The meeting commemorated Labour Day (1 May in Singapore) and marked the conclusion of SG Climate Rally’s petition for the rights of food couriers and ride-hailing app drivers. The petition was started in response to the government’s new petrol tax hike, announced in its Budget as an environmentalist policy. Ironically, the same Budget allocated $870 million to Singapore Airlines, an aviation firm that is not only incredibly pollutive, but which has...

Don't make a fetish of Andreas Malm

Zack Muddle (Solidarity 588) eulogises Andreas Malm’s book Fossil Capital (2016) as an original analysis of the climate crisis. I think Zack exaggerates Malm’s contribution, overgeneralises from it and ignores big flaws with Malm’s politics. Malm’s central insight is that early nineteenth century English textile manufacturers adopted steam power from coal burning, when waterpower was a viable alternative. As Malm puts it, steam “gained supremacy in spite of water being abundant, cheaper and at least as powerful, even and efficient”. Malm argues that these capitalists adopted steam power...

Climate activists remobilise on 1 May

Hundreds of Extinction Rebellion (XR) supporters took part in non-violent direct action on 1 May over the lack of progress on the climate crisis. Many were arrested as sit down protests blocked major roads in many towns and cities across the UK, including London, Birmingham, Nottingham, Oxford, Cambridge, Bradford, Newcastle, and Swansea. Home Secretary Priti Patel accused them of using “dangerous tactics” and said the protests showed why increased police powers were required, via passing the Tory Police Bill. In Nottingham a Climate Camp has been set up outside the Notts County Hall, by Trent...

Letters: Good climate content, dubious wrapping; Better lockdowns

Good content, dubious wrapping Todd Hamer (Solidarity 589) argues well that climate change is not just a threat for the future. It is happening now. A lot of further adverse change will come soon even if we can cut carbon emissions very fast. We must address climate adaptation: “climate-resilient infrastructure”, “solutions to the food and fresh water crises”, “the capacity for mass resettlement of displaced people”. And mitigation measures such as “the drawdown and storage of atmospheric carbon”. To do that requires huge economic mobilisation, achievable only if social priorities can...

Strong fossil-fuel reboot, weak plans

The fossil-fuelled reboot that we have long warned of in the wake of 2020’s Covid-19 lockdowns is on course to be record-shattering — and not in a good way. Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are set to see their second highest rise in human history. No, not the second highest levels of atmospheric CO2, nor even the second highest emissions or rate of addition to these levels. In both levels and emissions, 2021 is heading towards first place. Emissions are predicted to rise by 1.5 billion tons, to 33 billion — 33 thousand million tons — over the year, and that 1.5 billion rise is...

Class struggle in the Age of Covid — Conference document

Although it is to be hoped that vaccination programmes are successful in substantially suppressing the virus, it is likely to be many years before Covid fades into the background to such an extent that anything resembling a pre-Covid “normality” returns. Working-class struggle against the hegemony of market logic and the profit motive, to assert the interests of social and ecological need, is imperative. We fight for the labour movement to take up demands implied by the pandemic, such as: Full sickness and isolation pay for all workers, regardless of contractual status - a demand we will...

Meeting the crises to come

A 2020 report from the US Commission on Commodity Futures Trading found: “A sudden revision of market perceptions about climate risk could lead to a disorderly repricing of assets, which could in turn have cascading effects on portfolios and balance sheets and therefore systemic implications for financial stability.” In short, economic shocks will be an early impact of climate change and will start as people begin to grasp the reality of climate change and the bleak view of the future. Consider the effect of sea level rise on world property markets. A lot of coastal settlements will flood with...

"Public ownership is just as necessary for banking as health and education"

Marxist economist Michael Roberts (thenextrecession.wordpress.com) has long argued and campaigned to take the banking and financial system into public ownership. He spoke to us about why. Why is public ownership of banking and finance an important demand for the working class and labour movement? What are the key arguments? Banking is an important service for ordinary workers, households and businesses, particularly small businesses. When we get our wage packets, they’re normally paid into bank accounts, and when we conduct most of our transactions they’re conducted with bank cards or credit...

How class struggle shaped fossil fuel

The devastating and sometimes fatal Texas power outages of February 2021 show “how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America,” so spewed Texan governor Greg Abbot: “It just shows that fossil fuel is necessary.” As eye-popping as this shameless lying may be, Abbot only acts as the personified caricature of the irrationality we see systemically with international capitalism. The urgent necessity to halt climate change is universally accepted by scientists. It is the greatest danger facing humanity. Leading bourgeois economists, champions of capitalism, are urging...

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