Climate change

Green triumph in power generation? Not really

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 10:34

Misha Zubrowski

A report by Carbon Brief on Monday 14 October headlines that “UK renewables generate more electricity than fossil fuels for first time” — an exciting prospect. Digging deeper, the picture is more complex.

The report concerns the third quarter of 2019, and it shows “renewables” a hairline over fossil fuels in generation, each contributing roughly two fifths, and nuclear the final fifth.

But generation is not the same as consumption. The UK is a net importer of electricity, with fossil fuels providing a greater share in the imports.

And counted in the renewables is biomass, which is not “low

Building for a new pay ballot

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 07:49

John Moloney, PCS Assistant General Secretary (in a personal capacity)

We are building towards a renewed dispute over pay and pensions for directly-employed civil servants in 2020.

Our 2019 conference voted for that, and some recent developments have given additional impetus. The government has told the union nationally that the civil service pension scheme is overfunded, meaning there’s more money coming in than going out.

This means it could absorb a 2% reduction in employee contributions, effectively a 2% pay rise. But the government has said they can’t do this, as they need the spare cash to pay for the fallout from the Fire Brigades Union’s victory in their

Build for 25 October!

Published on: Wed, 09/10/2019 - 11:02

Misha Zubrowski

The UK group most centrally involved in organising youth climate strikes, UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN), is calling a “day of action” on 25 October.

It seems, currently, that the format will be more walkouts, another “climate strike”. The next global climate strike is set for 29 November.

20 September was the most recent climate strike, in which workers joined youth, taking part in workplace actions. Actions were taken in many places, including by many of us, although as a rule initiated by workplace activists without much direct support from the union nationally. This is likely to remain

Brighton, Labour, and the left

Published on: Wed, 09/10/2019 - 10:33

An interview with Kelly Rogers, a committee member of Labour for a Socialist Europe (L4SE), Another Europe is Possible, and the Labour Campaign for Free Movement, about Labour Party conference.

Q. What picture did the motions booklet give before conference?

A. The bulk of anti-Brexit motions were sent to conference as a result of work by our coalition, comprising Another Europe is Possible, Labour for a Socialist Europe and Open Labour.

For a number of months in advance of conference we were phone-banking Labour Party members in our networks, convincing them to support our motion and

Lessons of “Heathrow Pause”

Published on: Wed, 02/10/2019 - 12:32

Mike Zubrowski

Attempts were made to fly toy drones in Heathrow’s “restricted zone” from Friday 13 September for most of a week.

This action, “Heathrow Pause”, was part of a protest against climate change, by a split from Extinction Rebellion (XR).

Measured by its stated aims and objectives, the action was not particularly successful. There was some publicity for the plans in advance, but very little media coverage over the week of the action itself. No planes were grounded, which was part of the aim, as an end towards media coverage.

The activists’ stated aim of forcing the state to send them to prison —

Calling Andy Burnham to account

Published on: Wed, 02/10/2019 - 12:01

Nick Weightman

Thousands of young people gathered in Manchester’s St Peter’s Square on Friday 20 September. The protest was rather a warning to politicians who thought they could come along, mouth nice platitudes and pat young people on the head.

Lillia, a 10-year old climate activist (with her own blog), took Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham to task when he said he was “doing his best” and made a big deal of a new free 16-18 year old bus pass and his opposition to fracking.

Lillia skewered his “lies, when you don’t count the airport in emission figures” [Manchester Airport is owned by GM local

Millions protest to save the planet

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2019 - 10:42

Gerry Bates

The numbers on the student climate strike demonstration in central London on 20 September were estimated by organisers at up to 100,000.

Similar huge crowds filled the streets in many cities across the world. In Sydney, Australia, for example, the turnout was also estimated at 100,000.

The protests were made up of school students, university students, people who took or already had days off work on the Friday, plus a significant minority of workers joining the protest, generally with the consent or support of their employers.

In England alone, there were dozens of other protests. We are not

Labour Conference: debating a Green New Deal, Brexit and free movement

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2019 - 09:24

Alan Gilbert, Chris Reynolds and Martin Thomas

The process of “compositing” (merging a large number of similar local Labour Party motions into a manageably small number of options for debate) at Labour Party conference on the Green New Deal was long drawn out and arduous.

Eventually, however, the delegates agreed to send forward three options. One motion, supported by the GMB union, included some radical bits but, crucially, no target for suppressing carbon emissions.

The second, backed by far more CLPs and with the Fire Brigades Union as the mover, was more radical. It specifically included a target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2030,

Going forward from 20 September

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2019 - 07:49

Stephen Wood

The momentum of the Climate Strike on 20 September should tell the labour movement that now is the time to take climate change seriously as a class issue seriously.

Capitalism sees the environment and natural resources as commodities to be exploited, the same way it see human labour. Just 100 major companies have been responsible for over 70% of all greenhouse gas emissions since 1988.

Climate change is, in short, caused by the drive for profit. It is caused by capitalism.

For the first time in this wave of school-student climate strikes, a number of workplaces organised some forms of action

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