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From The Socialist newspaper, 22 November 2017

Carbon dioxide hits 800,000-year high: end profit-driven pollution

Pollution

Pollution   (Click to enlarge)

Pete Mason, East London Socialist Party

The feared surge in global warming gases in 2016 was confirmed by the World Meteorological Organization on 30 October. Its researchers found the highest atmospheric carbon dioxide levels in 800,000 years.

Then the "world scientists' warning to humanity: a second notice" - a letter from over 15,000 scientists across 184 nations - was published on 13 November.

It's hard hitting: "by failing to adequately limit population growth, reassess the role of an economy rooted in growth, reduce greenhouse gases, incentivise renewable energy, protect habitat, restore ecosystems, curb pollution... humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperilled biosphere."

With the US under Trump withdrawing from the Paris agreement on climate change - which is a toothless arrangement anyway - you might have thought the letter would target the main culprit. But mistakenly, it primarily seems to target population growth.

Yet after the post-war 'baby boom', the growing population of pollution-heavy Europe began to level off - and even fell in some cases. Working people's struggles won rising living standards and social security. They also won greater rights for women. These achievements contributed to the levelling off of birth rates.

And as welcome as the letter is, putting demands on "humanity" as a whole is misplaced. The majority of humanity is not in control of the levers of power, any more than you or I. That's the capitalist class.

To give the letter its due, it does recommend various practical measures, such as reducing "wealth inequality" and phasing out subsidies to fossil fuel companies.

The scientists recommend humanity ensures that "prices" and "taxation" benefit the environment. But, with the capitalist class in power across the world, this would simply mean higher prices for an already impoverished majority, not higher taxation for the biggest companies overflowing with unspent cash.

And there's no chance of ending the growing wealth inequality around the world while the people haunting the corridors of power are the capitalist class, who defend their own. And with them, the very fossil fuel companies responsible for global warming.

Climate change is an intractable problem for capitalism. The letter again exposes its failed rule of the planet. Ending the rule of the market and the super-rich through public ownership and socialist planning would free up the resources needed to tackle environmental catastrophe.

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In The Socialist 22 November 2017:


What we think

Budget: lying Hammond says no unemployed


Scottish Labour

What does the left victory in Scottish Labour mean?


International socialist news and analysis

Zimbabwe: Mugabe gone - but his regime remains in power

Australia: massive yes vote for marriage equality

Trump's tax attacks


Workplace news and analysis

Scotland: BiFab workers' occupation and march secures jobs and pay guarantee

Usdaw general secretary coronation

Leeds college workers protest poor pay rises

Virgin train workers vote for strike action over pay

Sheffield Eastern Ave Job Centre strike ends


Housing crisis

Posh estate agent's housing crisis solution: make your own sandwiches

Them & us

Councils' 1bn on commercial property


Socialist Party news and analysis

NHS cuts kill!

Gentrification on the terraces: fans say twenty's plenty

Carbon dioxide hits 800,000-year high: end profit-driven pollution


Socialist Students

Lively student demonstration for free education could have been much bigger

Socialism 2017 Socialist Students meet-up


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Nottingham 'Reclaim the Night' march highlights cuts

Southampton: Corbynista success but cuts continue


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

Disability cuts outrage: my story

Left comic's take on politics will have you in tears

The Socialist inbox


 

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Related links:

Climate change:

triangleUnprecedented floods in British Columbia

triangleSunak's climate finance agenda typifies capitalism's COP26 failure

triangleYouth fight for well-paid green jobs and socialist change

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Socialist change to reverse climate change

triangleThousands march in Glasgow and elsewhere to save the planet

Carbon:

triangleEast London gentrification plans exposed

triangleTory climate plans set to fail - socialist planning needed

triangleFamine in Madagascar

triangleCouncils declared climate emergency - now act like it!

Global warming:

triangleTV Review: Apocalypse Cow

triangleTories look in wrong place for climate solutions

triangleStop climate change - fight for socialist change

Global:

triangleVaccine inequality - the ugly face of capitalism

triangleCOP26 News in brief

Environment:

triangleSomers 'slaughterhouse' Forge

Energy:

triangleCatastrophic energy bill hike - a crisis made by capitalism

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