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From: The Socialist issue 1073, 12 February 2020: NHS: Fight for full funding!

Search site for keywords: Climate change - Energy - Government - Carbon

Tackling climate change: Johnson emits huge quantities of hot air!

London climate strike 20 September 2019, photo Paul Mattsson

London climate strike 20 September 2019, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Simon Carter

Antarctica has just experienced its hottest temperature on record and, globally, January 2020 was the warmest January ever recorded.

The consequences of continual and rapid global heating - rising sea levels, increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events - will be catastrophic for the environment, including human populations.

Tackling the cause of global heating, that is, increased greenhouse gas emissions from capitalist industry, transport and agribusiness, is therefore vital.

So, what's the Tory government doing about it?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is hosting the latest climate change summit in Glasgow this November. The COP26 event is meant to break the deadlocked Madrid summit of last December. Deadlocked because the likes of Trump, Putin, Brazil's Bolsonaro, and the Saudi Arabia regime, support the increased development of the big energy companies.

Johnson has recently grabbed the headlines with his accelerated net-zero carbon emissions pledge for the UK.

However, he blotted his copybook by sacking the COP26 president, former Tory MP Claire O'Neill. She accused the Tory government of being "miles off track globally where we are meant to be", and condemned Johnson over what's needed on climate change, saying: "He doesn't get it"!

Indeed, Johnson revealed the utter hypocrisy of his 'green' credentials when at the recent UK-Africa summit he sealed 2 billion of energy deals favouring oil and gas companies, with only 161 million (8% of total) related to clean energy.

Meanwhile, it's been revealed that the government agency UK Export Finance is supporting gas and oil projects abroad that will emit 69 million tonnes of carbon a year - one-sixth of the total UK emissions!

Back in the UK, there's no national plan to properly insulate homes to reduce energy consumption. And the government has stymied the further expansion of renewable energy projects such as offshore wind turbine farms.

O'Neill said: "My advice to anybody to whom Boris is making promises - whether it is voters, world leaders, ministers, employees... is to get it in writing, get a lawyer to look at it and make sure the money is in the bank." Sound advice.

But the only real guarantee of halting catastrophic climate change is to fight for socialist policies - including nationalisation of the major industries under democratic workers' control - to create a millions of new green jobs and achieve net-zero carbon emissions in years, not decades.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
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  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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