IT’S no surprise that the UN Climate Report released this week made grim reading.
‘Code Red’ for humanity was the main message – that is, change our ways or face the horrific consequences.
For some, the ramifications are already here – in a morbid sense, it’s rather appropriate the report emerged amid wildfires in Southern Europe, Algeria and California – and came just weeks after heavy floods in Germany.
For the British government, all eyes turned to this winter’s COP26 UN Climate Summit in Glasgow.
It is there that Climate Minister Alok Sharma – recently criticised for unnecessary air travel to 30 nations for in-person meetings – will hope to co-ordinate the world onto a path towards net zero, or something of that ilk.
What we will likely see is – as usual – all talk and no action. The major polluters of the world, such as the US, will commit to more renewable energy sources, but that’s in no way addressing the major issue.
There will also be talk of individual choices – people choosing active travel over driving, or recycling. Perhaps Allegra Stratton’s now-notorious suggestion of not rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher will make an unwanted appearance.
But why should the working class be burdened with solving climate change when individual actions mean so little?
Our readers will likely be familiar with the famous 2017 report by the CDP which concludes that just 100 companies have been the source of more than 70 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988.
But with pro-business governments in charge across the globe, the subject is off-limits. Who will dare take on the highest polluters cited in the report – ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Chevron?
There’s no question our behaviour does need to change as individuals. We can’t keep consuming the same level of meat or continue driving thousands of miles every year.
But without systemic change, individual choice alteration – even if done on a large scale – will simply be a band-aid on the issue.
Under Jeremy Corbyn (and Rebecca Long-Bailey as Shadow Minister), Labour was in favour of the Green New Deal.
It may sound a while away when only the likes of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez mention it in Congress, but it’s fair to say that the 2019 election defeat snatched away a brilliant opportunity to reverse climate change. Had Corbyn been swept into power, momentum could have been built for a greener system of governance.
It’s now up to Keir Starmer to carry the mantle. As with any concrete decision, he’s unlikely to deliver.
For now, the fight for systemic change must continue. Neither unfettered nor regulated capitalism will stop the horrific implications of climate change.
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