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Socialists and environmentalists - what do we have to learn from each other?
Extent of the problem <ul><li>IPCC’s 4th Assessment Report, published last year which drove the final nail into the coffin...
Environmentalists know this <ul><li>CO2 and other greenhouse gases need to stabilise at 450 parts for every million parts ...
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. <ul><li>Scientists warn that climate change is likely to result in sudden...
Irreversible on a human timescale <ul><li>Most and probably all of the nine scenarios are likely to be once they pass a ce...
Irreversible changes <ul><li>Arctic sea ice: some scientists believe that the tipping point for the total loss of summer s...
Changes 2 <ul><li>Gulf Stream: few scientists believe it could be switched off completely this century but its collapse is...
Changes 3 <ul><li>West African monsoon: in the past it has changed, causing the greening of the Sahara, but in the future ...
Species extinction <ul><li>20-30% of species will become extinct if temperatures rise by 2.5 degrees </li></ul><ul><li>40-...
Stern <ul><li>2° temperature rise above  pre-industrial levels… </li></ul><ul><li>0.7-4.4 billion people face growing wate...
Capital's influence on government <ul><li>Globally, 7 of the top 10 corporations (by sales) are either oil companies or au...
Limits of working with companies <ul><li>Survey in the Independent last week showed that climate change is eighth in the c...
Limits of the market <ul><li>  Governments that claim to take climate change seriously, like New Labour, rely on market me...
Carbon trading <ul><li>Clinton's administration wanted this in Kyoto Agreement. </li></ul><ul><li>Offers right to pollute ...
Capital versus the ecosystem <ul><li>Market solutions don’t work </li></ul><ul><li>Fundamental contradiction between the d...
Planning <ul><li>Can only solve the problem of climate change through rationally planning what we produce and how we produ...
Ecology and class in Britain <ul><li>Poor in Britain who cannot afford houses other than in the flood plains, those who ca...
CWU survey <ul><li>Main issues for young CWU members </li></ul><ul><li>Housing </li></ul><ul><li>Climate change </li></ul>
Ecological consciousness <ul><li>Will develop hand in hand with class consciousness. </li></ul><ul><li>It becomes increasi...
Individual responses <ul><li>Serves the interests of capital to encourage an individual response to climate change. </li><...
Collective action <ul><li>Only by collective action will we be able to develop solutions to climate change </li></ul><ul><...
An austere future? <ul><li>We will never build a mass movement on the basis of arguing for self imposed austerity.  </li><...
Ecosocialism <ul><li>More than just ‘red with a dash of green’. </li></ul><ul><li>Freeing Marxism from the distortions of ...
Trade unionists and environmentalists <ul><li>Historical antagonism between environmental activists on the one hand and tr...
Bureaucracy and collaboration <ul><li>Union bureaucracy allows capital free reign to direct production. </li></ul><ul><li>...
Working for “the man” <ul><li>Many environmentalists have taken managerial jobs within the big corporations to reform them...
Socialists and trade unionists <ul><li>Socialists and trade unionists must start thinking about developing alternative pla...
Types of struggle <ul><li>Internationalist and radical content to much eco radicalism. </li></ul><ul><li>Essential role in...
Class and ecology <ul><li>Working class must resolve this in its own interest. </li></ul><ul><li>Needs political expressio...
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Socialists And Environmentalists What Do We Have In Common

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Socialists And Environmentalists What Do We Have In Common

  1. 1. Socialists and environmentalists - what do we have to learn from each other?
  2. 2. Extent of the problem <ul><li>IPCC’s 4th Assessment Report, published last year which drove the final nail into the coffin of climate scepticism. </li></ul><ul><li>Environmentalists had been raising the alarm. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Environmentalists know this <ul><li>CO2 and other greenhouse gases need to stabilise at 450 parts for every million parts of atmosphere </li></ul><ul><li>550ppm CO2 e gives 77-99% chance of 2° global temperature rise or worse. </li></ul><ul><li>Stern recommends this because it would cost 1% of global GNP. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. <ul><li>Scientists warn that climate change is likely to result in sudden and dramatic changes to some of the major geophysical elements of the Earth if global average temperatures continue to rise as a result of the predicted increase in emissions of man-made greenhouse gases. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Irreversible on a human timescale <ul><li>Most and probably all of the nine scenarios are likely to be once they pass a certain threshold of change, and the widespread effects of the transition to the new state will be felt for generations to come, the scientists said. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Irreversible changes <ul><li>Arctic sea ice: some scientists believe that the tipping point for the total loss of summer sea ice is imminent. </li></ul><ul><li>Greenland ice sheet: total melting could take 300 years or more but the tipping point that could see irreversible change might occur within 50 years. </li></ul><ul><li>West Antarctic ice sheet: scientists believe it could unexpectedly collapse if it slips into the sea at its warming edges. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Changes 2 <ul><li>Gulf Stream: few scientists believe it could be switched off completely this century but its collapse is a possibility. </li></ul><ul><li>El Niño: the southern Pacific current may be affected by warmer seas, resulting in far-reaching climate change. </li></ul><ul><li>Indian monsoon: relies on temperature difference between land and sea, which could be tipped off-balance by pollutants that cause localised cooling. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Changes 3 <ul><li>West African monsoon: in the past it has changed, causing the greening of the Sahara, but in the future it could cause droughts. </li></ul><ul><li>Amazon rainforest: a warmer world and further deforestation may cause a collapse of the rain supporting this ecosystem. </li></ul><ul><li>Boreal forests: cold-adapted trees of Siberia and Canada are dying as temperatures rise. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Species extinction <ul><li>20-30% of species will become extinct if temperatures rise by 2.5 degrees </li></ul><ul><li>40-70% if 3.5 Celsius </li></ul>
  10. 10. Stern <ul><li>2° temperature rise above  pre-industrial levels… </li></ul><ul><li>0.7-4.4 billion people face growing water shortages. </li></ul><ul><li>Falling crop yields. </li></ul><ul><li>15-40% of species disappearing. </li></ul><ul><li>  7m sea level rise. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Capital's influence on government <ul><li>Globally, 7 of the top 10 corporations (by sales) are either oil companies or auto manufacturers. </li></ul><ul><li>Bush no longer denies anthropogenic climate change </li></ul><ul><li>Now insists it is best addressed through voluntary measures undertaken by business, and by the development of techno-fixes, rather than by setting limits on emissions. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Limits of working with companies <ul><li>Survey in the Independent last week showed that climate change is eighth in the concerns of big business </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing sales, reducing costs, developing new products and services, competing for talented staff, securing growth in emerging markets, innovation and technology. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Limits of the market <ul><li>  Governments that claim to take climate change seriously, like New Labour, rely on market mechanisms to solve the problem. </li></ul><ul><li>Many within the environmental movement share similar illusions in the capacity of the market to resolve this crisis. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Carbon trading <ul><li>Clinton's administration wanted this in Kyoto Agreement. </li></ul><ul><li>Offers right to pollute to those who can afford it. </li></ul><ul><li>Rights given to iron, cement, oil and gas industries by EU. </li></ul><ul><li>Europe has 25-30% of world's &quot;dump space&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Polluter pays is now &quot;polluter earns&quot;. Permits can be sold. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Capital versus the ecosystem <ul><li>Market solutions don’t work </li></ul><ul><li>Fundamental contradiction between the driving force of capital </li></ul><ul><li>Infinite growth and accumulation – and the preservation of a finite ecosystem. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Planning <ul><li>Can only solve the problem of climate change through rationally planning what we produce and how we produce it, not by clinging to the anarchy of the market. </li></ul><ul><li>Capital can never accept this </li></ul>
  17. 17. Ecology and class in Britain <ul><li>Poor in Britain who cannot afford houses other than in the flood plains, those who cannot afford the ever rising home insurance premiums, who will suffer first and most from the increasingly freak weather </li></ul>
  18. 18. CWU survey <ul><li>Main issues for young CWU members </li></ul><ul><li>Housing </li></ul><ul><li>Climate change </li></ul>
  19. 19. Ecological consciousness <ul><li>Will develop hand in hand with class consciousness. </li></ul><ul><li>It becomes increasingly clear that capitalism not only generates war, poverty and insecurity. </li></ul><ul><li>It also threatens our survival as a species. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Individual responses <ul><li>Serves the interests of capital to encourage an individual response to climate change. </li></ul><ul><li>Not so much a conspiracy as a diversion, an attempt to divert our attention from those who are truly responsible for this crisis. </li></ul><ul><li>As workers we don’t choose our conditions of life. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Collective action <ul><li>Only by collective action will we be able to develop solutions to climate change </li></ul><ul><li>Beginning with collective struggle, mass struggle, and leading, if we are successful in our struggle, to collective planning, to collective control over the resources of the planet. </li></ul><ul><li>We can allocate those resources not to generating profit for the few but to the satisfaction of real human need </li></ul>
  22. 22. An austere future? <ul><li>We will never build a mass movement on the basis of arguing for self imposed austerity. </li></ul><ul><li>The changes we need to make would greatly enhance the quality of life for the vast majority of us. </li></ul><ul><li>Free us from the tyranny of the private automobile and replacing it with free public transport, by significantly shortening the working week, by socialising domestic labour. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Ecosocialism <ul><li>More than just ‘red with a dash of green’. </li></ul><ul><li>Freeing Marxism from the distortions of Stalinism </li></ul><ul><li>It is about reclaiming a Marxism that is both humane and ecological. </li></ul><ul><li>Goal is the thoroughgoing disalienation of humanity through the agency of its only truly progressive class, the proletariat. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Trade unionists and environmentalists <ul><li>Historical antagonism between environmental activists on the one hand and trade unionists, or  union bureaucracy. </li></ul><ul><li>Trade unionists have tended to regard environmentalism as a threat to jobs, and environmentalists distrust the unions because they defend even most polluting industries. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Bureaucracy and collaboration <ul><li>Union bureaucracy allows capital free reign to direct production. </li></ul><ul><li>  As long as it provides their members with jobs. </li></ul><ul><li>Rarely question what is produced or how it is produced, though now talks of ‘greening the workplace.’ </li></ul>
  26. 26. Working for “the man” <ul><li>Many environmentalists have taken managerial jobs within the big corporations to reform them from within </li></ul><ul><li>Others continue to advocate pro-capitalist solutions to the environmental crisis. </li></ul>
  27. 27. Socialists and trade unionists <ul><li>Socialists and trade unionists must start thinking about developing alternative plans of production. </li></ul><ul><li>No law of nature that says that trade unions have to be defenders of wages and conditions within the narrow confines of capitalism. </li></ul><ul><li>At times unions can even a revolutionary role. In the context of climate change, we are asking trade unionists to be nothing less than the agents of human survival. </li></ul>
  28. 28. Types of struggle <ul><li>Internationalist and radical content to much eco radicalism. </li></ul><ul><li>Essential role in publicising, starting debate, raising awareness. </li></ul><ul><li>Radicalising new generation - Heathrow, Drax. </li></ul><ul><li>Young activists have little memory of class struggle. </li></ul>
  29. 29. Class and ecology <ul><li>Working class must resolve this in its own interest. </li></ul><ul><li>Needs political expression </li></ul><ul><li>Transitional demands / movement/ organisation </li></ul><ul><li>Nationalisation </li></ul><ul><li>Planning </li></ul><ul><li>Restructuring of industries </li></ul>

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