Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

Climate change: From Kyoto to Copenhagen

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Urgent action needed to protect the environment!

The above headline may read like the title of a dodgy 1980’s pop song, but the reality is much worse. The Kyoto Protocol was the ‘green’ buzz-word of the 1990’s, an agreement among the world’s capitalist leaders which was supposed to solve the global warming crisis.

Unfortunately it failed miserably and resulted only in a worsening of global warming and the spectre of carbon trading. Carbon trading has been touted as a solution to global warming but in reality it is just a scam where bosses buy the right to pollute while continuing their pursuit of profit at the expense of the planet.

The Kyoto Protocol is a time limited agreement and comes to an end in 2012. Its successor will most likely be developed by the Copenhagen Climate Council which meets in early December. Even before any document is finalised we can be certain that it will be totally inadequate.

This meeting, which will involve many of the world’s leaders, was developed and will be led by business leaders and industrialists. These people are hardly known for their environmental credentials. Even Kevin Rudd has expressed doubt that anything beneficial will come from the gathering.

The Copenhagen Climate Council is really an attempt by big business and governments to control the direction of future climate change policy. This is made explicit in a document entitled ‘The Copenhagen Call’ which was presented at the World Business Summit on Climate Change in May.

The first paragraph of the document calls on the world’s political leaders to ensure that future efforts to halt global warming are done in such a way as to not inhibit economic growth and opportunities – i.e. profits.

This document even goes as far as demanding that public funds be used to allow private investors to access profit making opportunities while developing new technologies!

The Copenhagen Climate Council is a blatant attempt to shift responsibility for and the cost of global warming on to workers and the poor and away from the big business polluters.

The summit will be another sham gathering. Mass demonstrations are already being planned to protest against inaction. Alongside these protests the environmental movement needs to develop an alternative program to solve the crisis.

It is clear that capitalism cannot put a halt to global warming. It remains a major problem due to the fact that it is a system which puts profits above all else. If we really want to protect our environment we need industry that is publicly owned and democratically controlled with planned spending on sustainable green technologies and solutions.

These are the socialist solutions to the environmental crisis and the only way forward if we are serious about saving the planet from environmental destruction.

By Ger Hughes, Socialist Party Sydney


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