Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

Destroy capitalism before it destroys the planet!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Without rapid and significant reductions in green house gas emissions we will face a near-apocalyptic situation very soon. It is well and truly time for working people to take radical action to defend our futures from the profits of the big business polluters.

There is no serious dispute now that human behaviour and in particular big business behavior is contributing to climate change. Pollution that is spewed into the atmosphere causes global temperatures to rise resulting in freak weather conditions including mass flooding and droughts.

With the rising costs of food and petrol the issue of climate change has now become a big issue for ordinary people. Recent polls have shown that the Australian public wants radical action taken on this issue and understand the devastating effects that climate change is having and will have here.

This is because Australia’s economy still relies heavily on agriculture that will not only be affected by extreme temperature increases but also much less rainfall. Some people are even raising the possibility that some major cities like Adelaide may become depopulated due to the lack of rain!

The Labor Party’s position when it comes to climate change is totally inadequate. It is based on being seen to be doing something, without actually making the required changes. In the run up to last year’s federal election the ALP made a commitment to reducing carbon emissions by 60%, on 2000 levels, before 2050. While this sounds like a radical and decisive action in comparison to the Liberals years of denial and inaction, the truth is this target is totally inadequate. If the target is achieved it will still result in many of the terrible consequences of global warming.

The most advanced science, as well as the Labor Governments own Garnaut report, is calling for reductions of 90% by 2050, with interim targets to be set for either 2020 or 2030. Labor refuses to do this before they check it with their big business mates. The signing of Kyoto, while a useful step to putting pressure on countries like the US, is not significant on its own. In fact, Kyoto allows Australia to INCREASE it’s emissions by 8%! Labor is tied by a thousand strings to the interests of the heavily polluting, profiteering bosses. This prevents them from taking the real action needed to avert climate change.

Even the Greens are behind the times in this area as their targets don’t go far enough. They call for an 80% emissions reduction by 2050. Their methods for tackling global warming fail to understand the nature of this threat to humanity as linked to a system where profit is the sole motivating force. Simply calling for a vote for the Greens every four years is not enough to solve the problem of global warming.

The Socialist Party calls for a 90% reduction in emissions by 2030 to avert as much climate catastrophe as possible and ensure a sustainable future for our planet. This will not be achieved by parliamentary action alone. In fact big business will resist any measures to implement this target. To achieve this the Socialist Party believes that we need to wage a mass campaign of young people and workers to put direct pressure on big business through action.

While the Socialist Party acknowledges and supports the need for individuals to make life-style changes, we also point to the fact that at best these efforts can only account for about 20% of the change required. The rest must come from big business. The environmental problems that big business has created are a direct result of the capitalist system – a system that puts profits before the needs of people and the planet. The Socialist Party says that we should destroy capitalism before it destroys our planet.

By SP reporters


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