Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

People & planet not profits!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Catastrophe faces our planet because of climate change. A whole number of studies, reports and films have highlighted this fact. In February of last year, a report written by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) showed that temperatures could rise as much as 6.4 degrees Celsius by the end of this century.

Already climate change has resulted in the doubling of category four and five storms in the last 30 years, while arctic ice has thinned by 40% in the last 40 years.

While climate change affects our planet as a whole, it is the world’s workers and poor who will bear the brunt. If major action is not taken to halt climate change then 600 million more people in sub-Saharan Africa will go hungry from collapsing agriculture, 400 million more will be exposed to malaria and 200 million people will be forced to migrate due to rising sea levels, according to the United Nations Development Programme.

Recently in Bali, at the United Nations Climate Change conference, the Rudd ALP government refused to agree a mild proposal for developed nations to aim to reduce global emissions by 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020.

Instead Rudd agreed to a longer term target of a 60% reduction in emissions by 2050. By then world temperatures could increase by 2.0 degrees with devastating impact on the lives of millions of people, wildlife and coral reefs.

Rudd has demanded an economic impact study first. The interests of the profit system come before the interests of the planet in his view. The Rudd government will sign Kyoto – which allows Australia to INCREASE its emissions by 8% from the 1990 level, so it’s hardly radical.

It was oil and car companies who lobbied to stop the development of environmentally friendly electric car ten years ago in the US. They were afraid that the production of such a car would cut across the obscene profits that they make annually. When the IPCC report came out this year, Exxon oil offered $10,000 to any scientist who could discredit its findings. When it comes to tackling climate change big business, and their representatives in the Liberal and Labor parties, is the problem not the solution!

Alongside fighting for day to day environmental reforms, the Socialist Party stands for the building of a mass movement of working and young people to challenge climate change. We need to fight for a democratic publicly owned and properly funded transport system as an alternative to cars. We should demand that adequate resources are put into renewable energy as a step to phasing out our reliance on fossil fuels.

The international dictatorship of big business means climate change, war, poverty and attacks on the rights of workers and young people. In a socialist society the democratic public ownership and planning of our world’s resources could make the necessary investments into challenging climate change, while at the same utilising our planet’s wealth to abolish want and insecurity.

This could be done by getting rid of the wastage that capitalism produces such as the over $30 billion spent on the international arms trade each year, the over $1 trillion spent on military expenditure world wide each year, the unnecessary duplication of goods as well as the $385 billion spent globally advertising.

By Socialist Party reporters


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