The environment

Don’t water down “Green New Deal”

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 10:54

Misha Zubrowski

Labour’s leadership has announced pledges to build 37 new wind farms, quintupling UK’s wind capacity and creating 70,000 jobs.

• to ban sale of new non-electric cars by 2030
• to invest billions in the technology and production of electric cars, hastening the transition with a 30,000-strong community of car clubs
• to delist from the Stock Exchange companies that fail to meet environmental criteria.

Environmentalists need to fight for Labour to win in an impending general election, and to implement these policies if they win. To step up to the scale of the needed transformation, we must

Hold Labour to socialist Green New Deal policies!

Published on: Wed, 09/10/2019 - 11:22

Misha Zubrowski

Labour Party conference passed unprecedentedly bold environmental policy this year. It will amount to nothing if we do not fight for it.

The policy as passed was contradictory, or at least in tension, in parts, but included:

• a target of zero carbon emissions by 2030
• “a worker-led ‘just transition’... public ownership of energy, creating an integrated, democratic system; large-scale investment in renewables”
• “rapidly phasing out fossil fuels”
• “repeal all anti-union laws, facilitating worker-led activism over social and political issues, including climate change”
• “take transport into

Marx and the environment

Published on: Wed, 09/10/2019 - 10:12

Paul Vernadsky

Over the past two decades, John Bellamy Foster and Paul Burkett have made outstanding contributions to the resurgence of Marxist ecological politics.

In particular their emphasis on Marx’s political economy contained in Capital and their careful dissection of other texts, notes and letters have shown how environmental concerns lie at the core of historical materialism. Their latest book, Marx and the Earth (Haymarket 2017) is a robust defence of Marx and Engels on ecology in the face of a range of green critics.

Marxism has a sophisticated view of the relationship between human society and

Debating action on climate change

Published on: Wed, 17/07/2019 - 10:23

Matt Cooper, Paul Hampton, Martin Thomas, Mike Zubrowski

Workers’ Liberty activists have been proposing and debating initiatives on climate change.

Start local for climate action by Matt Cooper

Climate activism in the workplace by Paul Hampton

Intertwining the threads by Martin Thomas

Start small, but aim big by Mike Zubrowski


Start local for climate action

By Matt Cooper

In his article in Solidarity 512, Mike Zubrowski argues that a focus on limited local issues and (by implication) workplace initiatives “distracts from the real forces at play” which are international and require that the working class “take democratic public control” of key

Diary of an engineer

Published on: Wed, 17/07/2019 - 07:17

Emma Rickman

I’m a first year engineering apprentice at a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant in Sheffield.

The plant takes domestic black bin waste and burns it at high temperatures to heat steam, which drives a turbine and an electricity generator.

The excess steam from the turbine is then used to heat water, which is pumped around the city to heat buildings — such as the local swimming pool.

This morning I cycled the two miles to work in the sunshine, all downhill. Because it’s midsummer, lots of work is taking place on the District Heating network while demand for heat is low, so my route passed a lot

Untangling the threads

Published on: Tue, 16/07/2019 - 13:22

Mike Zubrowski

People who worry more about climate change, correspondingly putting more effort into “being green”, are likely to live lifestyles with higher associated emissions. In advanced capitalist countries, middle-class people tend to think more about climate change. They are simultaneously living in less densely-packed areas, further from where they might travel to, and with more disposable income: more carbon-intensive lifestyles.

There is a lot to unpack in and take from this. One is the need to for care in the scope and angle considered when estimating emissions allocation. The same people who buy

The fight against climate catastrophe needs free trade unions

Published on: Fri, 05/07/2019 - 14:04

Daniel Randall

The call for a general strike against climate change, now gaining traction across much of the climate movement and taken up by prominent figures such as Greta Thurnberg, has a meaningful latent power. School climate strikers are calling on workers to join them in striking on 20 September.

At its most sophisticated, this call represents an acknowledgement that a confrontation with capital is required to arrest and reverse climate catastrophe, and that direct action in workplaces, the site where capitalism most fundamentally “happens”, must be a key form of that direct action. The call poses

Climate campaigning, large and small

Published on: Wed, 03/07/2019 - 12:27

Mike Zubrowski

A record breaking – and dangerous – heatwave swept much of Europe in the closing days of June, affecting the UK too, with a lighter touch.

For once, complaints of it being “too hot” seemed more than an excuse to grumble. But these unnatural temperatures are the benign end of repercussions of the global climatic instability caused by rising greenhouse gas levels.

In the same period, a study was published demonstrating higher-than-predicted increase in sea temperature. One knock-on effect is reduction of the ocean’s capacity to absorb gasses, including greenhouse gasses, reducing the “budget”

HBO’s Chernobyl: a service to us all

Published on: Wed, 03/07/2019 - 10:29

Les Hearn

Chernobyl was a disaster — there is no doubt about that — but what lessons should we learn from it?

Though the catastrophic meltdown and explosion of the RBMK Reactor No 4 happened almost half a lifetime ago, when police states claiming to serve the workers ruled eastern Europe, the recent HBO mini-series Chernobyl has brought that time back to life.

Though partly fictionalised and sometimes wrong (according to survivors and experts), the basic facts are correct.

During an “experiment” aimed at improving safety procedures, Reactor No 4 responded erratically and attempts to bring it under

Outsourced workers’ strikes

Published on: Thu, 20/06/2019 - 08:02

John Moloney, PCS Assistant General Secretary (personal capacity)

Outsourced workers at the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) began a five day strike from 17 June, immediately following an outsourced workers’ strike at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (F&CO). Both strikes have had exceptionally lively picket lines.

Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, walked past the F&CO picket and naturally strikers and supporters took the opportunity to make him aware of the issues, politely and diplomatically, of course. The following day, Hunt wrote to Interserve, the contractor which employs outsourced workers in the F&CO, to press them

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