Climate change

A socialist Green New Deal

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 09:17

Global climate change, caused primarily by the burning of fossil fuels, poses the greatest threat to humanity.

The evidence is overwhelming, as are the stark warnings of dire risks if we don’t act urgently to limit it. Yet fossil fuels are being burned at an ever faster rate, accelerating us towards more and even more severe catastrophe.

Capitalism, the system of organising production according to what is most profitable for the business-owners, is the driving force behind environmental catastrophes. Limitless and eternal pursuit of profit cannot respect nature’s boundaries. The bosses seek

Species under threat

Published on: Wed, 30/10/2019 - 10:58
Author

Steve Allen

David Attenborough returned to our screens on Sunday 27 October with his latest documentary Seven Worlds, One Planet.

The series devotes an episode to each continent and the wildlife they support. In the introduction, Attenborough states that climate change is the most significant event to affect the planet since continental drift began 200 million years ago.

Most of the stories relate to how climate change is affecting the featured animals.

Episode one focuses on Antarctica, 98% of which is covered in ice and largely uninhabitable for humans. We see stunning footage of St Andrew’s Bay on

The left and the climate movement

Published on: Wed, 30/10/2019 - 10:04
Author

Misha Zubrowski

This article is a second excerpt from a document on climate change to be discussed by the forthcoming Workers’ Liberty conference.

On paper, almost all trade unions recognise climate change as a grave danger, and demand state action to combat it, with workers having a role in “a just transition”.

For the most part, the policies are close to those of the “One Million Climate Jobs” (OMCJ) project of the “Campaign Against Climate Change” (CACC), from about a decade ago.

CACC often functions to “outsource” climate activism from the labour movement itself.

Some unions, and the TUC, have policy

Climate rebellion: time to discuss next steps

Published on: Wed, 23/10/2019 - 11:26
Author

Misha Zubrowski

Extinction Rebellion’s latest International Rebellion against climate inaction has drawn to a close after two intense weeks starting 7 October.

Protests and actions took place across Europe, India and Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Australia, Gambia and South Africa, Hong Kong, the West Bank in Palestine, and many more places.

In the UK protests focussed on London, targetting government buildings and departments, and various sites around Westminster. They faced increasing police repression, with over 1640 arrests – likely over half the world-wide total — and an authoritarian attempt to ban the

Labour Campaigns Together

Published on: Wed, 23/10/2019 - 10:31
Author

Colin Foster

A coalition of grassroots Labour Party campaigns has launched a website, Labour Campaigns Together.

Its aim is to press the Labour leadership to include left-wing policies voted through at the 21-25 September Labour conference in Brighton in its manifesto and in the actions of a Labour government.

The key policies are:

• A just transition to a decarbonised economy by 2030
• Build 100,000 social rented council homes a year
• Transition to a 32-hour working week with no loss of pay
• Protect and extend the rights of migrants
• End all forms of criminalisation of rough sleeping
• Free our unions:

A workers’ answer to climate change

Published on: Wed, 23/10/2019 - 10:18
Author

Misha Zubrowski

Workers’ Liberty’s conference this year will be discussing and debating maybe amending a document, “Fighting Climate Crises”. This article is a section from it. A future issue of Solidarity soon will carry the second and final instalment of the climate document going to conference this year. It discusses: the trade union movement; the new climate movement from the Youth Strikes to Extinction Rebellion, and beyond; the broader revolutionary left, and; Workers’ Liberty’s traditions in climate activism, and our next steps.

The first research demonstrating that carbon dioxide released through

Green triumph in power generation? Not really

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 10:34
Author

Misha Zubrowski

A report by Carbon Brief on Monday 14 October headlines that “UK renewables generate more electricity than fossil fuels for first time” — an exciting prospect. Digging deeper, the picture is more complex.

The report concerns the third quarter of 2019, and it shows “renewables” a hairline over fossil fuels in generation, each contributing roughly two fifths, and nuclear the final fifth.

But generation is not the same as consumption. The UK is a net importer of electricity, with fossil fuels providing a greater share in the imports.

And counted in the renewables is biomass, which is not “low

Building for a new pay ballot

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 07:49
Author

John Moloney, PCS Assistant General Secretary (in a personal capacity)

We are building towards a renewed dispute over pay and pensions for directly-employed civil servants in 2020.

Our 2019 conference voted for that, and some recent developments have given additional impetus. The government has told the union nationally that the civil service pension scheme is overfunded, meaning there’s more money coming in than going out.

This means it could absorb a 2% reduction in employee contributions, effectively a 2% pay rise. But the government has said they can’t do this, as they need the spare cash to pay for the fallout from the Fire Brigades Union’s victory in their

Build for 25 October!

Published on: Wed, 09/10/2019 - 11:02
Author

Misha Zubrowski

The UK group most centrally involved in organising youth climate strikes, UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN), is calling a “day of action” on 25 October.

It seems, currently, that the format will be more walkouts, another “climate strike”. The next global climate strike is set for 29 November.

20 September was the most recent climate strike, in which workers joined youth, taking part in workplace actions. Actions were taken in many places, including by many of us, although as a rule initiated by workplace activists without much direct support from the union nationally. This is likely to remain

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