The environment

More rail yes, HS2 maybe not

Published on: Wed, 19/02/2020 - 10:15
Author

Simon Nelson

More railway lines? Yes. HS2 in particular? Not really.

There are higher priorities: electrification of the railways, many of which are still running diesel trains; increasing capacity on intercity services; improving existing connections; reinvestment in branch lines; newer trains.

A well-staffed and free or cheap integrated rail and bus network is the sort of large-scale infrastructure project that should come before HS2.

Some of the arguments used against HS2 are weak. But there is also good reason to question the arguments made for HS2 as a way to create good jobs, as a way to help the

Fighting climate crises - AWL conference document 2019

Published on: Tue, 21/01/2020 - 21:27
Author

AWL conference 2019 (Jan 2020)

1. The engine driving climate change

§1.1 The first research demonstrating that carbon dioxide released through burning fossil fuels would drive global warming was published well over a century ago, the first government warnings in the 1960s, and the first IPCC report in 1990. Now, the scientific consensus about serious human-driven climatic heating - with far-reaching effects - is over 99%. It is the greatest danger facing both humanity and the success of the socialist project.

§1.2 Beyond global warming, there are several major independent environmental threats. Biodiversity loss and species

"Phase out almost all animal products” is wrong - debate

Published on: Wed, 18/12/2019 - 10:23
Author

Paul Vernadsky

See here for the original article which Paul Vernadsky is responding to. See Misha Zubrowski's reply to the article below, here.

The article ‘A workers’ answer to climate change’ (Solidarity 522, 23 October bit.ly/mz-cc-19) contains a flawed formulation, which would disorientate socialist climate politics if it were accepted. The sentence reads:

“Crucially, phasing out almost all animal products (with the added benefit of reducing the needless extreme suffering of billions of sentient beings)”.

The demand to “phase out almost all animal products” is incoherent:
• “Almost all animal products”

Reforestation: A science-based argument

Published on: Wed, 18/12/2019 - 10:12
Author

Misha Zubrowski

The article below is a response to one written by Paul Vernadsky, linked. See here for the original article which Paul Vernadsky is responding to.

The insights from Paul Vernadsky’s discussion piece point towards an expansion of what we say on transitioning away from animal-based food production, not a deletion.

The piece also, I think, makes some spurious assertions or arguments.

A general argument and detailed backup from scientific literature demonstrate — contrary to Paul’s unsubstantiated assertion to the contrary — that an aim of “phasing out of almost all animal products” is based on

Link-ups on 29 November climate strike

Published on: Wed, 04/12/2019 - 18:26
Author

Misha Zubrowski

Climate strikes on 29 November saw large number of school students and older people turn out, all across the country.

In many places there were smaller turn-outs than previous strikes: partly because of the election; partly because — unlike the 20 September — there was no central emphasis on trade unionists and workers joining; and maybe partly because of a slight loss of steam. There were still fairly good and energetic turnouts, even if smaller, in most places that I got reports from.

It coincided with the UCU strikes. Some places seized the opportunity presented by that, others failed to.

More needed than carbon trading

Published on: Wed, 04/12/2019 - 18:21
Author

Misha Zubrowski

The opening of COP25, this year’s major international climate conference, in Madrid (2-13 December), has been marked by strong words by UN secretary general António Guterres. However, action to live up to these words is unlikely to be forthcoming from the conference.

Guterres said “the point of no return is no longer over the horizon… It is in sight and hurtling toward us”. He noted that the world has the scientific knowledge and the technical means to limit global warming, but “what is lacking is political will”.

“Political will to put a price on carbon. Political will to stop subsidies on

Labour’s climate policy: the fine print

Published on: Wed, 27/11/2019 - 19:16
Author

Misha Zubrowski

The environmental section of Labour’s manifesto is more ambitious than previous policy announcements, but less so than sections of the policy passed at this year’s Labour conference.

It has received much hype but less attention to detail. This article unpicks some of the finer points.

The rhetoric, at least to start, seems refreshingly left-wing, it suggesting a direct working-class approach. “Just 100 companies globally are responsible for the majority of carbon emissions”, they recognise. They thus commit to “work in partnership with the workforce and their trade unions in every sector of

Building after 29 November climate strike

Published on: Wed, 27/11/2019 - 19:16
Author

Misha Zubrowski

Millions of young people, in the UK and around the world, will take part in the 29 November global climate strike. In many workplaces workers will take actions, whether a lunchtime photo-shoot or delegations of workers joining city-wide climate protests. In the UK, particularly important this time are the UCU strikes, which coincide. We must build on the 29th for wider climate activism.

Youth climate strikers should deepen our collective and democratic organisation on town-, city-, and region-wide bases. Youth strikers must work with workplace activists to build a clear programme of

Black Friday and the folly of anti-consumerism

Published on: Wed, 27/11/2019 - 19:16
Author

Eduardo Tovar

In the US, Black Friday is the Friday following Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday in November). The day revolves around large discounts in shops.

Black Friday sales are notorious for the levels of chaos or even violence that occur as crowds pour into the shops and scramble for the discounted goods. To take an extreme example, in 2008 a stampede of shoppers on Long Island, New York, trampled a Walmart employee to death.

Although Black Friday as a long-running annual tradition is specific to the United States because of its relationship to the holiday of Thanksgiving, retailers in other

Building wider climate action for 29 November

Published on: Thu, 21/11/2019 - 00:14
Author

Misha Zubrowski

The next global youth climate strike is planned for Friday 29 November. In dozens of towns and cities across the UK, from hundreds of schools, and in hundreds of cities around the world, millions of school students and young people will be taking a stand against climate change.

It will be the first international climate strike since 20 September. There have been multiple strikes over the last year. On 20 September there was a call for workers to join students, and in several workplaces they did.

This was an important step towards the workplace environmental activism which we need. We need to

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