Real action needed to stop climate change

By Cian Prendiville

Over the last few weeks and months, a lot of politicians have come out and paid lip service to need to stop climate change, and with the election approaching it will probably continue. But will they act?

Just a glance at the government and opposition track records gives us a hint. Between 1990 and 2004 Fianna Fail, the PDs, Fine Gael and Labour have all been in government and pledged to limit C02 emissions. In fact, they increased by a whopping 23%.

Promises and action are two different things. Only immediate action will halt climate change, not hot air. This vital action will, however, cut into the profits of big business – the same companies which fund the main parties’ election campaigns.

For instance enforcing C02 cuts on the main polluters (factories and big business) would require them to accept lower profits for the sake of the world – something which makes no sense when profit maximisation is king.

Similarly massive investment in public transport and renewable energy that could have a huge impact in reducing emissions will not make sense to the establishment parties, which are all about reducing public spending. What is more likely is that they will continue to starve public transport and the ESB of the necessary funding.

What is needed is a genuine opposition, not just in the Dail, but on the streets. With a recent EPA report saying my home city of Limerick will be permanently flooded in my lifetime, along with other towns and cities around the country, this gets more vital every day.

How can climate change be stopped? Socialist Youth believes a global plan of action is needed to put the needs of people and the planet before the profits of the super rich elite. This will mean taking on the oil multinationals. Energy production and public transport must be rationally and democratically owned, controlled and planned by ordinary working class people not by the market and big business.

This obviously requires taking on capitalism and the rule of profit inherent in it. As James Connolly said: “We are moderate – we only want the earth!”, maybe “we only want the earth to survive” would be an appropriate add-on today.

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