People & planet before profits! For socialist change – Not climate change

This is the text of the leaflet distributed by Socialist Youth activists at the Global Day of Action against Climate Change protest in Dublin on December 8th. You can also view it as a PDF here.

Catastrophe faces our planet because of climate change. A whole number of studies, reports and films such as Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth have highlighted this fact.

In February of this year, a report written by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) showed that temperatures could rise as much as 6.4OC 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.

For socialist change - Not climate change

While climate change effects 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.

Kyoto II?

This week, the representatives of 169 countries will meet at a United Nations summit in Bali, Indonesia. The supposed aim of this conference will be to tackle global warming and produce a “Kyoto Treaty II”. However, the Kyoto Treaty itself was completely insufficient in reducing carbon emissions. Now, 150 of the world’s major companies have come in favour of a treaty that will cut climate change. The commitment of multinationals such as these and their representatives such as Bush, Brown and Sarkozy to tackling climate change is as hollow as their supposed aim of “Making Poverty History” a number of years ago!

Big Business opposes tackling climate change

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 is the problem not the solution! In Ireland, it is the profiteering of property developers that has led to the unsustainable development of our cities. This development has meant an enormous urban sprawl, without the necessary infrastructure such as a properly funded public transport system. This has led to massive gridlock on our roads. It is hardly surprising that CO2 emissions in this country have increased by 25% in the past 15 years, while transport emissions have increased by 125%!

Green Party sell-out

In this weeks budget Fianna Fail and the Green Party introduced changes to VRT and motor tax aimed at reducing carbon emmissions. These changes are tokenistic and when related to the scale of the problem they are irrelevant. Contrast these superficial changes with what else the Greens have done. As government ministers, Eamon Ryan has allowed Shell to continue with its refinery in Bellanaboy, and John Gormley now supports the construction of waste incinerators!

Socialist Youth and the Socialist Party believe that parties such as Fianna Fail and Fine Gael represent the interests of big business and are therefore incapable of effectively reducing carbon emissions. We believe that any party that claims to have our planet’s interests at heart should not enter government with parties such as these. The experience of the Green Party in government since then went into coalition with the Fianna Fail and PDs in June proves this point.

Build a movement for system change

Socialist Youth 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 $800 million spent on the arms trade each year and the unnecessary duplication of goods as well as the $1 trillion spent on advertising yearly.

We demand:

No to the exploitation of the environment for the profits of big business

No to nuclear power – For clean, safe and renewable sources of energy to be used in place of fossil fuels

For a massive injection of resources into reversing global warming

No to working class people paying the price of the bosses’ pollution

For a democratic and sustainable socialist plan of production that prioritises the needs of the world’s majority not the profits of big business

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