England, Wales and Scotland section of International Socialist Alternative

One year on since COP26: What has changed?

It has been one year since the world’s media descended on Glasgow for COP26 and left with articles and soundbites full of promises from the leaders of capitalism. 

ISA had a large-scale mobilisation with over 300 members coming from all over the world to take part in the mass protests. We made clear we cannot put any trust in capitalist politicians and linked the struggle against climate catastrophe to workers’ struggle and socialist change. What has changed since then? During Liz Truss’ short lived leadership she attempted to unban fracking. This has been reversed by her successor, Rishi Sunak, which gives an insight to chaos among the ruling elites. 

COP27: Dictatorship and repression 

Sunak’s swithering was again on show with his last minute decision to actually attend the latest COP meeting in Egypt. On the surface, Egypt is a fitting place to hold a conference on climate change, being at particular risk from rising temperatures. These cause a reduction in the flow of the Nile with corresponding catastrophic impacts on farmers and working people all along its embankments. 

But the fact that COP27 took place under the brutal el-Sisi dictatorship makes the gathering somewhat farcical. 32.5% of Egyptians are living under the poverty line and protestors face brutal state repression. There was little hope we would see the demonstrations that took place last year, a fact that pushed Greta Thunberg and many others to boycott the event. 

SNP’s poor record 

Back in Scotland many promises have been doubled back on since the media circus moved on. The SNP initially gave token opposition to drilling the Cambo oil fields and pressure from below saw major energy companies withdraw or pause their projects. However, with the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, plans are once again under way to begin extraction. 

The failings of the SNP on green policy are many. In 2010, Alex Salmond promised 28,000 new green jobs within a decade: by 2020 only 1,700 had been created! 

The shutting of Campbelltown CS wind and BiFab in Fife – both potentially crucial manufacturers of wind turbines – has shown the Scottish government consistently puts short-term interests of the big polluters over the investment in green energy required to safeguard humanity and the planet. 

The paltry sums that the crown estate is charging for access to the seabeds around Scotland also puts the current energy crisis into stark contrast. Energy producers are making obscene profits while the poor shiver in their homes due to lack of affordable heating. 

Fight for socialist change 

Despite the SNP/Greens’ at times more radical veneer, they are guilty of the same meek approach adopted towards fossil fuel barons that we see globally. Even the Financial Times has pointed out that COP27 is the first UN climate summit to invite oil and gas companies to participate in official events, allowing Saudi Arabia to say it does not see the effort to limit global warming as being “about fossil fuels”. 

The absurd position of international leaders who are approaching oil and gas companies cap in hand shows that we cannot rely on capitalist politicians to give us real solutions to climate change. Only a mass movement of the working class and youth organised on an international basis can apply the brakes on a capitalist system that is hurdling us towards ecological breakdown. The construction of a green socialist world is essential to save humanity and the planet. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *