England, Wales and Scotland section of International Socialist Alternative

Climate change forecasts increasingly dire

By Fran Sani, Socialist Alternative Leicester

Climate change is broadly recognised as a fact in public discourse. The rising concern of a 2.5C degree increase in global temperatures has made the issue more urgent. Climate change is in fact something more and more of us are experiencing first hand, with floods and wildfires becoming more frequent, catastrophic, and normalised.

At the same time, we keep seeing efforts to address this crisis coming up short time after time, with even the inadequate targets set by successive climate summits admitted to be unachievable by their signatories. Plans for green transitions put forward by capitalist governments are instead prioritising the preservation of profit margins over the well-being of communities that will be most impacted by them and who are often faced with the prospect of unemployment, impoverishment, widespread destruction and death. Capitalism requires infinite growth, something in itself impossible in a world with finite resources. Sustainability is effectively not part of the equation in such a system.

Mainstream media that are unwilling to consider alternatives to capitalism assume a semi-catastrophic tone when discussing climate change, with predictions of a reduction in access to food, energy, and living space for the majority of the world population. Unfortunately even activists like Greta Thunberg sometimes feed into these narratives.

Although they point at real problems with sustainable development, they do not indicate any concrete solution outside of vague appeals to world leaders and multinationals. Such lack of prospects dangerously feed into far-right narratives on environmental preservation, which range from the absurd denial of climate change to the glorification of eugenics as a necessary measure to prevent the excessive growth of the world population.

Prospects under capitalism look bleak both when it comes to stopping the progression of climate change itself and dealing with its increasingly dire consequences. However, there are reasons to be hopeful. Initiatives like the GKN factory collective in Campi Bisenzio, Italy, where car factory workers have put forward a plan for the green conversion of their factory, provide examples of what workers and communities can fight for today. The last few years have also seen inspiring fightback from climate protestors who are increasingly drawing the same conclusions about capitalism’s role in the climate disaster and the need for system change.

We need to build on this, bringing together everyone struggling against this oppressive system, to build the kind of international mass struggle needed to overthrow the current system and replace it with one fit to implement a plan to deal with climate change.

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