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From The Socialist newspaper, 5 July 2007

Climate change

Socialist international planning needed

ORGANISED TO raise awareness of climate change, Live Earth is a series of concerts with an estimated worldwide audience of 2 billion people, taking place over seven continents on 7 July.

Among the backers is the multi-millionaire businessman and environmental spokesperson, the former US vice-president, Al Gore. Gore appeared in the Academy Award winning 2006 documentary film An Inconvenient Truth, about the threat of rapid climate change on the environment.

However, this event is unlikely to get to grips with the real causes and solutions to rapid climate change. In particular, how can large corporate sponsors and rich businessmen like Gore seriously challenge the very capitalist system of production that is responsible for destroying the world's environment?

Undoubtedly at these events the public will be asked to reduce their 'carbon footprint' while the big burners of fossil fuels - manufacturing, energy and transport industries will be asked to clean up their act in line with the weak and flawed Kyoto treaty to which the two biggest polluters - the US and China - are not obligated.

In February 2007 the UN-sponsored committee of scientists in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a report arguing that stabilising concentrations of greenhouse gases would 'only' cost between 0.2% and 3% of global GDP by 2030. US officials immediately claimed that such a target would lead to a global recession.

And there's the rub. Capitalism means that the interests of the owners and shareholders in transport, energy and wider industry - who do not want any reduction in their profits - come first.

The market

Just two weeks after New Labour issued its draft Climate Change Bill in March, which talked about cutting greenhouse gases, new figures showed how big privately-owned power stations in the UK by switching fuel in 2006 from dearer gas to cheaper coal had contributed to a 1.15% rise in CO2 output.

Under capitalism it's 'the market' which is expected to deliver cuts in emissions. Any capitalist party will only do so at the expense of workers' jobs in 'dirty industries', or by bigger taxes on ordinary people's energy and transport.

Socialists, on the other hand, will fight climate change with a programme of rational planning of resources, based on public ownership and public good - not private profit - and by the international action of millions of ordinary people seeking to build a planet with a sustainable, socialist future.

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In The Socialist 5 July 2007:

Brown's government for the rich

Blair's toadying surpasses all clichés


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National Shop Stewards' Network conference: Join the fightback against the bosses' offensive


Campaign for a New Workers Party

Campaign for a New Workers' Party: Giving workers a voice

Lively CNWP meeting in Cardiff

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What we think

Unite against war, poverty and terrorism


Postal workers strike

Postal workers: we're striking to win

Postal workers' strike gets solid support across the country


Socialist Party news and analysis

Under several feet of flood water - after flood defence budget cut

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Surplus cash yet cutbacks continue


International socialist news and analysis

Why the United Nations fails the test of internationalism

Iran: Riots over petrol rationing

Climate change: socialist international planning needed

George Bush - a get out of jail ticket

Pakistan: Union activist has suspension withdrawn following protests


Tales from the council chamber

Tales from the council chamber

'Living in a parallel universe'


Socialist Party workplace news

UNISON delegates challenge leadership

Victory over bullying management

RMT conference: Fighting a thousand cuts

Not so nice Mr Branson


Socialist Party events

Socialism 2007


Socialist Party review

Two plays reviewed by Mark Baker: 'Philistines' and 'The Last Confession'


 

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