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From The Socialist newspaper, 12 October 2006

Dave Nellist's global warning

Dave NellistIN 1972, David Bowie sang: "News had just come over... Earth was really dying". He was wrong, we're still here. But for how long? NASA scientists now say the Earth is warmer than at any time for the last 10,000 years.

By Dave Nellist, Socialist Party councillor in Coventry and a former Labour MP

Over the past 30 years, average surface temperatures have risen 0.2C a decade. But some areas (especially higher and more northern latitudes) are warming even faster. Another 10 years of "business as usual" carbon emissions, reports NASA, could trigger runaway climate change.

If that happens, New Scientist describes how in the northern tundra (Siberia, northern Canada and Alaska) huge amounts of methane could be released from thawing peat in melting permafrost.

Methane is 23 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Global warming could accelerate in what is called positive feedback.

The Met Office's Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research predicts that climate change could lead to a massive extension of drought and deserts, as global warming changes rainfall patterns.

Extreme drought, where agriculture is impossible, could affect almost one-third of the planet by 2100. Hundreds of millions of people could be forced to flee before then from hunger and thirst.

In November a UN conference will propose a replacement for the weak Kyoto treaty which set targets (not being met!) for states and businesses to limit greenhouse gases. Left to big business, will those targets be met in time?

Drax in Yorkshire, Europe's largest coal fired power station, is Britain's biggest producer of greenhouse gases. Last year Drax produced nearly 21m tonnes of carbon dioxide. The owners predict that figure will be worse this year. They claim that's because they're not given enough financial incentives to burn biofuels, although Drax doubled its profits to 317 million in the first six months of the year!

With earnings like these, what's the incentive for shareholders to forego such profits? A serious plan to radically reduce carbon dioxide must start with public ownership and the removal of the role of profit. Climate change is too serious to leave to capitalist politicians and big business.


Climate change demo

Saturday 4 November, 12noon

March from US embassy, Grosvenor Square, to Trafalgar Square, London.

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In The Socialist 12 October 2006:


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Health workers beat the privateers

Get organised! Join the march on parliament!

NHS - not safe in their hands

Protests at health cuts

Angry marchers keep up the fight


Socialist Students

Fees can damage your education

Student fees can be defeated

Campaigning in the schools and colleges

Chile: solidarity appeal


International socialist news and analysis

All views welcome at Socialism 2006

Huge meeting greets socialist movement

Cable Street 1936: When workers drove back the fascists

A 'race to the bottom' for workers' rights and a disaster for the environment

Dave Nellist's global warning

Kazakhstan - appeal for support

Brazilian elections: Lula fails to win in first round

"Bertiegate" scandal rocks Ahern coalition


Socialist Party workplace news

Blood service faces cuts

Trade unions must organise casual workers


 

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