Student climate strike. Photo: Mary Finch
Student climate strike. Photo: Mary Finch

John Williams, Cardiff East Socialist Party

While politicians campaign for votes to decide who’s sitting in parliament for the next five years, the world is heading for climate catastrophe, and the guilty culprit is capitalism. A UN estimate suggests that water stress could displace 700 million people by 2030. And the 2021 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that within two decades, temperatures are likely to rise by more than 1.5⁰C above pre-industrial levels, with devastating consequences.

Students and young people have directed their anger at the capitalist system itself, and its political representatives. Many young people took their first political action walking out of school and colleges to protest against the inaction of the Tory government. Empty words at the COP climate conference were followed up with empty wallets when it came to invest what’s needed to prevent catastrophe. And Sunak’s desperate dumping of net-zero pledges, granting new oil and gas licences, and posturing as a polluter-friendly politician won’t stem the tide of young people abandoning the Tory party one bit.

We all want to see the Tories gone, but when the alternative put in front of us is Starmer’s Labour, its hard to feel enthusiastic. Not too long ago, he dropped Labour’s promise of £28 billion a year on environmental investment. Keir Starmer said it would be “irresponsible” to keep it! Is it ‘irresponsible’ to invest in our futures to guarantee a world we can actually live comfortably in?

Nationalise energy companies

Labour’s flagship environment policy is creating ‘GB Energy’ – a publicly owned energy company competing with the big privately owned energy giants. The majority of the oil and gas and energy producing infrastructure will remain in private hands – and they can’t be trusted! They can’t be trusted either to stump up the cash for a transition to environmentally sustainable production, and any action they do take will be punishing their workers. Look at Tata Steel; bosses want to close down the steel furnace in Port Talbot that will decimate jobs and the local economy if it goes ahead, and they claim to be doing it to ‘reduce emissions’ – keep their profits safe more like!

We need a pro-worker government that will take on these climate criminal vultures. The major corporations that dominate the economy are responsible for the bulk of carbon emissions, and there is no prospect of them accepting the hit to their profits required to take the action.

You can’t control what you don’t own! To secure our future we need to take the infrastructure, logistics and science out of the hands of the capitalists and put them in the hands of workers ourselves. That way, a democratic plan can be drawn up to provide the goods and services we need while protecting the environment. 

Socialist Party members standing in the general election under the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition banner are standing for:

  • Stop climate change – invest in renewable energy, make the super-rich polluting bosses pay
  • End oil and gas – guarantee jobs for existing workers with no loss of pay, pensions and conditions – and fully paid free training
  • Free public transport – expand and improve services, kick out the profiteers
  • Nationalise the energy industry, big business and the banks – no money to the fat-cat bosses, compensation only where there is proven need
  • For a socialist plan of production, drawn up democratically by the working class to meet the needs of all and the environment
  • For a new mass workers’ party fighting for socialist change in Britain and internationally

John is a young worker and Unite member. He is standing for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in Cardiff East.