Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 23 November 2016

UN climate change summit: more hot air from Marrakech

photo Alfred Palmer/Creative Commons

photo Alfred Palmer/Creative Commons   (Click to enlarge)

Pete Dickenson

The latest United Nations-sponsored climate change conference has just ended in Morocco. This conference was a follow up event to the 'historic' agreement reached in Paris a year ago, that was intended to create a successor to the Kyoto Treaty that ended in 2012.

The main aim in Marrakesh was spun as being to build in a 'ratchet mechanism' to the Paris deal, so that the pledges made there (entirely self-determined) to control greenhouse gas emissions would get more ambitious over time as the review process got under way.


This certainly is needed, because even if all the commitments made in Paris were fulfilled, global temperatures would probably still rise by a disastrous 3C. There was no agreement on this.

According to the European Union, one of the key deliverables was the Marrakech Action Proclamation, a call for the highest political commitment to be made to tackle climate change. In other words, more hot air.

The self-congratulatory mood at the conference was shattered by the news of the election of Trump, who has pledged to pull out of the entire process, calling global warming a 'hoax'.

Trump has appointed the notorious climate sceptic Myron Ebell to head his environment transition team. Ebell, from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, sent two of his cohorts over to Morocco to stage a stunt to ridicule the conference, which duly got them thrown out of the gathering.

The Paris agreement was designed to make it very hard for any country to pull out of the agreement, because it will entail four years of bureaucratic wrangling. Optimists in Marrakech were hoping that this would put Trump off, But he doesn't have to go to the trouble of pulling out, he can just ignore the Paris agreement.

This exposes one fundamental drawback with Paris - it was completely voluntary. There will be no sanction whatsoever if Trump decides to ignore the pledges that the US administration previously made. This will also apply to emission targets resulting from any future ratchet mechanism that is agreed.

None of the major emitters of greenhouse gasses would have signed up in Paris if the emission reduction commitments had to be legally binding. The other major powers, in particular China, will now be able to hide behind Trump and say, although they really wanted to cut emissions themselves, they will not be prepared to give the USA a 'free ride'.

Tipping point

Meanwhile, away from the farcical horse-trading at the UN, the climate situation is rapidly worsening. 2016 is set to become the hottest ever, and the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the main driver of global warming, has gone over 400 parts per million (ppm). When it reaches 450 ppm there will be a real danger that a tipping point will be reached and uncontrollable global warming will set in.

The UN-sponsored climate talks, going back for decades, have completely failed to tackle the threat we are facing, because none of the big capitalist powers that call the shots are willing to risk the profits of their own multinational corporations. Sweeping away the profit-driven capitalist economic system is the only way to break out of this spiral to environmental disaster.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 23 November 2016:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Cash for rich and royals, cuts for the 99%

Tories drop 'pay to stay'

Tories plan pain with Brexit Autumn Statement

3.5bn on temporary housing for councils

'Just about managing': 2,500 worse off by 2020

Job figures mask casualisation

What We Saw

What we think

The Socialist Party and support for the Corbyn movement

Socialist Students

Fight back to save education!

Campaigning Socialist Students groups needed to hold student unions to account

N30 strike: five years on

Lessons of the 'N30' 2011 pension strike: when workers showed their power

International socialist news and analysis

USA: mass protests break out to #ResistTrump

Ireland: repeal the 8th Amendment - fight for abortion rights

Spain: Students' Union surges forward in historic congress

Hundreds rally to celebrate anniversary of Students' Union and Izquierda Revolucionaria

UN climate change summit: more hot air from Marrakech

Workplace news and analysis

"I don't always feel that I'm a carer anymore" - a day in the life

Southern Rail Strike

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Reselection motion passed at Labour Party branch

Packed-out Socialist Party meetings hear American socialist and Black Lives Matter activist

School talk on the struggle for the vote and its importance today

Socialist readers' comments and reviews

The Socialist inbox

"I can't stop thinking about Socialism 2016 - it was truly brilliant"

Socialism 2016: what you thought


Home   |   The Socialist 23 November 2016   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleMay's "war on plastic" still puts profits before the planet

triangleCarbon dioxide hits 800,000-year high: end profit-driven pollution

triangleOpposition to new academy school being built on Leeds playing fields

triangleHackney Socialist Party: How can the environment be saved?

triangleTories 'flouting duty' on poison air, says UN

Climate change:

triangleMovement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangleProfit-driven pesticide use now threatens life

triangleExtreme weather events and global warming


triangleSudan: Mohamed Satti released - global solidarity campaign gets results!

triangleA world in crisis, ripe for revolution

triangleSE London Socialist Students & Socialist Party: Global warming - A global threat

Global warming:

triangleSouth-East London Socialist Party: Global Warming - A global threat

triangleThe Socialist inbox


triangleMerseyrail protest


triangleMovement challenges Iranian regime


triangle47,000 kids exposed to illegal toxic air





Russia: Ali Feruz, journalist and human rights activist, freed from jail


South Africa

South Africa: Ramaphosa is a safe pair of hands for capitalism



France: rallies in support of oppressed Kurdish people



Big political strike against Finnish government's attack on unemployed



Brazil: Lula conviction confirmed


South Africa

Cape Town drought



May's silence is a green light for Chinese repression


Tamil Solidarity

Protesters denounce oppressive Sri Lankan regime



Sudan: Mohamed Satti released - global solidarity campaign gets results!



Stop the war on the Kurds



Vienna: 50,000 march against racism and austerity



Stop the war on the Kurds



Punishment of Tamimi family awakens wave of international solidarity


Hong Kong

Stop repression in Hong Kong and China



Tunisia: explosion of protests against government austerity

triangleMore International articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

February 2018

January 2018