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From The Socialist newspaper, 31 July 2019

Hottest day ever: Tories looking in wrong place for climate solutions

The heat caused train infrastructure to break down, photo by Tom Anderson/CC

The heat caused train infrastructure to break down, photo by Tom Anderson/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Bea Gardner, Southampton Socialist Party

Thursday 26 July was officially the hottest day on record. Temperatures reached a sweltering 38.7C in Cambridge.

The extreme heat caused misery for those stuck in blisteringly hot workplaces as well as thousands of stranded passengers, as our poorly funded infrastructure ground to a halt.

All Greater Anglia trains between Cambridge and London were cancelled. There was overcrowding at St Pancras, Euston and Waterloo stations.

Disgracefully, homeless people struggled to access drinking water, a consequence both of capitalist austerity and gentrification.

While a single weather event cannot be directly linked to global warming, the trends of weather over time clearly point to a changing climate.

20 of the warmest ever years recorded have been since 1997. The Met Office found that the UK is 30 times more likely to experience heatwaves compared to the year 1750, due to increased greenhouse gasses.

But despite knowing that 71% of all greenhouse gasses are from just 100 companies, the Tory government continues to put the blame on working-class people. As we enter the school holidays, the Environmental Audit Committee is launching an inquiry into tourism and its contribution to climate change.

But workers wanting to enjoy a holiday with their families are not to blame. Rather, multibillion-dollar companies, which continue to put profit ahead of the needs of the planet and workers, are.

For example, Carnival operates cruise ships out of Southampton and made $3 billion in profit last year. They have repeatedly refused to take measures to clean up their practices, despite receiving hefty fines.

Their ships emit ten times more sulphur than all of Europe's 260 million cars. They are unwilling to dip into their profits to convert their cruise ships to mains electricity, and so leave their dirty fuel-guzzling engines on 24 hours a day while in port, contributing to the air pollution crisis in Southampton.

At a protest outside Carnival HQ on 27 July, one protester pointed out the hypocrisy that "outside schools we see signs telling us to turn our car engines off to protect our kids' lungs, but massive polluters like Carnival can leave theirs on all day?"

Unless steps are taken to drastically reduce global emissions and halt global warming, extreme weather events like July's heatwave will become more frequent. The answer to the problems of extreme weather, and the rising emissions causing it, is socialist change.

If the transport industry was under workers' control, the profits currently being hoarded away by bosses could be directed towards investing in a greener and more resilient transport network.

In the meantime, it is essential for workers, residents and environment campaigners to join together to fight corporate giants like Carnival whose drive for profit at any cost is destroying workers lives and our planet.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 31 July 2019:


What we think

Boris, Brexit and British capitalism

CWI refounded with determination and confidence


Special feature

"The longest, darkest days of my life": fighting Universal Credit


Socialist Party news and analysis

Build a working-class movement to force an election

Labour promises to end council privatisation: councils must do that now!

Tories look in wrong place for climate solutions

Lib Dems: little bosses' party elects eager pro-austerity leader

Aristocrats are rich after all... and getting richer


International socialist news and analysis

Mass movement topples governor of Puerto Rico

Hong Kong: the struggle for democratic rights escalates


Workplace news and analysis

Lobby the TUC for workers' action to defeat Johnson

Northern Ireland: Harland and Wolff shipyard workers enter occupation

"Enough is enough": 20,000 Northern Ireland civil servants strike against pay restraint

Plymouth posties deliver defiant message to bullying bosses

"BEIS: stop pISSing about and give outsourcing the boot!"

Hackney transport strike - blockade foils employers

Sainsbury's distribution workers' second 24-hour strike against cuts to sick pay

Nottingham Deliveroo riders strike against unfair algorithm

Bromley library workers strike against running down


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Enfield: 100% council homes at Meridian Water!

Walthamstow shopping centre fire: people's plan - not disaster capitalism

Tolpuddle festival 2019: socialist policies to end Tory rule and austerity

Barking: campaigning over housing safety

July climate strikes: link up with the workers' movement

Ilford: parents and teachers unite against school cuts

Boris Johnson 'coronation' - demos say: boot him out!

The Socialist Party has moved!


Opinion

The Socialist inbox

Huge workload, low pay and unpaid hours - a day in the life of a teaching assistant


 

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Related links:

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Southampton:

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Global warming:

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