After COP26 failure

Youth fight for well-paid green jobs and socialist change

Photo: Paul Mattsson

Photo: Paul Mattsson

Lluis Bertolin, Birmingham south west Socialist Party

An agreement has been reached by the world’s capitalist leaders at COP26. An agreement that does not take the measures needed to halt catastrophic climate change.

Based on nations’ actual policies and measures, not their ‘goals’, global heating is set to reach 2.7C. At the beginning of the summit, world leaders said they hoped to agree to limit capitalism’s heating effect to 1.5C. The consequences, without radical change, will be disastrous for millions of workers and poor.

After all the empty words and promises in Glasgow, the leaders of the world are travelling back to their countries to kiss the hands of polluting businesses and corporations. A promise of a cosy post at the corporation’s administration council, or of some nice handsomely rewarded speaker’s fees when they retire, often does the trick in making them forget what they said at these COP meetings. These are the very same corporations that use every trick in their playbook to exploit their employees.

Meanwhile, the future of young people is threatened by brutal shifts in the climate, precarious employment, low pay and unaffordable housing. Youth Fight for Jobs supports the creation of jobs that are well paid and socially useful; that means stable jobs in green industries.

And yet, the direction of this government is the direct opposite of that. They spent billions on furlough paying the employers’ wage bill for them and imposing a 20% cut on workers. The Kickstart scheme is similar, 25 hours a week on minimum wage, paid for by the government, with no job at the end of it. Meanwhile there is a green skills shortage – training for green jobs just isn’t readily available.

Green jobs

Instead of putting up public money to fund underpaid exploitative jobs and apprenticeships, the government could be funding the training of young people for green initiatives such as the creation of new woodland, reforming our heating and energy infrastructure, refurbishing and expanding public transport, or manufacturing parts for electric cars.

We just can’t trust a system that demands profit above all else. Capitalism is unable, and the bosses unwilling, to take effective action to stop climate change. No sweet words at COP26 are going to change the nature of capitalism, even when it threatens to make the Earth unliveable.

To ensure we have a future, it is necessary to bring production and distribution under democratic public control, taking the wealth off the 1% that have profited from stealing our future and damning us to misery. Then the Earth’s resources can be used not for the profits of a select minority, but for the benefit of humanity. There is no capitalism without climate change. Young people must unite and fight for our future, by joining the struggle for socialism.

Come to the sessions on climate change and the environment at Socialism 2021, 20th-21st November 2021.