Montreal conference – Little change on climate change

TONY BLAIR hailed the recent United Nations Montreal conference on
climate change as a "vital next step in tackling climate." Green
pressure group, Friends of the Earth said it was an "historic

Dave Carr

In reality, little progress was made on the previously adopted and
deeply flawed Kyoto protocol, which tried to limit the signatory
countries’ greenhouse gas (GG) emissions (the principle cause of global
warming) up to 2012.

The Montreal agreement is seen as a breakthrough because the world’s
biggest polluter, the USA, (who earlier walked out of the conference)
agreed to take part in ‘non-binding talks on long-term measures to
combat global warming’ ie do nothing!

But the conference failed to take significant measures beyond the
Kyoto protocol.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane levels in the atmosphere are the
highest in 650,000 years because of industrial pollution, deforestation,
mining, etc.

This is causing rapid climate change thereby increasing extreme
weather events, floods, droughts, and species decline, including fish

The 1997 Kyoto agreement set targets of reducing GG emissions by a
mere 5.2% from a 1990 benchmark, despite environmental scientists’
demand for a 60% cut by 2012.

The agreement only covered countries accounting for 61% of global
emissions. The world’s biggest contributor to GG emissions the US,
together with Australia, refused to sign up.

The US produces twice as much greenhouse gases as the second highest
GG producer, China.

Also, the signatories didn’t have to reduce emissions but could
participate in a carbon-trading market with other countries whose
emissions were below their targets.

However, Tony Blair made an electoral commitment to reduce emissions
by 20% by 2012. But CO2 emissions by UK industry and transport have
actually increased. And Blair, responding to lobbying by the
Confederation of British Industry – they say investing in clean
technologies is too expensive – has become lukewarm about Labour’s

Clearly the capitalist class’s interests will veto measures that will
reduce profits from industrial production.

To gain a real grip on climate change will mean fighting to
politically transform this profit system through socialist change.