Environment

“The ocean is rising, and we are too.” Climate change is no longer a thing of the future. Already, hurricanes are becoming more powerful, forests are burning, people are dying from heat waves, drought, floods, and famine. Such extreme weather events are quickly becoming the rule, not the exception.

The oceans are polluted by plastic and chemical waste, killing off fish and other marine life. Underground water supplies are drained or polluted, leading to a widespread scarcity of this most essential of resources. Every year, species are becoming extinct through the senseless destruction of ecosystems.

Immediate action is needed. A massive reduction in emissions and pollution levels is essential. And large-scale mitigation measures must be taken, such as the construction of flood defences and reforestation. But the capitalists and their political representatives are completely incapable of carrying out the radical changes that are required.

— From IMT statement: capitalism is killing the planet – we need a revolution!

Karl Marx once remarked that history repeats itself “the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.” For the first two weeks of November, history repeated itself for the 26th time, as the world’s so-called leaders met in Glasgow and decided to do more-or-less nothing to deal with the climate crisis.

COP26 - the latest UN Climate Change Conference - began last Sunday in Glasgow. Politicians from across the world, along with business leaders, will be holding two weeks of negotiations, panel discussions and press conferences on the question of climate change. But, far from saving us, capitalism is killing the planet. We need a revolution.

On Sunday 31 October, negotiations will officially open for COP26, the latest UN Climate Change Conference. Hosted in Glasgow, Boris Johnson will welcome heads of state from around the world to commence two weeks of negotiations, panel-discussions, and press-conferences. Business leaders will also be present to present their ideas on tackling climate change.

In the face of the pandemic, the environmental crisis has been somewhat overshadowed. Its impact, however, rages on. We are now reaping the consequences of climate change with extreme weather conditions becoming increasingly common. This year, in particular, ominous droughts have impacted regions spread all over the world.

Our US website received the following letter from one of our comrades in New Orleans who is experiencing first-hand the devastation in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. Ida’s fury once again exposed the lack of preparedness and planning that is inherent in private ownership of the means of production.

The immense destruction caused by the wildfires in Varybobi, Evia and dozens of other areas of Greece is not solely due to the winds, high temperatures and climate change, as the ND government and the bourgeois media claim. The real cause of this catastrophe is the reactionary policies and the criminal indifference of the Greek ruling class.

An unprecedented heat wave has struck western North America. Thousands have died and infrastructure has buckled under the record temperatures set in all regions. The extreme heat has also led to an ecological disaster with upwards of 1 billion maritime animals perishing. But this did not have to happen. The blind profiteering of the capitalist system has created the climate crisis and has completely disarmed us in the face of its effects. 

Capitalism has set yet another bleak record in 2020. There are now more than 55 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) around the world. That is, people who have been forced to flee their homes while remaining in their own country. This is twice as many as the already terribly high number of international refugees (26 million). The total number of displaced persons exceeds the population of France. The COVID-19 pandemic is one cause of the ballooning numbers, although it is far from being the only one.

California, the breadbasket of the United States, is facing devastation as a centuries-long drought cycle coincides with the ongoing effects of man-made climate change. Rather than mitigating the catastrophe through rational planning, the short-term profiteering of capitalism – and agribusiness in particular – threatens to create an even greater catastrophe. It will be workers, in California and far beyond, who will be made to pay. It has never been clearer that if our planet is to remain habitable for human beings, capitalism must die.

Swathes of the USA have been hit with devastating wildfires: a tragic consequence of climate change and capitalist negligence. With people on the West Coast having already faced COVID-19, multiple disasters are being piled one on top of another.

Environmental crises are causing death, destruction and deprivation on a colossal scale in India. The capitalist system is directly to blame for this catastrophe, which dwarfs even the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On 25 April 2020, in the midst of the coronavirus lockdown, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GMC) met to debate a project involving an industrial-size, open-pit gold mine in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. The name of the project is Espérance, French for “hope” – hope for whom, one might ask? Despite opposition from environmentalist organisations and local Indigenous peoples, the project was approved.

Rinat Akhmetchin, the Mayor of Norilsk, an industrial city in Russia, has been charged with negligence following a catastrophic oil spill from a local power plant. The spill has been ongoing since 29 May, with over 20,000 tonnes of diesel seeping into the surrounding soil and waterways. On 4 June, the Kremlin issued a state of emergency in Norilsk. The city is situated in Siberia, inside the Arctic Circle, where the local ecology is already severely disturbed due to some extremely worrying symptoms of climate change: a product of the irrational, rotten capitalist system, which is placing the planet in peril.