Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 51 Number 23, October 23, 2021 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

People Need to Rely on Themselves to
Confront the Crisis of Climate Change

The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, commonly known as COP26 [1], is to be held from October 31 to November 12 at the SEC Centre, Glasgow, having been postponed for a year due to the Covid pandemic. The conference will be presided over by Cabinet Office Minister and former Business Secretary Alok Sharma MP.

COP26 is happening at a time that the destruction of the natural and social environment the havoc that is been created are becoming ever more obvious, and the demand for solutions is growing. People's general interests lie with bringing about a situation where the natural and social environments are in harmony with each other, which means that both are humanised, both the social and natural environments are fit for human beings.

The very being of humanity requires this, at all times; it is both an individual and collective right, a matter of necessity. The demand for the right to a decent environment that caters for human beings and all forms of life on the planet is being expressed in the increasingly vociferous movement, particularly amongst the youth. But in the present more than ever, human productive forces have themselves become a force of nature, crying out to be brought under conscious control. It is precisely this control that is lacking, and the natural environment is suffering the consequences. The colossal productive forces and the world economy of interconnected socialised economies are divided into privately owned competing parts, especially now under the domination of global monopolies and oligopolies that operate outside of states as a law unto themselves.

The actions of these monopolies and oligopolies are fundamentally destructive to the natural and social environment. Under the current state of affairs, the environment and a socialised economy directed to serving competing private interests stand in contradiction, with the environment, both natural and social, there to be plundered to fulfil their aim of maximising profit. The natural and social environment cannot live in harmony without resisting the oligopolies' destruction of the environment and economy.

People require a system of production that works in their favour, to fulfil their cultural and material needs, without resulting in destruction. Humanising and harmonising the natural and social environment requires a complete change in the direction of the economy with this as its aim. As things stand, there is every manner of destruction disrupting the economy as a permanent feature. Most recently, sudden sharp gas price rises are causing serious problems for day to day life and all social programmes such as schools, health and social care.

The problems of the environment cannot be solved without dealing with the question of who decides the direction of, who controls, the economy. This includes its aim, the motive of production. It means bringing control over the productive forces so that the productive forces are not out of control, ending the state of perpetual chaos. It means curtailing the assumed rights of the monopolies and oligopolies, putting bounds on their activities through an effective public authority directed by an empowered population.

Instead, the neo-liberal mantra coming particularly from Britain, the US and other big powers is that people should have no such determining role. Rather, markets are all - markets, which are under the domination of those very oligopolies. The solutions presented are carbon taxes and the creation of carbon markets. In essence, it is to let big business decide.

Protestors outside Scotlands's most polluting power station owned by a COP26 sponsor.

Other solutions promoted are variations on the theme of "Green New Deal" and "Green Revolution". These solutions are geared to solving the ongoing capitalist economic crisis in a manner that provides the oligarchs with new opportunities. A deal is a deal; it is pragmatic economics, a commercial transaction, not a principled plan based upon science, while the scientific and technical revolution is directed to competition.

One commodity that has received much attention is the lithium battery. Scratch the surface, and the ulterior motives are exposed. US imperialism in particular is concerned about gaining a monopoly over the military use of lithium batteries [2]. War and war production have an especially detrimental impact on the natural and social environment, including the economy. The necessity is for an anti-war government that ends the militarisation of the economy, producing only for those aims that serve the interests of the natural and social environment.

US imperialism has its own aims in the present world, stemming from its obsession with reversing its decline so as to continue being the world's "indispensable" power. However, in the present it is the oligopolies rather than nation states that strive for global supremacy, and US imperialism exists in that context, as a vehicle for it, part of which is the integration of the Americas and even Britain into the US war machine. The US is spearheading the notion of a "rules-based international order", as the power that makes and enforces the rules, in place of international law. The US and its partner Britain are attempting to position COP26 in opposition to China and Russia, an attempt to bring into that order or exclude under high ideals. This is the significance of their heads of state not attending the conference. It could be pointed out that China has a nation-building project and a plan, for example, in contrast to US imperialism. For US imperialism, all is destruction. It is the simple imposition of monopoly right. The imperialist countries led by the US are destroying the productive forces: this is what is at the heart of things. Their interest does not lie with developing national economies, but with marauding. If the oligopolies can siphon off wealth through trading in carbon or a Green New Deal, then they will. Otherwise, such schemes will be ditched as worthless.

The bottom line is to reject the imperialist agenda of further plunder under the banner of high ideals. The working class created the huge productive forces and it is they who can bring them under control in favour of nature, society and humanity. People need to rely on themselves to bring human-centred solutions to the problem of climate change.

1. COP26 stands for the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 2. "Canadians Can Only Rely on Themselves to Sort Out Climate Crisis", Renewal Update, September 24, 2021


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