“China overtakes the US in carbon dioxide emissions,” ran the headlines last week after a Dutch environmental agency released a report placing China as the world’s number one producer of greenhouse gases.
In fact China’s pollution is less than a quarter of that of the US once the population of the countries is taken into account. Each year China emits around 4,800 kilograms of carbon dioxide per person, as compared to 19,300 kilograms in the US.
This isn’t numerical pedantry. The political elite in the US uses the excuse of China’s emissions to drag its feet on doing anything serious to combat climate change.
At the recent G8 summit, George Bush refused to support binding limits on the US’s greenhouse emissions, citing China’s environmental failings as his excuse.
The hypocrisy here is compounded by the fact that many of China’s worst polluting companies are owned by Western businessmen getting rich by exploiting cheap Chinese labour.
Blaming China won’t wash. It is Western companies that bear the most responsibility for climate change and it is the duty of Western governments to bring them to heel.
Israelis evict hope
When the Islamist group Hamas took control over the Gaza Strip earlier this month, Israel and its allies said they would show how life would be better for the Palestinians living in the West Bank under the “moderate” Fatah group.
But the Palestinians have been shown how life under occupation is “business as usual” whether they live in Gaza, the West Bank, or Israel itself. Israelis this week evicted Bedouin families in the Negev from their “illegal” villages to make way for new Israeli settlements.
Meanwhile Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas was summoned to a “summit” in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
He will not be allowed to raise any of the “substantive issues” concerning the future of Palestine at the talks.
Instead he will be told that he must quash any attempt at reconciliation with Hamas.
If there is one lesson from Palestinian history it is that all the negotiations, international summits and compromises have not delivered one inch of land. This week we have been reminded just how true this lesson is.
His failed project
The lies and the blood finally caught up with Tony Blair this week as he made his painfully protracted exit from office – driven out of Downing Street by the anti-war feeling.
He came to power ten years ago claiming to champion a new political philosophy that would put an end to class struggle. In fact the “Third Way” was very much a class project – Blair has worked tirelessly to make the rich and powerful even more rich and powerful.
And the working class, which Blair and his circle tried to write off as a political force, is still here and still fighting – as this week’s national postal strike shows.
New Labour’s neoliberal project is already politically discredited in the eyes of millions. By using our collective power as a working class, we can finally kill it off.