Our rulers are using the global recession as an excuse to cut back on measures to tackle climate change.
So Franco Frattini, Italy’s foreign minister, demanded “flexibility” on the European Union’s target to cut carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2020 last week, arguing that it is not affordable.
Britain’s first ever climate change bill is the latest sign of the spinelessness of New Labour. For example, it looks likely that it will allow the aviation and shipping industries to adopt “voluntary” targets on emissions cuts rather than impose compulsory ones.
And although the bill increases Britain’s target for cutting carbon emissions, New Labour’s policies on energy and airport expansion make this target unattainable.
Climate change is already wreaking havoc on the world’s poorest people – with more than 150,000 estimated deaths as a result of climate change every year – and the response of those who defend capitalism is to tell us they can’t afford to do anything about it.
There can be no bigger indictment of the system than the fact that it will allow the planet to be destroyed just to protect profits. And there can be no clearer expression of why we need to fight for a system that puts people before profit.