Socialist Worker

Hot air at climate summit

Issue No. 1723

Hot air at climate summit

Capitalism will cost us the earth

BIG BUSINESS is wrecking the planet in its pursuit of profit. And world leaders in hock to the giant corporations are blocking any real action to stop it. That is the stark reality behind this week's climate change conference in The Hague in Holland. The US and the global corporations are the worst culprits in the growing threat of climate disaster.

The US accounts for a quarter of all global emissions of carbon dioxide, the gas mainly responsible for the greenhouse effect behind global warming. Whoever wins the US president elections will ensure nothing is done after the Hague conference to stop their big business backers threatening climate disaster.

For over a decade world leaders have gathered at conferences like these. They have been forced by the weight of scientific evidence to recognise the reality of global warming. They have repeatedly pledged action. Yet global carbon dioxide emissions are still rising.

US emissions alone have grown by more than 12 percent since the first 1992 climate deal and have been growing by an annual 1.3 percent rate in the last three years since the 1997 Kyoto climate agreement. The US Senate voted in 1997 to effectively enshrine in law a refusal to ratify ANY climate change treaties.

Chancellor Gordon Brown refused to tax the oil companies in last week's pre-budget statement. The money that could have been raised would fund public transport, cutting car and lorry use to really begin to slash greenhouse gas emissions.

No one can now seriously doubt the threat of global warming. The five warmest global average temperatures for 1,000 years have been in the last decade. And the last year has seen a record number of the "extreme weather" events across the world.

Some oil companies, like BP, have now decided to talk "green". But BP is selling more petrol than ever and plans its biggest ever expansion of oil production. The result will be still more carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere If we want to stop climate disaster we need a fight to challenge the whole system where profit comes before people and the future of the planet we depend on.

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Sat 18 Nov 2000, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1723
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