Socialist Worker

A climate of inaction by politicians over the planet

Issue No. 2652

Tory environment secretary Michael Gove refused to declare a climate emergency this week

Tory environment secretary Michael Gove refused to declare a climate emergency this week (Pic: Scottish Government/Flickr)


After a week of protests during the “International Rebellion” for climate change, political leaders have agreed to talks with the Extinction Rebellion (XR) direct action group.

XR representatives met with environment secretary Michael Gove, shadow chancellor John McDonnell and mayor of London Sadiq Khan in separate talks this week.

Mass action by ordinary people has forced top politicians round the table. But anyone wanting urgent action on climate change should be careful about celebrating too quickly.

Some people believe the existing capitalist state can be used to tackle ecological catastrophe,

But people at the heart of that machine, such as Gove, are the enemies of meaningful change.

Gove has voted against carbon emission targets for new homes and cars—and for selling off publicly owned forests.

The problem isn’t just that Gove is personally unwilling to act. The capitalist system he represents is unwilling and unable to make the transformative changes required.

The strength of the movement has forced the government to acknowledge it—but talks with those at the centre of political office must not mean the energy on the streets dissipates.

Capitalism has caused the climate crisis. And establishment politicians will fight to maintain this system at all costs to human life and the health of the planet.


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