Socialist Worker

Rulers delay real climate action while scientists warn of global devastation

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2730

On the strikes for the climate last year

On the strikes for the climate last year (Pic: Guy Smallman)


The horrific effects of catastrophic climate change become clearer by the day.

But governments across the world—led by the Tories —are dragging their heels over taking serious action.

Glasgow was due to be a centre of climate activism this month as the United Nations Cop26 negotiations were meant to take place in the city. 

The key climate summit, which was due to examine how countries had implemented plans laid out five years ago, was called off due to the pandemic. 

But Boris Johnson’s government has washed its hands of delivering any sort of interim negotiations.

It effectively kicked Cop26 into the long grass, and delayed it until at least November 2021.

Alok Sharma is the secretary of the Business Energy and Industrial Strategy department and the Tory-appointed Cop26 president. 

He claims that, “The clock is ticking on climate action.” 

But the Cop26 organising body has refused to set up any sort of online conference. 

It’s clear there is no time to lose—2020 has been a year of ecological disaster. 

It began with record-breaking bushfires that raged through large parts of Australia for months on end.

Climate talks crash as world leaders fail to set new targets
Climate talks crash as world leaders fail to set new targets
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Now further evidence is emerging that soaring temperatures are impacting life in the Arctic Ocean.

Scientists think that frozen methane deposits in the ocean have begun to be released off the east Siberian coast. 

If the process has begun and frozen methane deposits are released in the Arctic, it’s likely to speed up global ­heating.

It could then create a chain reaction of climate devastation. 

The United States Geological Survey said a release of frozen methane and other gases was one of the four most devastating scenarios of climate catastrophe. 

This doesn’t come out of nowhere. 

The temperatures in Siberia are rising fast. 

They were 5 degrees higher from January to June this year compared to the average for 1981-2010. 

The effects of a rapidly heating world can be seen in one of the coldest places on Earth. 

Dramatic

Ice is melting faster and taking longer to form because of the dramatic changes in temperature.

Activists in Scotland are organising an online “Global Gathering” to discuss how to fight for our planet.

The Cop 26 Coalition said the gathering was an opportunity for “climate justice movements to build momentum and capacity and to connect to broader civil society to build power for system change.”

Workshops will be held on a range of climate issues including indigenous rights, the energy transition, youth climate strikes and a Green New Deal.

The talks at Cop26,whether it’s in-person or online, will have serious limitations. 

The agreement that came out of Paris in 2015 wasn’t legally binding and just committed signatories to attempt to reduce emissions. 

The British government is content to just ignore the climate emergency. 

It risks letting the world burn under the pressure of climate disaster while it pushes for business as usual.

Activists should continue to press for action during the Covid-19 crisis and never let Sharma and his ilk forget the urgency of the climate crisis.


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