Socialist Worker

Big business to blame for climate chaos

Issue No. 2001

A single British company produced more carbon dioxide last year than all of Croatia. Eon UK, which owns Powergen, is Britain’s biggest corporate emitter of greenhouse gases. Last year it produced 27 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Eon is far from unique. A report published this week in the Guardian measured the emissions of Britain’s biggest polluters – all of which are covered by the European Union’s carbon tariffs. It showed that Britain’s biggest companies produced 32 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over their allowances.

The media typically focuses on our “individual responsibility” to save the environment. But the real responsibility lies with big business – and a government that puts corporate interests first.

Unless business is forced to cut its emissions, individual actions will make little difference. A mere 1 percent efficiency increase at the Drax power station would cut carbon emissions equivalent to those of 21,000 households.

We must reject the idea that the market can solve this problem and fight for strict emissions regulations, renewable energy and decent public transport. Campaign Against Climate Change’s conference on 3 June is a chance for activists to discuss how to make a difference.

Muslims in Britain

The smokescreen of ‘community cohesion’

New Labour education minister Bill Rammell turned his attention to the problem of “community cohesion” this week. It soon became clear who was going to be blamed.

In a short speech Rammell mentioned “Muslim” or “Muslims” 74 times, arguing that “there are weaknesses in the way young Muslims are educated about what their faith really requires”. His message to Muslims was clear – integrate on “our” terms, or be labelled as “extremist” and suffer the consequences.

Yet a recent report commissioned by the government found that Muslims have “the highest male unemployment rate, the highest incidence of overcrowding and are most likely to live in deprived localities”.

Muslims face rising Islamophobia while also lying near the bottom of the table on every social indicator.

In these circumstances, Respect can be proud of its role in drawing together Muslims and non-Muslims into radical struggle against both social inequality and racist scapegoating.

Civil rights

Wounded Blair plays the law’n’order card

In a bizarre response to the government’s crisis, Labour has decided on yet more attacks on our rights. Tony Blair has called for a “profound rebalancing of the civil liberties debate”.

In fact what the government wants is not a “rebalancing” but a systematic assault on our civil rights.

Under the cover of the “war on terror”, police have been given shoot-to-kill powers, while cabinet ministers can now declare a state of emergency and suspend parliament.

Now Blair wants to scrap the one, somewhat ineffectual, civil liberties law that Labour has introduced – the Human Rights Act. Weak, wounded and vicious, he is using the “law and order” card to hit out at us all.

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What We Think
Sat 20 May 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 2001
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