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Letters—Now the climate change horrors are coming home

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Issue 2764
Firefighter works to put out wildfires in the US.
Firefighter works to put out wildfires in the US.

The horrific effects of climate change have been growing for years.

Maybe now it is obviously taking place in the United States and Europe more of us will have to take notice.

The most callous people at the top might have consoled themselves that it would only be the poor of the Global South who suffered from environmental collapse.

But now it’s everywhere, and getting worse.

Last week severe flooding in Germany and Belgium left at least 100 people dead, with dozens of others missing.

Swift-moving water from swollen rivers surged through cities and villages in three western German states.

In Belgium the regional authorities ordered the nearly 200,000 inhabitants of Liege to evacuate the city.

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The storms and resulting high water also battered Switzerland and the Netherlands.

It’s the worse flooding for decades, and is clearly linked to the extreme weather patterns that are caused by climate change.

Yet nobody is taking real action.

Instead, we have terrifying revelations such as the fact that the Amazon rainforest is now emitting more carbon dioxide than it is able to absorb.

It’s putting out a billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, when previously it had been a carbon sink. What had been reducing the climate crisis before is now speeding it up.

Most of the emissions are caused by fires, many deliberately set to clear land for soy and beef production.

That’s encouraged by the Jair Bolsonaro government. But he is not the only one.

I blame all the leaders of the G7 who gathered recently in Britain.

During the pandemic there has been a loss of momentum over climate mobilisations.

Now it’s time to get back on to the streets, because if we don’t then we don’t have a future.

Sheila Atkinson


Keep up battle for safe cranes

Campaigners recently held a silent vigil for June Harvey. She was killed when a 20-metre crane crashed through the roof of her house on 8 July last year.

Twelve months on, the family whose lives have been turned upside down still have no idea of what went wrong.

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The Construction Safety Campaign has campaigned for 25 years for better crane safety and for 15 years with the Battersea Crane Disaster Action Group.

In Battersea, in 2006, crane driver, Jonathan Cloke and a member of the public, Michael Alexa were killed when a crane collapsed. Shamefully, it took ten years for the case to come to court.

Concerted campaigning by these groups led to new legislation in 2010. The registration of cranes was then law.

But prime minister David Cameron and the Conservative Government scrapped the law in 2013.

Cameron referred to his desire to “kill off health and safety culture for good.”

A one-third funding cut to the Health and Safety Executive led to fewer safety inspections, enforcements and prosecutions.

Since 2000 there have been deaths or serious injuries due to crane collapses in Canary Wharf, Worthing, Liverpool, Croydon, Forset Hill, Blackwall and in Crewe.

We need a massive improvement in crane safety so that no one else is killed.

C Stoll

Halesowen, West Midlands

Debates about French battle against fascism

the article on France (Socialist Worker, 14 July) was basically right, but gave a strange view of France Insoumise (FI—France in Revolt or France Unbowed).

The huge anti-fascist initiative in over 100 towns last month did not come from nowhere. It was set into motion by the FI.

And in this last year FI leader Jean-Luc Melenchon has been permanently attacked because of his loud defence of Muslims.

Like the rest of the the French left, FI has much progress to make on fighting Islamophobia. But big steps have been taken.

Given that the FI got seven million votes at the 2017 elections, this is important to stress.

John Mullen

Montreuil, France

I am concerned by the possibility of a neo-fascist as French president.

There has to be a single left/green candidate to keep Marine Le Pen out of the second round of voting. It’s time to put differences aside.

Helen McCartney

South London

Rising inflation means action is needed

Workers need to wake up about soaring price rises.

Official figures last week showed that the RPI measure of inflation reached 3.9 percent in June.

This was up a long way from 3.3 percent in May.

The CPI measure that the government prefers also jumped to 2.5 percent.

To be clear, this means that if your pay does not go up by 3 percent or more then you are facing a cut.

That will mean increased hardship for millions of private sector and public sector workers facing pay freezes. I have no doubt that there are many trade union leaders who accept that people are “lucky to have a job” at the moment.

We can expect them to put in a pay claim, do very little to campaign for the action needed to win it, and then blame the members if a rotten deal goes through. Perhaps the first big chance to drive through a pay fight will come in the health service.

But I don’t have much trust in the union leaders to direct that.

In every workplace I think union reps have to start now to explain what rising inflation means.

Speeches about “we won’t pay for the crisis of the pandemic” will be empty if there isn’t pay action.

Barbara Rosman

West London

App is a sign, not a cause

I was surprised to see the Unite union joining bosses’ calls for action to stop “too many” people being sent home from work because they have been in contact with someone who has Covid-19.

Steve Turner, candidate for general secretary, said, “It is not an exaggeration to say factories are on the verge of shutting”. Sorry, that’s because cases are soaring.

The attention should be on demanding safety measures, not on assisting firms to keep people working when it’s dangerous.

Paula Newall


Are identity cards next?

The use of “vaccine certification” is spreading. We will be expected to produce evidence of our jabs if we attend almost any public event.

I support vaccination, but I fear that “produce your papers” is going to become a chance for the government to move towards identity cards by stealth.

Don’t give up even more of our rights.

Alison George


Sir Keir does not know law

Labour leader Keir Starmer has just held a two-day visit to Northern Ireland.

While there he was asked what he would do if he was prime minster and there were a vote on Irish unity.

He said he would campaign for the north to remain because, he says, “I believe in the United Kingdom”.

Doesn’t he know the Good Friday agreement says the state must be neutral in such a vote? Not much of a lawyer.

Len Michaels


Aid cuts are so shameful

The tories are so cruel. The cuts in foreign aid will have terrible consequences for the world’s poorest.

The money saved is just pennies compared to the whole budget.

Henry Lee

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