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We need system change to save the planet

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Issue 2625
Climate change will lead to more unpredictable weather events
Climate change will lead to more unpredictable weather events

If the disaster that climate scientists warned of this week is to be avoided, there needs to be radical action.

A report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) called for urgent moves to tackle global warning.

It said global temperature rises must be limited to no more than 1.5 degrees higher than pre-industrial levels. It said a 2 degree rise would be devastating.

There was a muted response from politicians. Australia’s deputy prime minister Michael McCormack reaffirmed his government’s commitment to mining and exporting coal.

And Donald Trump has long threatened to pull out of climate agreements reached in the Paris talks in 2015.

Tory energy minister Claire Perry said, “We need to work together to accelerate the low-carbon transition to minimise the costs and misery of a rapidly warming world.”

But Perry and the Tories have a terrible track record.

The government has forced through the dangerous and environmentally destructive practice of fracking.

And in June, Tories whipped MPs to vote for plans to expand Heathrow Airport.


It’s welcome that the IPCC has underlined the need for immediate action to challenge the destructive practices that pollute our world.

But there’s a huge danger that the scale of the threat leads to passivity. It can cause a feeling that nothing effective can be done, or that only individual actions are possible.

So within hours of the IPCC report being released, the focus had switched to what ordinary people can do to save the planet.Cycling, going vegan or refusing to use plastic are presented as solutions that, if taken up by enough people, can halt climate catastrophe.

But it will take a mass movement to win the fundamental shift needed to tackle climate change. To avoid passivity, this battle has to lead to action.

And it must be linked to other fights.

There must be thousands on the streets on 1 December at the Together for Climate Justice rally in central London.

But we also need a society where decisions are taken out of the hands of unelected bosses and are put into the hands of workers.

The most effective way to resist climate change is to challenge the system that created it.

Fighting for socialism means working for a democratically run, sustainable society that has the interests of the majority of people at its heart.

Capitalism does not run in the interests of ordinary people. Energy bosses and governments plunging the planet into climate chaos is an extreme example of a system built for profit.

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