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Cop26: it's socialism or extinction

The Young Communist League argues there is no point in trying to fight climate change without fighting capitalism itself: big business, corporate monopolies and shameless polluters are our enemy, not part of the solution

COP26 has been billed as one of the last chances to save the planet and humanity as we know it. For nearly 30 years these meetings have brought together world leaders to discuss and debate the best way forward, yet little has changed in that time.

In fact, since the first meeting held in Berlin in 1995, global CO2 emissions have increased by 56 per cent. The imperialist world’s governments are paying this crisis nothing but lip service, rolling over to let the monopolies and big business that they represent in fossil fuels, agribusiness, manufacturing and finance run rampant across the globe. Politicians are still desperate to cling to the economic system that created this crisis.

This week we have seen the representatives of right-wing governments gather to express warm words and pledges in order to protect the capitalist system, with keynote speeches from some of the biggest polluters on the planet including BP and Amazon.

These huge monopolies do not represent us and we cannot allow them to pressure governments into enabling and promoting the same privatised market solutions to climate change that have already failed for decades.

Right-wing governments and these monopolies cynically present the challenge facing humanity as one of “changing consumer choices and habits.” This completely ignores and obscures the fact that, like all things in our society and its development, production and consumption are rigidly dictated by the monopolies and banks that control the global economy and the governments which serve their interests — all for short-term financial profit.

The continuing role of imperialism cannot be ignored. We are so often told that we are all in this together — but we are not. We are not equally responsible for this mess and we do not equally share the risks of devastation.

Yet we are all told that we all must make adjustments. This week, Scotland’s skies have been filled with the private jets of the elite. We have even seen politicians travelling in jets from Prestwick to Glasgow, a journey well served by a direct train link that takes less than 45 minutes.

More than ever, the inequality capitalism has created on this Earth has been made starkly clear. While the richest nations make their own plans for net-zero, many developing nations are being left in the lurch, not offered the breathing space required for their own development.

All the while, Western imperialist countries outsource their production abroad whilst attempting to shift the blame towards China and other countries with mass exports.

The media’s relentless anti-China sentiment has continued and increased this week with renewed attention on Chinese emissions, despite the fact that China is by far the largest investor, producer and consumer of renewable energy. Its CO2 emissions per capita barely place it in the top 50 polluting countries globally.

Of course, it must do more and the Chinese government has recently published its plans for net zero. However, the ramping up of hostility, pointing to a new Cold War cannot be allowed to continue. Nor can we allow smaller and developing nations to be left behind and forced to remain underdeveloped in the interests of the already industrialised Western countries.

We cannot stand idly by while politicians seek to divide us, demanding individual responses to what is the crucial systemic problem of this age. We say no more! We do not have time to wait and we cannot allow our leaders to kick the can down the road to 2030 or even 2050.

Capitalism, a system which is only capable of serving the interest of the banks and monopolies and the suicidal drive for ever increasing short-term profit at any cost, has proven itself unwilling and unable to handle the impending catastrophe which it has created.

It will never be in the interest of big business or the capitalist governments which it controls to discipline the major carbon emitters or implement the radical change needed to save the planet and humanity. Only a system with absolute democratic control over industry, a socialist system, is capable of tackling climate change head on. So we say: the choice is clear — socialism or extinction!

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