The Young Communist League welcomes the sixth report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, published on 7th August.
The report reaffirms our understanding that human activity is very likely to have caused an increase in extreme weather events since at least the 1950s. Globally we now witness a higher frequency of droughts and floods; and these events have become more intense. Since 1884, the top ten warmest years on record in Britain have all occurred between 2002 and 2021. There was another heatwave this summer, along with storms and floods in London. This latest IPCC report gives nothing more than a straightforward observation of what has already happened.
The report estimates that at the current rate global temperature will rise above the baseline 19th Century average by 1.5°C within the next two decades. The 1.5°C figure is the turnaround limit targeted by the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, with the IPCC suggesting that 2°C would be a tipping point.
Habitable conditions on our planet are now subject to an uncertain time limit, a sense of urgency echoes through the various declarations of a climate emergency. Tipping points are worrying, yet it would be unhelpful to resign ourselves to the coming apocalypse. It needs to be qualified that the future is still ours to determine.
It is true that capitalism pollutes the air, poisons the rivers, and fells the forests; but while capitalist society is capable of wrecking our environment, we are just as capable of mending it. We can still change course. A socialist society offers to all people a future of environmental harmony, where relations of production do not disrupt the relationship between humanity and nature.
In February this year, the sunny US state of Texas was hit by winter storms and its power grid collapsed. Hundreds of people froze to death in their homes, they were let down by a privatised and deregulated energy sector. It serves as an important lesson for a country full of smart thermostats and badly insulated homes. “Green” capitalism and “capitalism in space” will not save you.
The YCL will be supporting broad action around the COP26 summit in Glasgow in November. We will be there to swell the ranks of the green and progressive movement, demanding British corporations be held to account for their role in this deadly crisis and demanding action.