Climate of change
Green New Deal (see page 36) is a necessary shift away from the debilitating positioning of ‘environment or jobs’.
Following the declaration of a climate emergency in Westminster must be a new internationalist approach that recognises the inequalities of climate breakdown and its root causes. Countries in the global north that make up the richest 10 per cent of people are responsible for approximately 50 per cent of emissions yet are mostly shielded from the effects. For many of the poorest 50 per cent – who are only responsible for 10 per cent of emissions – climate breakdown is already a devastating feature of life.
JAKE WOODIER, climate striker
In May, in the wake of the school climate strikes and Extinction Rebellion’s central London protests, the Labour Party forced a House of Commons vote to declare an environmental and climate emergency. This followed similar moves by both the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly. The UK Student Climate Network’s emergent YouthStrike4Climate mobilisations and Extinction Rebellion’s actions have put sustained pressure on those in power to recognise the severity of the climate crisis. The organisations are among many working tirelessly to put climate at the top of the political agenda.
never been more evident that capitalism and climate justice cannot operate together.
A climate emergency alone isn’t enough. We need bold and courageous climate action that centres social and economic justice. We need a mass movement – built from the ground up – that centres
A new approach means not only eliminating emissions rapidly but addressing the reality the climate crisis is founded upon – colonialism,
We’ve seen the power of grassroots, distributed organising neoliberalism and relentless extraction of resources (see page 38). Alongside rapid emissions reductions, the UK and others in the global
The declaration of a climate emergency is undeniably a positive first step that should be welcomed by climate campaigners, and gives climate change the focus it must continue to occupy in our legislative chamber. This has only been made possible because of fresh, direct and energetic grassroots climate activism that has inspired many to action and drawn widespread attention.
We must continue organising and pressuring those in positions of power to take the necessary actions grounded in climate justice. To adequately address the climate crisis, we need a radical and transformative approach that casts aside our current economic obsession with profit-seeking and growth at all costs. It’s perhaps the voices of those most affected by the climate crisis and the transition to a zero-emissions future. We need to fight for a radical Green New Deal that achieves the necessary emissions reductions at a scale befitting the crisis. This would necessitate a much higher level of ambition than currently seen in much of mainstream politics.
We’ve seen the power of grassroots, distributed organising that has made recent climate activism so successful in such a short period of time. Such power and energy needs to be harnessed to work alongside those in frontline communities, marginalised groups and workers in today’s high emissions sectors to demand a healthy and liveable planet that works for all. The potential of a north have an obligation to provide meaningful and drastically increased support to countries in the south to transition their economies. This support must ensure those most affected by climate breakdown can adapt, while also ensuring access to renewable technologies.
We should be under no illusions that the fight to address the climate crisis will require deep and concerted organising. Victories for the people must be fought for by the people. Climate justice necessitates radical changes to our societies and economies that won’t simply be handed over without resistance from those who benefit most. We must continue building the vehicles of change needed to rebalance power to ensure those who are most affected don’t bear the cost.
66 RED PEPPER Summer 2019