The world is facing a climate emergency. Most Australians continue to demand strong action on climate change but the Rudd government has failed to respond quickly and adequately. The Liberal opposition has swung to the right and installed a leadership team of climate sceptics.
In 2009, the first grassroots climate summit was held in January, followed by successful national climate emergency rallies in June, the protests at Hazelwood, Victoria in September and at Helensburgh, NSW in October and a mass sit-in at Parliament House in November. There were numerous local actions in response to the Copenhagen talks in December as well as Walk Against Warming in every city.
To win this battle for the future a powerful people’s movement — undoubtedly the greatest ever seen — will need to be organised to confront the vested interests who resist any serious change. This movement for a sustainable environment will also have to be a great movement of solidarity with the people of the global South.
That the Socialist Alliance continues to work with local climate groups to build the grassroots climate movement and mobilise people against climate change in 2010.
The Rudd government has proposed the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) as the government’s key response to climate change. It is a flawed scheme that will give billions of dollars to polluters, while allowing for carbon emissions to continue rising. Despite being rejected twice in 2009, this legislation will be put to the parliament again in early 2010.
That the Socialist Alliance continues to oppose the CPRS, or any other emissions trading scheme for Australia, because such schemes delay the structural changes urgently needed to de-carbonise the economy.
In early 2009, the Copenhagen conference was presented as the last chance to stop runaway climate change and as having a good chance at securing a strong international deal. The reality is that the rich nations used the talks to greenwash business-as- usual and legitimise their weak targets.
In 2010 we will need continue to campaign for strong cuts to emissions in Australia, while agitating for a fair deal for poorer nations.
2010 is an election year and we will need to work with climate activists in organising a united and organised national campaigning approach to the federal elections.
In March the second national climate summit will be held. This will be an opportunity for the various groups and activists that make up the climate movement to discuss future strategies in the aftermath of Copenhagen and the looming federal elections.
That the Socialist Alliance supports the 2010 climate summit and will provide full support in order to to make it a success.
The planet is perilously close to reaching key climate tipping points. If these points are crossed then natural feedback loops will begin to warm the planet further and faster. Radical changes are needed to implement renewable energy and introduce sustainable food production if disaster is to be averted. Stark choices about our priorities will have to be made. The idea that the climate crisis can be solved by technological fixes and market mechanisms is a dangerous illusion.
No half-measures or compromises will be enough in this instance. The laws of chemistry, physics and biology cannot be bargained with or bought off. Either we rapidly reorganise our society so we live in harmony with Nature or we sacrifice a safe climate future.
The environmental policies we need cannot be imposed on the people. Instead, people have to mobilise to confront climate change and environmental decay themselves. To be successful, the movement’s politics must develop to the point where it recognises the fight for a safe climate is also a fight to create an alternative system based on social and ecological justice.
The fundamental enemy of global sustainability is capitalism’s production for private profit. Capitalism cannot survive without constantly regenerating an anti-environmental and consumerist ethic, without constantly expanding beyond natural limits and without deepening the destructive rift between human society and the natural world.
That in its campaigning work, the Socialist Alliance continues to advocate fundamental social change as a necessary answer to the threat of climate change.