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From: The Socialist issue 933, 25 January 2017: Organise to beat Trumpism, austerity and capitalism

Search site for keywords: Environment - Profit - Planning - London - Energy - Green - Transport - Manufacturing - Nationalise - Volkswagen - BP - Climate change - Big business - Oil

2016 hottest year on record, air poisonous

Only socialist planning can end profit-driven pollution

Energy companies emit vast amounts of greenhouse gasses

Energy companies emit vast amounts of greenhouse gasses   (Click to enlarge)

Aaron Smith, Bristol South Socialist Party

There is strong evidence that 2016 was the hottest year on record from US space agency Nasa. Meanwhile, in 2017, part of London breached EU limits on annual hours of toxic air in just five days.

The Earth is now, on average, 1.1C warmer than when records began in 1880. Such warming is apparent in the ever decreasing Arctic sea ice, which could be ice-free in summer in as little as five years.

This dramatic change is largely due to the vast amounts of greenhouse gases generated by human activities such as manufacturing, agriculture and energy production. Under capitalism, only profit matters.

The super-rich and their politicians - while pretending to care about the environment, and holding annual climate conferences - continue business as usual.

Recent years have seen the Volkswagen emission cover-up scandal, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and the nuclear disaster at Fukushima.

At the time of writing, London's mayor has issued a "very high" air pollution alert, advising even the physically fit to take precautions!

Despite how serious the problem is, big business has little interest in an effective response to climate change and pollution, as it's just not profitable.

A socialist government would nationalise the big polluters, as well as transport and energy, and the top corporations, under democratic workers' control and management. Then we could invest in green technologies and infrastructure to finally deal with humanity's greatest challenge yet.

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.

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Article dated 25 January 2017

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