A draft of a new UN report on climate was leaked and it shows devastating climate impact: decreased grain production, rising sea levels, devastating heat waves, torrential rain and other climate extremes are already being felt. Another report indicates the world’s two largest ice sheets are melting faster than ever. Despite alarms from scientists for decades, political actions are inadequate.
Political leadership of the last two decades will go down in history as failing to face reality and put in place effective policy. The first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report (IPCC) was issued in 1988. Since the 1997 Kyoto Climate Summit, we have emitted as much carbon dioxide as was emitted in the prior 236 years. Because of the impact of short-term pollutants like methane gas (aka ‘natural’ gas) government policy may actually be making climate change worse, than if nothing had been at all.
But climate change activists also need to take some responsibility. It is not enough to stop the northern portion of the KXL pipeline, already the southern portion and existing pipelines are enough to bring Alberta Tar Sands to the Gulf; and now Enbridge has found a way to go forward without getting approval from the Obama administration. We need to be more clear and aggressive, e.g. when it comes to tar sands, the excavation needs to be stopped in Alberta, Utah and Alabama.
The People’s Climate March is less than a month away on September 21 and other plans are developing around the march. A big weekend march does not change policy. We need to be clear in understanding the issues and putting forth demands – as a united movement because climate connects us all – that will actually solve the problem. Those are the goals of the Climate Convergence on September 19 and 20. There will also be direct actions at the UN Climate Summit. People need to understand the deep corruption at the UN, which is allied with corporate interests and dominated by the United States. Join the Popular Resistance contingent in the Climate Convergence hub of the march where we will call out the corruption and the need for a people-powered movement to take action.
The climate movement also needs to look honestly at some big green environmental groups that continue to take money from climate polluters like fracking corporations and then use their reputations to advocate for them. These groups are not allies of climate justice but allied to their self-preservation at the cost of the planet. At the same time, those in the anti-fracking movement need to be welcomed as part of the solution because they advocate a ban on fracking, not its regulation.
The climate justice battle is part of corporate challenges on many fronts. For example the ongoing attack on water in Detroit, where people are fighting back; or in Baltimore where a corporation is moving to privatize water. Or, the ongoing effort to push the most expensive energy source, nuclear, where horrible environmental impacts are not recognized, as in this effort in Australia where they want to dump nuclear waste on Indigenous land. Or, in the United States where Fukushima’s are waiting to happen because of earthquake faults near nuclear plants or the poorly designed General Electric plants like the ones that failed in Japan.
Rather than the destructive ‘all of the above’ energy strategy of the Obama administration, the US needs to urgently move toward a carbon-free, nuclear-free energy economy. There is a solar revolution underway despite lousy government policy, but it needs to advance much more quickly. The oil first strategy of Obama creates additional problems as in oil trains being more important than food trains, so food rots.