People must fight root cause: Imperialism
Issued by Office of the Chairperson
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
The current unprecedented rise in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere brought about by the wanton pillage of the environment by monopoly capitalism has created an untenable situation for the world’s peoples.
Record levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have been measured by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 2013. At the same time, the highest rate of increase of greenhouse gases has been recorded in the past thirty years. The continuing increase in greenhouse gas production has caused drastic changes in our planet’s climate systems that are now bearing heavily on poor and vulnerable communities in the world.
Global average temperatures have risen by at least 0.85°C in the past 120 years mainly due to the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This has brought upon the world shrinking ice cover, warming oceans, rising sea levels and changes in the global water cycle, adding more hazards to coastal and interior communities alike.
All ecosystems are adversely affected both by extreme weather events and by slow-acting impacts of climate change. Coastal and marine biodiversity is now in peril from increasing temperatures and ocean acidification. Global warming is also affecting terrestrial flora and fauna and directly impacts the production of the world’s primary cereals and grains. Livelihood dependent on fisheries and agriculture are now at high risk.
Major determinants of health such as air quality, fresh water availability, food and shelter are also affected by the changes in the world’s climate. Changes in temperature and environmental conditions strongly affect the spread of vector-borne diseases like malaria and dengue and diseases like diarrhea, thus putting communities in danger, especially women, children and the elderly.
Heat waves, changes in the global water cycle and other extreme weather events have exposed poor communities to increasing vulnerability resulting from these climate-induced hazards. We recall how Katrina tore through the poor sections of the Southern United States in 2005, how millions of people were affected by the massive flooding in Pakistan in 2014, and how millions of people were displaced and devastated by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in the Philippines last year.
The increasing vulnerability of poor and developing countries is a direct result of the intense plunder and exploitation of their natural resources and of the destruction of their economies brought about by neoliberal globalization. Their people already pushed into poverty by these policies are extremely hard put at coping with the increased hazards from climate change.
The impact of global warming within our countries is worse for the poor, especially because they are already reeling from the effects of neoliberal globalization. Existing social and economic inequalities that are based on class, race and gender oppression are being magnified by changes in the climate. We will see more indigenous peoples being driven out of their lands by intensified “development” aggression; more farmers being dispossessed of their lands; and more workers losing their jobs due to worsening economic conditions.
As people challenge and resist these impositions, they are met with state terrorism and imperialist wars. Increasingly we see violent reprisals against social unrest, dissent and resistance all over the world as witnessed in the Philippines, India, Turkey, Syria, Palestine, China, many countries of Africa and Latin America, and even within the imperialist heartland.
On the other hand, the monopoly capitalists continue their attempts to greenwash their moribund system. They tried to reshuffle responsibility in cutting down emissions through false solutions like the “clean development mechanisms” and carbon trading while evading binding commitments in international agreements.
Through the agency of the United Nations, the monopoly capitalists have caused the creation of a Green Climate Fund (GFC) supposedly to address the financing of climate mitigation and adaptation. However, this is nothing but the same financial loans and aid tied to conditionalities that imperialist countries use to promote their economic policies.The GFC is managed by the same World Bank that has a long record of funding environmentally destructive projects all over the world. It has created mechanisms such as the REDD+*that result in more privatization and corporate control of the world’s forests and related resources instead of arresting global warming. (*UN Initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) in Developing Countries)
All of these have failed to curb emissions and halt global warming as their main advocates avoided addressing the root cause of the climate crisis: imperialism.
Imperialism has made underdeveloped countries as major dumping grounds for the wastes of industrial countries. It continues to support the further expansion of the fossil fuel industry such as fracking, arctic and deep sea drilling for new oil and gas sources and the laying down of new pipelines in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. This relentless expansion of non-renewable energy production and consumption goes hand in hand with imperialist military expansionism and aggression that result in gross violations of national sovereignty and people’s rights in the affected areas.
Imperialist countries, especially the US, continue to wage wars of aggression using various pretexts such as the presence of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East in 1991, and more recently, the supposed monumental depredations of the ISIS in order to strengthen control over natural resources and expand economic territory.
On September 23, 2014, the United Nations (UN) will hold the Climate Summit 2014 in New York with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calling on heads of government, finance, business, and civil society to work together towards achieving a global agreement for climate action in 2015.
We have little hope that this UN Climate Summit will be any more effective as previous meetings on climate change have been. This UN roadshow seeks no agreements but is more of a PR event to put climate issues back on the map. As shown in past meetings, it is not the lack of awareness but the intransigence of governments, especially of the United States, in refusing to make substantial cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions that has sabotaged the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol ever since the Conference of Parties (COP) met annually after the climate treaty was signed in 1992.
The real solution to the climate crisis now lies in the hands of the people and movements that are struggling to resist imperialist control and plunder of the world. The key is to have a strong unity and resistance at the grassroots and national level that is strengthened by solidarity amongst all peoples, organizations and social movements standing up against imperialism.
Communities and people’s organizations mobilize to protect their lands against the intrusion and plunder of transnational corporations. Indigenous peoples in different countries defend their ancestral lands against development aggression especially of oil and mining companies.
Campaigns and mobilizations within imperialist countries against state violence and imperialist wars as well as for economic rights show how mass movements and resistance can succeed within the belly of the beast. Mass mobilizations against oppressive and undemocratic governments show how people in their millions can overthrow regimes as in some countries. Armed resistance of various peoples and revolutionary groups in Asia and Latin America show how people can stand their ground against the imperialists and their puppets. As the struggles for national liberation and social emancipation reach new heights, we gain more ground in resolving the climate crisis.
The world can no longer proceed with business as usual nor with solutions that do not address the root causes of the monopoly capitalist crisis of overproduction. The United Nations promised us peace, development and progress but we see wars of aggression, social inequalities and large-scale destruction of communities, productive forces, and the environment instead. Monopoly capitalist greed for profit is taking its toll on humankind and destroying the planet.
Enough of the empty promises, enough of these illusions of reform! In order to arrest climate change, we need to put an end to the imperialists’ systematic plunder and pollution of the environment. We need to strengthen our resistance, build our solidarity and defend our future against this parasitic and moribund system. To arrest climate change, we need to end monopoly capital’s dominance over our lives and the planet and build a socialist future for all.
Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, ILPS International Coordinating Committee