More people are being displaced by disasters — caused by the changing climate — than conflicts, reversing a historical trend. According to the World Migration Report 2022, published every second year by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) of the UN, in 2020, “30.7 million new displacements were triggered by disasters in 145 countries and territories.”
Total internal displacement due to disaster, conflict and violence has increased in comparison to 2019, despite containment due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020: To 40.5 million in 2020, from 31.5 million in 2019.
The report quoted the regular data collation by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC).
After decades of sowing doubt about climate change and its causes, the fossil fuel industry is now presenting itself as the source of solutions.
After decades of sowing doubt about climate change and its causes, the fossil fuel industry is now shifting to a new strategy: presenting itself as the source of solutions. This repositioning includes rebranding itself as a “carbon management industry.”
This strategic pivot was on display at the Glasgow climate summit and at a Congressional hearing in October 2021, where CEOs of four major oil companies talked about a “lower-carbon future.” That future, in their view, would be powered by the fuels they supply and technologies they could deploy to remove the planet-warming carbon dioxide their products emit – provided they get sufficient government support.
How often are we told that the market must be part of the solution to the climate crisis? The efficiency, the focus, the discipline embedded in the pursuit of profit, the refinement of responding to consumer demands, each of us maximizing our individual utility, those are the values that will get us all pulling in the same, sustainable direction.
We’re told the collaboration of business and society will be win-win: companies will make loads of money; we, the people, will get a planet to live on. Mark Carney, the former governor of the Bank of England, said “there will be great fortunes made” when businesses start doing “what society wants”.
The Glasgow Conference (COP26) should have given priority to 1) making good on the promise of the “developed” countries to contribute to the Green Climate Fund, from 2020 onwards, at least one hundred billion dollars a year to help the global South meet the climate challenge1; 2) forcing these same countries to intervene financially to cover the enormous “loss and damage” caused by warming, especially in the “least developed countries” and small island states; 3) “raising the climate ambitions” of governments to achieve the adopted COP21 (Paris, 2015) goal of: “ keeping the temperature increase well below 2°C while continuing efforts not to exceed 1.5°C compared to the pre-industrial period”.
Two years ago, in a series of articles on Disrupting the nitrogen cycle, I described how fossil fuels and industrial agriculture have created a major rift in the Earth System’s metabolism, by releasing more than twice as much reactive nitrogen into the environment as nature alone has ever produced.
“In particular, close to 200 million metric tons of synthetic fertilizers are used every year — and most of the reactive nitrogen they contain escapes into the broader environment, polluting air and water and disrupting ecosystems. … It is painfully clear that any serious effort to prevent ecological catastrophes in this century must include reining in the overproduction of reactive nitrogen.”
An under-studied part of nitrogen pollution is the nitrous oxide gas that microorganisms in the soil give off as a byproduct of the nitrogen biochemical cycle. Nitrogen stimulates nitrous oxide production, so adding nitrogen fertilizers to soil increases emissions.
Nearly 200 countries at the UN climate change summit in Glasgow have also committed to revisit and strengthen their 2030 emissions reductions plans next year, keeping the door open to crucial 1.5°C temperature goal
Nearly 200 countries have made an unprecedented and historic pledge at the COP26 climate summit to speed up the end of fossil fuel subsidies and reduce the use of coal, after India pushed through an 11th hour intervention to weaken the language on coal.
Crucially, despite almost a fortnight’s negotiations that ran more than 24 hours late, the 196 countries meeting in Glasgow committed to issuing stronger 2030 climate plans next year in a bid to avert dangerous global warming.
Ecosocialist Alliance statement on the opening of UN climate talks in Glasgow
This statement was drafted by the Ecosocialist Alliance, a UK-based coalition organized by Green Left, Left Unity and Anti-Capitalist Resistance. After discussion and adoption of amendments proposed the Global Ecosocialist Network, it has been endorsed by a wide range of individuals and groups, including Climate & Capitalism. It will be distributed at COP26, the United Nations climate conference that opens on October 31 in Glasgow.
COP 26 unfolds against a backdrop of growing climate chaos and ecological degradation, after an unprecedented summer of heatwaves, wildfires, and flooding events. Climate change is upon us, and we face multiple interlinked and inseparable crises- of climate, environment, extinction, economy and zoonotic diseases.
As ecosocialists we say another world is possible, but a massive social and political transformation is needed, requiring the mobilization of the mass of working people across the globe. Only the end of capitalism’s relentless pursuit of private profit, endless waste, and rapacious drive for growth, can provide the solution not only to climate change, environmental degradation, and mass extinction, but to global poverty, hunger, and hyper exploitation.
The big issues of climate change will be debated in Glasgow but whatever is agreed, capitalism can at best mitigate climate change, not stop it. Genuine climate solutions cannot be based on the very market system that created the problem. Only the organized working class, and the rural oppressed and First Nations of the global south -women and men – have the power to end capitalism, because their labour produces all wealth and they have no great fortune to lose if the system changes, no vested interests in inequality, exploitation, and private profit.
Oilwatch International network members, community representatives from oil regions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations (CBOs), the academia and the media met in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State, Nigeria, between 19–21 of October 2021, physically and virtually, for the maiden edition of the Oilwatch International Global Gathering.
The gathering, which had the theme DemandingReal Zero, Not Net Zero aimed to present the way out of the climate quagmire and present real options for climate action. The Global Gathering looked critically at the false solutions to Climate Change including the Net Zero concept which world leaders, corporations and investors are echoing as the world gets ready for COP26.
A discussion with John Bellamy Foster, one of the world’s leading figures in Marxian ecological theory.
John Bellamy Foster is the editor of Monthly Review, one of the world’s leading figures in Marxian ecological theory and author of numerous books including “The Return of Nature: Socialism and Ecology”, “The Vulnerable Planet”, “Marx’s Ecology, Ecology Against Capitalism”, “The Ecological Revolution: Making Peace With the Planet”, and “The Theory of Monopoly Capitalism”, along with several co-authored volumes.