G8: Time is running out to save the planet

The world over there is a scientific consensus that global warming is a real and worsening problem.

And yet governments all over the world have done very little and all the while our oceans grow warmer and our air grows fouler. Sea levels rise and the temperature goes up.

You know things are getting bad when big business starts getting worried.

Take Munich Re for example. They are the largest re-insurer in the world and they’re very worried. In 2004 they released a Report entitled "Topics Geo-Annual Review: Natural Catastrophes 2004". It says: "2004 was dominated by extreme atmospheric events and weather-related natural catastrophes, both in terms of the number of events and the monetary losses they generated.

“The past year thus confirmed the fear that has long been expressed by Munich Re: global warming – very probably triggered by human activity – is leading not only to an increase in the frequency and intensity of exceptional weather events but also to new kinds of weather risks and greater loss potentials".

For over 100 years, we have relied on fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas for our energy needs.

The overwhelming and inefficient use of these fuels by big business has meant that global warming through climate change has become, arguably, the worst environmental problem we face today.

With less than 5% of the world’s population, the US is the world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases and is responsible for 25% of global emissions. In common with many others the US continues to subsidise the fossil fuel industries while under-funding clean energy solutions such as wind and wave power. So "dirty energy" stays cheap while "clean energy" seems expensive.

The power behind the throne in the US is big business. They have ensured that the US persists in undermining international efforts to reduce serious threats to the environment with pretexts designed to hide its big business, capitalist agenda.

For example, the US is not party to the Kyoto Treaty, which commits industrialised nations to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, primarily Carbon Dioxide, by a little over 5.2% below their 1990 levels over the next decade.

Big business across the world (including the UK) operates on a short-term position of maximising profits, which creates the conditions for ongoing global warming. Only socialism offers a realistic and viable alternative to the capitalist model.

Only in a society dominated by democratic co-operation and planning would it be possible to reverse the damage caused by profit, greed, and over-exploitation of fossil fuels.

The sooner that alternative is made real the better for us and the environment.

From International Socialist, paper of the International Socialists, cwi in Scotland

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June 2005