by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
Since the election of the Con-Dem Coalition Government in 2010 and the onset of vicious austerity, the issue of climate change has pretty much fallen off the agenda of the organized left. Some of this is understandable, because people tend to fight what in front of them, but in order to present a positive alternative for our economy, we must look again at how that economy might look in the future.
The Campaign Against Climate Change (CCC) was founded in 2001. In 2010, it produced a report, with the assistance of the CWU, PCS, TSSA & UCU trade unions to argue for the creation of one million climate change jobs to address the environmental and economic crisis which we face. CCC say: "One million climate jobs is a massively ambitious goal, we agree and at first sight it will look unrealistic to many. But we are facing an emergency and we need to start making the seemingly impossible - possible. What we are really talking about is a massive effort to transform the economy, along the lines, and on the scale, of what has previously been achieved in war time - in the US, for instance, in 1941 when car factories were transformed into tank factories inside a few months - and when the whole economy was turned around to concentrate solely on producing materials for the war effort in a very short time. We need something similar but this time it will be an economy focused on preventing catastrophic climate change rather than on waging war - and we will concentrate on achieving a low or zero carbon economy as soon as possible. This will need a lot of work done in a very short time and this will necessarily mean jobs - lots of jobs. Many in government will tell you we need to be making cuts - but the lesson of previous recessions is that it was not cuts but well targeted spending than lifted us out of recession. We need a massive investment in a green economy - and the planet we live on - now."
For more details on the campaign, what creating one million climate jobs means in practice and what benefits it would have for the economy, see the 'One Million Climate Jobs' pamphlet, available here online:
Those (of us) on the left of the political spectrum have to remember that climate change is as much a danger to all of us as is the oppression levied against all of us by the likes of the Com-Dem coalition and others of their ilk in the UK and other countries.
None of us stands a chance for a better life, even with a true revolution and a change of the system, if the Planet goes to pot and it no longer can support life and with life I mean hear all life and that includes you and me.
Yes, we must fight the austerity measures and the other measures against the poor and the working class by the parties of the right, and that includes the so-called Liberal-Democrats, the yellow bellies, in Britain, for they are in no way better than their Tory coalition partners, they only pretend to be, in Britain and elsewhere, but that cannot and must not come at the expense of neglect of the environmental issues that are also important. Both fights must go hand-in-hand as one, the fight against capitalism and environmental degradation and destruction.
What good would be a new world, so to speak, for all of us, free of capitalist exploitation when the environment ends up destroyed while we are busy waging the battle on one side only. We must do both and improve the environment and the lives of the people as a whole.