carbon rationing is spelled out in the nazi groon by george monbiot

Climate change spin as Davos gathering confronts mounting environmental and economic crisis
Nick Beams, WSWS, Jan 20 2020

The World Economic Forum, which holds its annual meeting this week in Davos, has tried in recent years to feign concern about the welfare of society as it brings together the ultra-wealthy, government and media representatives and the heads of major corporations to defend the profit system. This year’s gathering is no exception. It will focus on the issue of climate change under the headline “Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World,” with one session entitled “Averting a climate apocalypse.” In an endeavour to promote the organisation’s “progressive” credentials, WEF founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab has called on corporate chiefs to “show leadership” and commit to achieving zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner. The WEF has lined up a group of climate change activists including Greta Thunberg to address the participants on the need for urgent action. As a pointed comment by an FT columnist put it:

The hills are alive with the sound of environmental spin.

The WEF’s own assessments make clear that nothing can or will be done to halt the mounting climate disaster within the framework of the capitalist, nation-state system that the forum defends in the face of rising global social opposition. In a briefing paper on the zero emissions challenge, the WEF cited a Nov 2019 report from the UN which showed that four years since the Paris Agreement, global emissions had risen by 1.5%/yr over the past decade, with no signs of peaking. This occurred under conditions where a reduction of 5% per year is needed just to limit global warming to 1.5° C. If the present trajectory continues, the world is projected to warm by 3° C to 5° C by the end of the century, “with catastrophic effects on human civilization.” But as the WEF report acknowledged, the deadline is much closer. It stated:

The coming decade will decide whether humanity can achieve the goal of limiting warming to 1.5° C. Without a meaningful reduction in emissions in the next five years, the ability to act will increasingly be lost, resulting in damage that could become irreversible. The world needs cohesive and swift international action, but this remains wishful thinking, and so individual governments and corporations can and should move ahead with unilateral initiatives.

Such a prospect remains as far-fetched as international collaboration. As the report noted, so far only 67 countries have committed to the goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions, none of them among the top five emitters. It acknowledged:

Most countries with this commitment have not enacted sufficiently robust policies to attain the emissions reductions required.

There is even less prospect of this reduction being achieved through the actions of individual corporations. Of the millions of corporations worldwide, only 7,000 disclose their emissions to CDP, a global monitoring organisation. Of those that do report, only a third provide full disclosure, only a quarter set any kind of emission reduction target, and just one in eight reduce their emissions year on year. Even when companies do report on targets, there is no common measure. The report stated:

As a result, to date no robust way of benchmarking corporate global climate action exists even among industry peers. This lack of transparency suggest that companies may be providing window dressing and doing very little to reduce emissions in reality.

The WEF’s call for “stakeholder capitalism” in which corporations, according to Schwab, should act not just as profit-seeking entities but as “trustees of society,” is a pipe dream. As the WEF report admits, there is little or no pressure from investor finance, the chief driver of corporate decision-making, for action on emissions. It states:

In one-on-one interviews, CEOs say the pressure to deliver short-term returns by far exceeds any demands for long-term decarbonization.

The mounting social and protest movements over global warming are not the only concern of the WEF. Its Global Risks Report points to the downward pressure on the global economy from “macroeconomic fragilities and financial inequality” that continued to intensify throughout 2019, increasing the risk of economic stagnation as “rising trade barriers, lower investment and high debt are straining economies around the world.” It noted in its assessment of global risks that compounding the economic factors is “widespread discontent with current economic systems, perceived to be rigged and unfair.” The WEF commented:

Profound citizen discontent—born of disapproval of the way governments are addressing economic and social challenges—has sparked protests throughout the world, potentially weakening the ability of governments to take decisive action should a downturn occur.

The conclusions are not specifically drawn. But what is being pointed to here is that the kind of “decisive action” taken in 2008–2009, when governments and central banks handed out trillions of dollars to finance capital and imposed austerity conditions on the mass of the population, may provoke mass social opposition and social revolution if repeated in response to another economic and financial collapse. And the signs of such a collapse are becoming ever more apparent. Among other things, the report points to the replacement of “moderate but stable growth” with what the IMF has called a “synchronized slowdown.” This includes a decline in investment, a contraction in international trade, rising corporate debt as a “key vulnerability” in the international financial system and the “economic confrontations between major powers.” The continuation of interest rates at historically low levels and their further reduction in 2019 has increased the risk that “the tools available to brake economic slides may no longer be available,” while also raising concerns “about the soundness of banking systems.” Interest rate cuts have helped economic growth but “they have also fostered higher debt and riskier rent-seeking, which affect financial market stability.” The picture presented by the WEF’s own analysis is of a socio-economic system heading for catastrophe on every front, for which the ruling elites gathered at Davos have no answer and which their policies will exacerbate. It will not be prevented by the fiction of “stakeholder capitalism,” but through the enactment of the only realistic agenda: the conscious political struggle of the working class for a higher social order: international socialism.

Lack of action on climate change leads to warmest decade ever recorded
James Cogan, WSWS, Jan 20 2020

The World Meteorological Organisation), Pindostan’s NASA and its National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have all independently concluded that the past decade, 2010 to 2019, experienced the hottest-ever recorded global surface temperatures. Each decade since the 1960s has been hotter than the previous one.
The five years, 2015–2019, were the warmest. 2019 was the second hottest year, surpassed only by 2016, when the El Niño weather pattern drove temperatures to the highest level yet registered. The average surface temperature has risen by 1.1° C since the pre-industrial era, while the oceans, which absorb most of the heat, are warming even faster. Among credible scientists, there is no dispute that the cause is the long-term impact of human emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. WMO sec-gen Petteri Taalas commented:

The year 2020 has started out where 2019 left off, with high impact weather and climate-related events. Australia had its hottest, driest year on record in 2019, setting the scene for the massive bushfires, which were so devastating to people and property, wildlife, ecosystems and the environment. Unfortunately, we expect to see much more extreme weather throughout 2020 and the coming decades, fueled by record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Hundreds of millions of people around the world are suffering the impact of human-induced climatic change. In 2019 alone, scientists believe that global warming was the main contributing factor to more intense heat waves, droughts and fire, more regular and severe tropical storms and flooding, increased acidification of oceans, accelerated permafrost melt, the thinning of ice sheets in the Arctic and Antarctica, and the steady rise in sea levels. What action is required to stem global warming is well known. Emissions must be drastically reduced, through the wholesale deployment of non-carbon alternatives of fossil fuels, combined with the deployment of verified means of capturing existing carbon from the atmosphere. If they are not, the WMO’s Taalas commented:

On the current path, we are heading toward a temperature increase of 3° C to 5° C by the end of the century.

Yet, for all the proclamations by corporations and governments that they accept the known dangers and the need to reduce the use of fossil fuels, carbon emissions rose to the highest ever level in 2019, according to estimates by the Global Carbon Project. Even though emissions from coal declined, while still accounting for 40% of the global total, they increased through the use of oil and natural gas. Immense rage is building up internationally, especially in the working class and among the world’s youth, over the sheer recklessness and criminality of those in power, who have refused to implement the policies necessary to avoid catastrophic global warming. However, the understanding that must inform the political struggles of the coming months and years, is that this corporate and government inaction and indifference stems directly from the irrationality of the capitalist system. A social system that is based on the private ownership of wealth, the subordination of production to the accumulation of profit and the division of the globe into rival nation-states, the capitalist system is incapable of the coordinated international planning and allocation of resources necessary to address the climate crisis. Protest appeals to the moral conscience of political and corporate leaders have, in the blunt assessment of teenage climate change activist, Greta Thunberg, “achieved nothing.” Instead, governments internationally, spearheaded by Trump in Pindostan, are insisting that continued, and even expanded, fossil fuel use is essential for the competitiveness of “their” industries and their “national interest.” Just 100 transnational private or state-owned energy corporations which generate vast returns for the wealthy elite are responsible for 71% of all emissions. The narrow short-term dictates of shareholder return or cheap energy for industry are given priority over the long-term interests of humanity as a whole. In Australia, where the fires burning across large parts of the continent have starkly brought home the realities of climate change, PM Morrison flatly asserted on the weekend:

I won’t put up a carbon tax, I won’t put up people’s electricity prices, and I will not wipe out a resources sector which millions of Australians depend on, particularly regional Australians.

Morrison, a particularly crude defender of the fossil fuel industry, has no concerns for “millions of Australians,” but for the energy corporations that generate billions of dollars in profit from Australia’s status as the largest global exporter of coal and one of the largest producers of natural gas. As for taxation, successive governments in Australia have slashed the rate of tax on both corporations and personal income, paralleling global processes. Vast wealth that could have been used for socially useful purposes, including low-cost renewable electricity generation, has been channeled to the top 10% and especially the top 1% of the population. As recent weeks have demonstrated in Australia, the emergency and health services needed to prepare for and respond to increasingly severe disasters are under-resourced and under-staffed, while a tiny proportion of the population has accrued obscene amounts of personal wealth. Moreover, amid escalating corporate struggles for markets and profit share, nation-states are channeling ever greater resources into war preparations, not the reduction of emissions. Military spending in 2018 increased by another 2.7%, to at least $1.8t, most of it by Pindostan, followed by China, the Euro vassals, the Toads and India, countries which are also responsible for the highest carbon emissions. The military itself is a significant factor in emissions. To sustain its vast global operations of predatory wars and intimidation, the fuel use by the Pentagon alone would have ranked it as the world’s 47th largest emitter in 2017 if it were counted as a separate nation.

On Jan 3, we made a concise and objective summation of the political challenges of the coming period. Those who defend the historically-outmoded capitalist order are presiding over the descent toward a catastrophic great-power war, the destruction of hard-won democratic rights, the degradation of the environment, unprecedented levels of social inequality and unnecessary deprivation and suffering. The international working class is the only social force that can bring an end to capitalism and usher in a socialist society that prioritises human need, not private profit. Everything depends on the mass struggles of workers, which are already unfolding in country after country, becoming imbued with socialist consciousness and unified into a world-wide movement for revolutionary change. The efforts of all workers and youth who recognise the gravity of the world situation and the crisis posed by climate change, must be devoted to this task.

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