Statement to COP26

Ecosocialism Not Extinction!

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.


ECOSOCIALISM NOT EXTINCTION!

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.

Action now to halt climate change! We demand:

  • All fossil fuels must stay in the ground – no new gas, coal, or oil!
  • A rapid move to renewable energy for transport, infrastructure, industry, agriculture, and homes
  • A massive global programme of public works investing in green jobs, and replacing employment in unsustainable industries.
  • A globally funded just transition for the global south to develop the necessary sustainable technologies and infrastructure.
  • A major cut in greenhouse gas emissions of at least 70% by 2030, from a 1990 baseline. This must be comprehensive – including all military, aviation, and shipping emissions – and include mechanisms for transparent accounting, measurement, and popular oversight.
  • The end of emissions trading schemes.
  • An immediate end to the encroachment on and destruction of the territories of indigenous peoples through extractivism, deforestation and appropriation of land.

Sustainability and global justice

The long-term global crisis and the immediate effects of catastrophic events impact more severely on women, children, elders, LGBTQ+ and disabled people and the people of First Nations. An eco-socialist strategy puts social justice and liberation struggles of the oppressed at its core.

Migration is, and will increasingly be, driven by climate change and conflicts and resource wars resulting from it. Accommodating and supporting free movement of people must be a core policy and necessary part of planning for the future.

We call for:

  • Immediate cancellation of the international debt of the global south.
  • A rapid shift from massive ‘factory’ farms and large-scale monoculture agribusiness towards eco-friendly farming methods and investment in green agricultural technology to reduce synthetic fertilizer and pesticide use in agriculture and replace these with organic methods and support for small farmers.
  • A major reduction in meat and dairy production and consumption through education and provision and promotion of high- quality, affordable plant-based alternatives.
  • The promotion of agricultural systems based on the right to food and food sovereignty, human rights, and with local control over natural resources, seeds, land, water, forests, knowledge, and technology to end food and nutrition insecurity in the global south.
  • The end of deforestation in the tropical and boreal forests by reduction of demand for imported food, timber, and biofuels.
  • An end to ecologically and socially destructive extractivism, especially in the territories of indigenous peoples and First Nations .
  • Respect for the economic, cultural, political and land rights of indigenous peoples and First Nations.
  • A massive increase in protected areas for biodiversity conservation.
  • End fuel poverty through retrofitting energy existing homes and buildings with energy efficient sustainable technologies.

We demand a just transition:

  • Re-skilling of workers in environmentally damaging industries with well paid alternative jobs in the new economy.
  • Full and democratic involvement of workers to harness the energy and creativity of the working people to design and implement new sustainable technologies and decommission old unsustainable ones.
  • Resources for popular education and involvement in implementing and enhancing a just transition, with environmental education embedded at all levels within the curriculum.
  • Urgent development of sustainable, affordable, and high-quality public transport with a comprehensive integrated plan which meets peoples needs and reduces the requirement for private car use.
  • A planned eco-socialist economy which eliminates waste, duplication and environmentally harmful practices, reduction in the working week and a corresponding increase in leisure time.
  • Work practices reorganised with the emphasis on fair flexibility and working closer to home, utilising a free and fast broadband infrastructure.

As eco-socialists we put forward a vision of a just and sustainable world and fight with every ounce of our energy for every change, however small, which makes such a world possible. We will organize and assist wherever possible worker’s and community organisations internationally, raising demands on governments and challenging corporations.

Endorsed by

Groups

Individuals

  • Beatrix Campbell (UK) (OBE, writer and broadcaster)
  • George Monbiot (UK) (journalist, author & environmental activist)
  • Victor Wallis (USA) (ecosocialist author and professor of political science at the Berklee College of Music in Boston)
  • Professor Krista Cowman (UK), (Historian)
  • Peter Sainsbury (Australia) (Professor, School of Medicine, Sydney, University of Notre Dame)
  • Professor Julia Steinberger (Social Ecology/Ecological Economics) (Switzerland)
  • Romayne Phoenix (UK)
  • Jhon Giyai (West Papua)
  • David Schwartzman (USA) (Climate/energy scientist Member of the Global Greens COP26 Working Group-International Committee Green Party of the United States)
  • Dee Searle (UK)
  • Steve Masters (UK) (Environmental activist; Green Party District Councillor, W Berkshire)
  • Jim Petersen (USA)
  • Osver Polo Carraco (Peru)
  • Sally Lansbury (UK) Labour Party Cllr. Allerdale Borough Council
  • Rafael Arturo Guariguata (Germany)
  • Tina Rothery (UK)
  • Christopher Lozinski (USA)
  • Pat McCarthy (UK)
  • Clive Healiss (UK)
  • Felicity Dowling (UK)
  • Charles Gate (UK)
  • Emma Lorraine Coulling (UK)
  • Ken Barker (UK)
  • Stephen Hall (UK) (President, Greater Manchester Association of Trades Union Councils)
  • Lucy Early (UK)
  • Andrew Francis Robinson (UK)
  • Kevin Frea (UK) (Deputy Leader, Lancaster City Council)
  • Richard Finnigan (UK)
  • John Burr (UK)
  • Andrea Carey-Fuller (UK)
  • Paul Hutchens (UK)
  • Gordon Peters (UK)
  • Jonathan N Fuller (UK)
  • Nicole Haydock (UK)
  • Deborah Fink (UK)
  • Mary Stuart (UK)
  • Cathy Slaughter (UK)
  • Anna Moon (UK)
  • Oliver Charleston (UK)
  • William A Richardson (UK)
  • Tamsin Evans (UK)
  • Gordon Housley (UK)
  • Rick Evans (UK)
  • Geoff Bowman (UK)
  • Graham Wardrope (UK)

To support the statement and to keep informed about the Ecosocialist Alliance and our particular actions email eco-socialist-action@protonmail.com

 

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2 Comments

  • Unfortunately the idea of a Green New Deal, even its most radical versions, is premised on the reform of capitalism. And virtually all the groups signed up to this statement support a GND of some sort.

    We actually need the overthrow capitalism to allow for the creation of a democratically decided international plan for responding to this ecological crisis where considerations of profit maximisation and capital accumulation play no part – which is humanity’s only chance to avert a catastrophic ecological collapse.

    We should not be afraid to say so and criticise those who support GND reformist approaches.

    https://bolsheviktendency.org/2021/03/17/eco-socialism-green-new-deal-pipe-dreams/

  • There is a lot of important insights and important demands in this statement, but it still shows two major weaknesses with the eco-socialist left in my humble opinion. First of all the lacking ability put forward simple, concrete demands that can mobilize ordinary people and the climate movement.

    Why do we not just demand a ban on the use of offsets in the Paris agreement. Climate denialism is not in “fashion” anymore, ruling classes, the big corporations is going “net zero”. But these offsets are fake, the offset trade is a swindle – and even if the offsets were real, they would just mean emissions being what they are. It is of course a scandalous strategy for just continuing emitting.

    Just above this comment there is a link to “Real zero, not net zero”, but even this text, exposing the swindle does not put forward the simple demand that no trade of offsets should be legitimized by the UNFCC. On the contrary it should be banned, as the CDM should have been from the start.

    The “reformist” climate movement (CAN) is at least talking about net zero, in this statement it is not even mentioned. Instead of just demanding a ban, the CAN is asking for “real plans for reductions” but such plans will never be presented, the “system”. You cannot put pressure on national delegations, build alliances with poor countries with demand for plans!

    When the statement demands “All fossil fuels must stay in the ground – no new gas, coal, or oil!” – that is of course entirely correct, but what would happen if that demand put into practice in a short time? It would rise the price of energy and consequently all prices, hurting ordinary people.

    That demand is the same as to demand and un-compensated increase in the petrol price – like the one Macron tried – and the yellow vests were in the streets the day after. The French and international lefty were politically paralysed? They had nothing to say on the question that ignited the movement (the spark and the prairie fire…) Should fossil fuel become more expensive? Should we demand less tax on fossil fuel since it is a basic good for ordinary people?

    To cut a long story short: if fossil fuel is going to be kept in the ground they have to become very, very expensive. Such a necessary price increas is only possible if people get compentsated for the price rice, that is, the revenue from a carbon tax must redistributed, for more detail:
    https://monthlyreview.org/2013/02/01/james-hansen-and-the-climate-change-exit-strategy/

    Such a “carbon fee and dividend” system is an excellent way to tax the rich and increase ordinary peoples incomes. 100 USD into your account speaks volumes that will make climate policy into something else than words, words and words – form both the left and the right wing.

    Another “hot topic” at the COP is green finance. At COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009, the poor countries were “bought” by a 100 billion USD Green Climate fund. It has never been really funded (of course!) In 2011 WWF and Oxfam, not quite Leninist revolutionary organisations proposed to fill the Green Climate Fund by putting a tax on fossil fuel used in international transport. They proposed a static tax starting at 25 USD tonne CO2, I would propose to start at 10 USD and increase it by 10 USD every year. One could clearly build an alliance with poor countries (their rulers) on such a demand. The left must discuss if it would be better to distribute the money directly to people bank accounts/mobile phone payment systems.

    Thirdly – we should demand that every country started to tax fossil fuel. Starting at 10 USD and increasing every year by 10 USD. The use of the tax revenue is of course an internal affair for each country. But it would make it much easier for the left in each country to fight a progressive redistribution.

    Instead of focussing one, two – maby three, very concrete demands the statement is full of fairly general demands that are not efficient in mobilizing ordinary people. Especially those that must care more to make ends meet each month than the “fin du monde” (end of the world).

    Why don’t demand a ban on offsets? … taxing international transport? … starting to tax carbon in a Robin Hood way?
    (Every step of real movement is more important than a dozen programs, Marx).

    All the best
    Anders Ekeland, Norway