Sunday, March 22, 2015

Climate change again

Here is an exchange of emails with an environmentalist organisation in Oxford about climate change arising from an earlier e-mail from them.

Low Carbon Headington:

Please could you clarify your position? Are you saying that your party does not currently have any specific policies on climate change?

Even so, will your party commit to working towards a cross-party agreement to pursue policies nationally and internationally to cap the exploitation of fossil fuels at 20% of known reserves, in order to ensure global warming is less than 2degreesC?

Finally could you answer the two specific questions that we asked:

1) Does your party accept, in principle, the need to leave 80% of known fossil fuels reserves in the ground?

2) Which of your party's policies will ensure the rise in global temperatures is restricted to below 2 degrees C and how will they achieve this level?

I appreciate that this is a busy time for you, but we would be most  interested in further clarification of your views.

Our reply:

Thanks. I think I need to begin by explaining why and on what basis we are standing in this election. It is to raise the issue of the need for socialism and only that.

We hold that global socialism, where the Earth's resources both natural and industrial have become the common heritage of all humanity, is the only framework within which the problem, for instance, of climate changes (but many others too)can be effectively and lastingly tackled. We are only seeking votes and support on that basis and that it why we do not have a list of specific policies to be applied within capitalism.

Also, because we hold that under capitalism profit-making will always take priority over anything else so that most such policies are never likely to be adopted anyway.

As to your two specific questions:

1      1. Yes, we do accept that in a socialist society the burning of fossil fuels to generate electricity will have to be restricted as this has been clearly identified as the main cause of global warming and climate change. Whether this will involve capping the use of fossil fuels at a certain percentage of known reserves is a decision to be made by socialist society as part of an overall, Earth-wide policy on the matter. Other factors to be taken into account would be that there are other uses than burning to which fossil fuels can be put (e.g. manufacture of plastics)and maybe a safe method of burning them without releasing CO2 into the atmosphere can be found. at the moment it is not possible to draw up, for implementation in a socialist world, a plan with detailed figures and objectives; all that can be done now is to outline possible scenarios, ways, and options of tackling the problem. In fact, climate scientists and others have alreadycome up with these, but they are unlikely to be implemented as long as capitalism exists. Nor is the cap of 20% of known reserves likely to be either, given the commercial and geopolitical pressures that inevitably exist under capitalism and which have so far prevented and will go on preventing the necessary coordinated global action. It is a policy aim that could only be implemented in a socialist society.

2. As stated, we ourselves do not advocate any specific policies to reduce CO2 emissions, though we accept the need for this and are sure that in a profit-free, one-world socialist society scientists will be able to come up with effective ways to do this.
 As also stated, we don't think that anything effective can or will be done to achieve this as long as the capitalist economic system dominates the world. Once again, the Earth's resources will first have to become the common heritage of all as the only framework within something effective to do this can be done.

I hope this clarifies our position.