To coincide with this weekend’s conference “Ecosocialism – Fracking, Climate and Revolution” hosted by Socialist Resistance and Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century the new issue of our magazine has a strong ecosocialist strand. It’s a significant event because it will be the first time two Marxist organisations have positively collaborated on the issue and it builds on the longstanding relationships we have established with many people in the Green Party. Speakers will include Green Party leader Natalie Bennett and prominent Green Marxist Derek Wall.
Full details of this Saturday’s conference in SOAS, Vernon Square, WC1X 9EW and how to register can be found here.
The seriousness with which we take the issue of ecology is reflected in the content of this issue. Jonathan Neale, a supporter of RS2, climate change activist and author of Stop Global Warming, Change the World has contributed a very important article which sets out in simple terms what exactly climate change will mean to everyone who lives through it. We know that the climate will become increasingly unpredictable. Droughts and floods will affect areas that haven’t previously known them and we saw this in England and Wales a few months ago. Crops will fail and yields will decline. As Pierre Rousset points out in his article the world’s poorest will be thrown into unimaginable poverty and we face a future in which countless millions of refugees are created by climate change. This will overwhelmingly be the people with the scantiest material resources.
This has implications for all of us. As Alan Thornett remarks in his book review, an increase in global average temperature of 2°C (3.6° F) constitutes the planetary tipping point with respect to climate change. This is the “climate cliff” over which our species is poised to fall. It will lead to irreversible changes we will not be able to control and the articles in this issue set out in great detail the gravity of the challenges we face.
If the “climate cliff” is to be avoided the rising carbon content of the atmosphere does not just have to be halted, it has to be reversed. We will have to start thinking about a world and an economy in which fossil fuels are left in the ground and our patterns of production and consumption are revolutionised.
The stakes for humanity are very high. As Jonathan observes in his article, the capitalist class does have some responses to climate change. They are unspeakably brutal and he gives the example of medical staff in New Orleans killing patients who could not be moved after Hurricane Katrina. Socialists, Greens, anti-capitalists and environmental activists have the responsibility of creating a political response and an alternative economic vision which can grip the imagination of millions and push them to action. This issue of our magazine is a small contribution to that process.