Blogs

As catastrophes unfold, have our leaders got the message yet?

It's never been clearer that the climate crisis is here now. Below are news stories from just the past month describing extreme weather events and catastrophes from around the world. UPDATED 28 July

Some events are so extreme they could have not have occurred without climate breakdown, in other regions there is a trend of increasing frequency/severity. These events, alongside much worse predictions by scientists, should be enough to push world leaders into action on climate. But at best we see only half-measures and delay. Less than 100 days remain until the COP26 summit, and the UK government is issuing new oil drilling licences while ignoring the gap between its emissions targets and a lack of policies to meet them. We have to speak out and ensure the voices of those on the front lines of climate change are heard.

Heatwaves, drought and fire

Madagascar

Madagascar is on the brink of a famine it played little part in creating. In Southern Madagascar, a four-year drought and vicious sandstorms have destroyed crops and turned arable land to desert. As many as 500,000 are nearing starvation.

North America

‘Nowhere is safe’: heat shatters vision of Pacific north-west as climate refuge. A 'heat dome' brought unprecedented heat to the US Pacific north-west and western Canada. Known for mild summers, cities were unprepared for record temperatures of up to 42.2C (Seattle) and 46.7C (Portland, Oregon). Some inland areas managed to get up to 118F (47.8C). Hospitals suddenly found themselves overwhelmed, with several hundred people believed to have died in the heat. The town of Lytton shattered the previous heat record for Canada (45C), reaching 49.5C before residents fled a devastating wildfire, which destroyed large parts of the town. Temperature records are usually broken by fractions of degrees.

Resist G7

 
Tony Staunton is a member of the Campaign against Climate Change steering group and one of the founding members of the Resist G7 coalition, initiated by grassroots activists in Cornwall and the South West. Here he sets out how climate justice is not on the table at the G7 and the need to resist.
 
The G7 is a meeting of the world's most powerful political leaders, scheduled for 11th-13th June 2021 in the UK. These leaders govern the richest countries in the world in their own interests, and the G7 exists to keep it that way.  
 
These government ministers will sit behind military security to meet at a luxury hotel complex in one the most picturesque but poorest regions of Europe - Cornwall. Resetting the global economy after the Pandemic will be the key discussion throughout, with the Climate Emergency centre-fold and used to dominate the media with messages of new economic growth through questionable "Green Technologies", promoted by billionaire Bill Gates and his ilk.
 
Global capitalism - the neoliberal free-market domination of the transnational corporations for agrochemicals, industrial agriculture, biofuels, together with the so-called Negative Emissions Technology (NET) of Carbon-Capture-and-Storage, mini-nuclear power plants and carbon trading - is the default setting.
 
The G7 wealthiest nations, hosted by UK Prime Minister Johnson, has invited India's Prime Minister Modi, currently assaulting millions of small farmers to enforce corporate dominance of food markets, and Australia's Morrison, the coal and uranium enthusiast.
 
The headlines from the G7 will be a prelude to what can be expected from the COP26 deliberations in November, once again led by the UK. 
 
The Campaign against Climate Change is supporting the Resist G7 Coalition established soon after the venue was announced. Based in Cornwall, England, the Coalition has issued the call for action in every community, town and city with a day of action for Climate on Friday 11th June and an international manifestation of opposition to G7 neoliberalism on Saturday12th.
 
Local protests will take place in Cornwall, with convergence centres and counter-conferences in Penzance and Falmouth. The continuing risk from COVID variants makes the long journey to Cornwall by coach unsafe, and any physical protests called by the Coalition will seek to ensure ensure social distancing and personal protection. 

Trade unions join calls to save Green Homes Grant

 
UK trade union leaders have written to the Chancellor calling on him not to cut funding from the Green Homes Grants scheme. They say removing around £1 billion from the scheme would jeopardise the UK’s chances of a green recovery, and put jobs at risk. With severe administrative problems caused by mismanagement of the scheme by US firm ICF, they also call on the scheme to be brought under public sector control.
 
Gail Cartmail, Unite Assistant General Secretary said, "The UK has some of the poorest housing stock in western Europe and 'fuel poverty' is rampant – so the need for a comprehensive housing renovation programme - with the 'green' agenda at its heart - is desperately required. The current failings in the Green Homes Grants scheme has been abetted by awarding the contract to a US firm, when, during the pandemic, it is the public sector that has more than proved its worth as the standard bearer of delivering services in a timely fashion. This contract should be brought back under public sector control immediately."
 
John Moloney, PCS Assistant General Secretary said, "The failure of Boris Johnson's Government to deliver on the Green Homes Grant – already at best a drop in the ocean initiative to tackle the climate emergency – exposes the truth about their world beating leadership on climate change and the large scale investment needed for a green recovery."
 
Suzanne Jeffery, Chair of CACCTU said "At a time of a jobs crisis and climate crisis and in the year UK hosts COP26, it's a dangerous and unnecessary failure. Cutting back this scheme threatens jobs and climate action."
 
Full letter below.

Pages