The Leaders Summit on Climate was held on 21-22 April, to prepare for the Climate Conference of the United Nations (UN), the COP26, scheduled for November in Glasgow (UK). The meeting was marked by the return of the United States, under Joe Biden, to the Paris Agreement. According to the White House, the sponsor of the summit, leaders from 40 countries were invited, including Brazil.
By Jeferson Choma – PSTU
On the agenda, there are measures to minimize the effects of global warming, whose consequences are terrible for all civilization. According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the average temperature of the planet’s surface has risen by around 1 °C since 1880, but most of the warming has occurred from the late 1970s. A study released last year also showed that the rate of the warming recorded from 1987 to 2019 grew by 450% compared to the previous period (1955 to 1986).
Accelerating of global warming
Science shows that this is the biggest and fastest increase in global temperature in over 800,000 years. It also points out that the temperature rise is increasingly accelerated. The melting of ice at the poles (South and North) is the most glaring evidence. Data from the US space agency, NASA, shows that Greenland lost 286 billion tons of ice per year between 1993 and 2016, while Antarctica lost approximately 127 billion tons in the same period.
Global warming is the result of the unbridled use of fossil fuels, which have fueled the capitalist economy for more than a century. The result of the use of this energy source was the emission of huge quantities of greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide and methane), much higher than the Earth’s capacity to absorb them.
The consequences of the climate catastrophe are countless and even unpredictable: the rise of the oceans and the end of coastal cities; heat waves and desertification of immense areas of the planet; the decrease in agricultural production and increase of famines; the explosion of movements of climate refugees; the extinction of most species in the oceans; the extreme intensification of droughts and floods; the end of the Amazon and, obviously, many other pandemics. Incidentally, melting ice in the Russian Arctic caused an outbreak of Anthrax in 2016.
Capitalism is incapable of solving the climate crisis
Global warming is the result of the destructive functioning of capitalism. Its unbridled lust for profit promotes the brutal appropriation of nature, thus breaking its energy and ecological cycles. Capitalist accumulation is incompatible with any kind of “sustainable development,” as advocated by Biden or the European Union governments. In fact, capitalism is incapable of preventing the climate catastrophe that the system itself has unleashed. The greatest proof of this is the failure of all climate agreements made to date.
Scientists warn that limiting global warming to between 1.5 and 2 ºC would be the most rational way forward. But, for that, it would be necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent until 2030 and extinguish emissions around 2050.
But, this projection would only be possible in case there is a change of the world energy matrix, reducing considerably the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2), allied to large reforestation programs for carbon sequestration (removal of carbon gas from the atmosphere) and rigorous climate agreements, to guarantee, effectively, the accomplishment of the goals.
Such a solution would be rational. But capitalism is not rational. We are in 2021 and not even one, just one county on the whole planet has started to implement this kind of measure.
Therefore, the only way to mitigate (or soften) global warming, to stop the environmental catastrophe that is knocking at the door and threatens the whole civilisation is to overcome capitalism and build a socialist society, without social classes, without exploitation of labour and nature, based on the economic and political power of the working class and in the planning of production and distribution of resources.
Neither Biden nor Bolsonaro wants to save the Amazon
During the preparation of the meeting, there was speculation in the mainstream press about an agreement being made, off records, between Biden and Bolsonaro. In the first place, it is necessary to repudiate any kind of threat or political interference of imperialism against Brazil, particularly from those leaders who supposedly intend to “save the Amazon,” which serve as an excuse for capital to appropriate Brazil’s natural resources.
However, we must not forget that Bolsonaro and his Minister of the Environment, Ricardo Salles, are today the greatest enemies of the environment and rainforest peoples. This government plans to push through changes on the entire system of environmental protection and enforcement legislation. It defends loggers, mining on indigenous lands, arsonist ranchers and the illegal occupation of public lands in the Amazon. They are also the ones who punish those who try to supervise and combat these criminals.
So, Alexandre Saraiva, the superintendent of the Federal Police in Amazonas, was exonerated. His “crime” was to have commanded the largest seizure of illegal timber in history: the confiscation of more than 43,000 logs, with an estimated value of US$ 24 million. Salles and the loggers pressed for his exit. In WhatsApp messages, the loggers investigated by the Federal Police referred to the superintendent as the “target to be shot.”
Just as Bolsonaro’s pandemic project is like a planned genocide, deliberately acting to spread the virus, Salles’ project for the environment is the destruction of the rainforest and the extermination of indigenous populations, in favour of the profits of big loggers, landowners and miners. The only path left to us is the overthrow of this government and not the illusion that Biden will save us.