Change the system, not the climate

Protesting the Adani coal mine.

Climate change is the result of an economic system — capitalism — in which private companies' profit-making is privileged over the real needs of communities and their environments. Capitalism will not resolve the climate crisis because it cannot. It cannot because of its structured social and ecological irrationality. This is why, regardless of what the science tells us we should do, fossil fuels are still being burnt and sustainable energy systems still have to be fought for. The Socialist Alliance supports system change not climate change. The 11 points below, if adopted, would significantly benefit our society, ecology and fauna.

1. Set immediate emissions cuts targets to reduce net emissions to zero as soon as possible
This includes a target to achieve 100% renewable energy within a decade. Introduce emissions reduction targets of at least 5% a year.

2. Begin new international treaty negotiations
Aim at getting all countries to agree on a global target aiming for 90% emissions cuts on 1990 levels by 2030. Prioritise emissions cuts for rich industrial nations, and increase aid to exploited countries to help them to use clean energy for their development.

3. Start the transition to a zero-waste economy
Legislate to end industrial energy waste. Improve or ban wasteful consumer products, such as those with built-in obsolescence. Engage with workers and their unions to redesign their products and jobs so they are sustainable.

4. Require advanced energy efficiency measures
Fit existing buildings with solar photovoltaic panels and introduce measures to subsidise owner-occupiers for excessive costs. Require landlords to progressively install the same technology in rental properties. Improve mandatory energy efficiency standards for all new buildings.

5. No to nuclear. End uranium mining. No nuclear dumps
Close Ranger (NT), Roxby Downs and Beverly (SA), Willunga, Mulga Rock, Kintyre and Yeelirrie (WA). No new mine approvals. Shut down Lucas Heights nuclear reactor and switch to clean, safe medical technologies.

6. Ban fracking. Shut down and cap unconventional gas wells. Begin phasing out coalmining and coal-fired power immediately. Provide replacement jobs and retraining on full pay for affected communities. Build new sustainable industries in these areas.

7. Redirect heavy industry. This includes remaining steel, aluminium and traditional car manufacturing industries, to manufacture essential products and infrastructure for the transition such as renewable energy generators, public transport vehicles and infrastructure and electric cars.

8. Bring power industries under public ownership
Set up public bodies to coordinate local, regional and national energy networks/grids. Plan and build a mix of renewable energy and energy storage technologies to supply 100% renewable energy. Technologies to be used include wind turbines, solar photovoltaic, solar thermal with storage, pumped hydro storage and batteries. New technologies such as wave or geothermal power should be included as they become available. Support community-owned renewable power generation and grids and upgrade the national grid to facilitate the new renewable energy system.

9. Ban the logging of native forests
Move immediately to tree plantations and alternative crops for fibre and timber. Begin an urgent program of revegetation to sequester carbon and restore and protect biodiversity in the face of a changing climate. Promote decentralised farm forestry instead of industrial plantation monocultures where practical.

10. Create measures to support farmers to revegetate
Start with less productive land where practical, for carbon sequestration and biodiversity. Provide education, research and direct assistance to move to “carbon farming”, which stores carbon in soils, or causes reduced carbon loss from soils. Encourage new farming practices including organic and urban food production. Oversee the process to enhance regional employment and maintain or improve food sovereignty.

11. Transition to free public transport
Start with the elimination of fares for concession holders, and expand services to enable all urban residents to use it for their regular commuting. Electrify all public transport networks. Encourage urban bicycle use through more cycleways and better facilities for cyclists. Nationalise and upgrade interstate freight, passenger train and ferry services including high-speed rail from Adelaide and Melbourne to Sydney and Brisbane. Transition to making all new private cars and other road vehicles electric other than special-use vehicles, such as long distance vehicles for remote areas. Replace petrol stations with charging stations.

Read more about Socialist Alliance here.

[Authorisation for electoral content by V. Miley, Suite 1.07, 22-36 Mountain St, Ultimo, NSW, 2007]