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“The central message of the 2006 election was so unmistakable that even George Bush couldn’t miss it. Get. Out. Of. Iraq.” This was how the November 17 US Socialist Worker weekly summed up the results of the November 7 US mid-term congressional elections, in which the Democrats won control of both houses of the US Congress for the first time since 1994.

Some 450 activists from a variety of countries gathered in Rostock, northern Germany, on the November 11-12 weekend for the second Action Conference to plan protests against the G8 summit in 2007. A week of protests is planned against the June 6-8 G8 summit, which will be held at the Kempinski Grand Hotel in Heiligendamm.

In a majority decision of five to two, the High Court dismissed the legal challenge brought by state governments, Unions NSW and the Australian Workers Union (AWU) against Work Choices on November 14.

Population growth

In his letter in GLW #690, Colin Hughes blames global warming on population growth, and calls for the end to the "baby bonus" so as to reduce incentives for population increase. He makes this claim based on the assumption that

The following statement was issued by Resistance, a socialist youth organisation, on November 16.

With the speed of global warming and the seriousness of climate chaos now firmly established in the minds of our politicians, it is urgent that they display leadership on actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The leadership so far — in that it has promoted the dirty lie of “clean coal” and the farcical view of nuclear energy as clean and green — has been ethically vacuous. The frames that the Howard government has used to drive public debate on our energy future are dangerous dead ends that will deliver huge problems to future generations.

Glenn Albrecht correctly identifies coal as the biggest contributor to greenhouse gases. But his support for a type of carbon credit scheme, whereby the rest of the world pays Australia not to mine its coal, implies confidence that the market will correct itself. However, the decisions made over the last 100 years of capitalism are precisely what has led to today’s climate crisis.

Even John Howard has got the point at last: human-made climate change can’t be denied. But the minor reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions available from existing “solutions” - from the Kyoto Protocol to Howard’s technofixes - won’t stave off further destruction. We need a radically different approach - a massive, immediate turn to renewable energy sources.

In a document released on November 25, the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) calls on the Australian government to ratify the Kyoto treaty, as part of a strategy to combat climate change.

Eight workers on strike at Thompson’s Roller Shutters in Turella returned to work on November 15 after winning a 12% wage rise over three years and other conditions in a collective agreement. The company had been the target of a number of community pickets over the preceding week.

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