Climate change

Global warming of 1.5°C is imminent, likely in just a decade from now. David Spratt reviews several recent studies that point to this alarming conclusion.

So how does hitting warming of 1.5°C one decade from now square with the 2015 Paris Agreement’s goal of “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C”?

In two words, it doesn’t.

Below are overviews of six new books for an ecosocialist bookshelf, compiled by Climate and Capitalism editor Ian Angus. They look at the Science for the People movement, health care under capitalism, the criminalising of poverty, Yemen in crisis, the origins of everything, and communism and democracy.

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With North America and Europe experiencing bitter cold snaps and heavy snowfall over the past winter, climate scientists have recorded an exceptionally warm season in the Arctic Circle. Researchers say there is a strong link between the climate crisis marked by the Arctic temperature rises and extreme winter weather events.

Cape Town — in which some of Africa’s most affluent live — is rapidly running out of water. Population growth and a record drought, exacerbated by climate change, are creating one of the world’s most dramatic urban water crises.

The transport system in Australia is in crisis. The push by governments and the private roads lobby to build more tollways, sell off our public transport to the big corporations is worsening services, raising costs and creating a transport impasse for the public.

At the centre of this is the current transport disaster in Australia’s biggest city, Sydney.

Such is the growing alarm at the devastating impact of climate change that even some world leaders have distanced themselves from US President Donald Trump at the January World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos in Switzerland.

Trump was greeted with boos and hisses in response to his criticism of the media as “nasty, mean, vicious and fake”. At one session, even after being favourably introduced by Davos founder Klaus Schwab, Trump was still greeted with disapproving boos.

Extreme weather across the globe should prompt some serious rethinking on policies to mitigate dangerous global warming.

The major parties’ line that they support the Paris Accord is not good enough. The Paris Agreement, although well supported, is voluntary. More importantly, the goal of limiting global warming to between 1.5° and 2°C is still far from safe.

As 2017 drew to a close the climate movement had much to celebrate. Hard fought campaigns directed at potential financial backers had resulted in Adani’s Carmichael coalmine being a far less certain prospect as one by one financial options dissolved.

With major financial institutions in Australia and overseas ruling out support for the project, Adani had pinned its hopes on China as a possible funding source as well as a market for Galilee Basin coal. In spite of the Australian government oiling the wheels for a deal, all major Chinese banks backed away in the end.

 When flying foxes drop dead from the heat, parts of the Hume Highway melt and Penrith in Sydney’s west is the hottest place on Earth with a temperature of 47.3°C, it is clear that extremes of heat are having a devastating impact.  

The extreme heat during early January in south-east Australia was global news and follows the “angry summer” of 2016–17.

Fires have been burning for weeks. The level of destruction by flames is unparalleled in recent history. Acres of land burnt, homes and habitats destroyed, countless lives of animals and people lost, the list goes on.

We are coming together to recognize, commemorate, and mourn for everything lost so far, and everything that will be lost in the weeks and years to come. We are feeling the effects of climate change already, and regardless of any action we take now to lower emissions, some of these changes are already irreversible.

Join us as we stand together.

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