COP26 and the Greenwashing of Imperialism

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http://www.bfpg.co.uk

30-08-2021: Ever since the onset of “Covid” lockdowns, the climate crisis has been pushed off the front pages of the corporate press worldwide. The world’s ruling classes saw to it that the “health care” propaganda cover for the replacement of liberal democracy with fascism[1] took and held centre stage for 18 months. Now, with the approaching COP26 (Conference of the Parties, part 26) summit in Glasgow in November, there has been a slight change of emphasis. Climate change and its alter ego global warming are now back on the agenda, or at least according to the corporate spin doctors, but of course “we” still have to fight a “deadly pandemic”. Supposedly, world leaders and global captains of industry will join hands to thrash out solutions to the environmental crisis which threatens the very existence of civilisation. Allegedly, the most concerned of all for the welfare of impoverished humanity from the Third World to under-privileged pockets of the First World are some of the corporate sponsors of COP26 such as Microsoft, Hitachi, and Big Pharma operatives Glaxo Smith Kline and Unilever.(!!)[2]

IPCC Report

Needless to say, the mere suggestion that private capital and their marionette governments are primarily concerned with the welfare of anyone apart from themselves is farcical. COP26, an extension of the United Nations (UN) is yet more greenwashing of the same system of capitalist imperialism which has ground large sections of the world’s workers into the dust through scientifically and medically absurd lockdowns and facemask and vaccine mandates. The very same people, the very same corporations, the very same governments which have removed the most elementary of civil and democratic rights of working people under the guise of “Covid” cannot, by definition, be trusted decision makers on climate. The only figment of scientific reality in the whole COP26 façade is the dire reality of climate collapse which is bearing down on the planet.

As far as working people are concerned, no cross-class international body, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), can be anything other than a front for the system of the status quo. Any “solutions” such a body presents can only benefit the power elites who commissioned them. Nonetheless, the IPCC latest report only formalises the warnings of climate scientists which in fact began not 30 or 50 years ago, but in 1896. Then, Swedish physicist Svante Arrhenius laboriously calculated the first model of climate change, by demonstrating the process in which what seem like tiny amounts of carbon in the atmosphere can trap heat.[3] The warnings about the danger of the greenhouse effect hit fever pitch in the early 1990s and have intensified since then. The IPCC’s latest report – whatever its faults – is yet another last ditch call for an about turn. Titled Climate Change 2021:The Physical Science Basis,[4] it stresses there is a narrowing window for avoiding climate catastrophe, but only through immediate, deep and sustained reduction of carbon emissions, and even a system of extraction of carbon already in the atmosphere.[5]

Lived reality of ecological disintegration

Doubtless many of the members of the IPCC and the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), and much of the environmental movement, actually believe that the world climate can be addressed by the 193 member nation states[6] of the UN simply “working together”. While this remains a fantasy, the lived reality of a climate on its last legs stares us in the face. Heatwaves, droughts, floods, freak storms, wildfires and bushfires are getting worse, fuelled by the ongoing burning off of coal, oil and gas. Temperatures and sea levels are rising, rainfall patterns are changing, and the seasons themselves in some cases are becoming meaningless. In the middle of the North American summer, Colorado is seeing snow.[7] Last December, in the middle of the Australian summer, snow was blanketing parts of Tasmania.[8] Whether you call it climate change, global warming or simply pollution, it is not only altering the climate but eating away at the usual seasonal cycles.

Austria and Italy have just experienced horror floods and mudslides,[9] which are inexplicable within usual weather conditions. In July in Germany and Belgium intense storms saw 15 centimetres of rain poured down within 24 hours which simply washed away houses and cars. Tragically, as of the 20th of July 196 people had perished – 165 in Germany and 31 in Belgium.[10] Warmer temperatures means the air can hold much more moisture. While it is true that not every freak weather event can be attributed to climate change, the frequency, severity and vast extent of them when they do occur certainly can.

The bushfires in Australia during the 2019/2020 summer were unprecedented in scale and ferocity. It is estimated that half a billion animals were burnt to death, pushing many wild species to the brink of extinction.[11]  The thousands of bushfires torched 46 million acres across the continent – an area the size of the country of Syria. 34 people died, 3500 homes and countless other buildings were razed to the ground.[12] The coastal town of Mallacoota in Eastern Victoria witnessed half of its population fleeing to the beach as the bushfires roared closer, ready to jump into the ocean to escape the flames.[13] In scenes which can only be described as apocalyptic, the sky turned blood red, somewhat resembling the planet Mars from the Hollywood sci-fi film Total Recall. In the USA, as of the start of August, 91 wildfires were burning their way across the North-West, particularly Oregon, and even in Hawaii.[14]

Fight Covid and fight Climate Change?

Despite these indicators, many in the anti-lockdown movement make the mistake of drawing a straight line between Covid fraud and climate “fraud”. To some extent this is an understandable error, as the very same “New Normals” who aggressively harangued us into obeying authority on Covid are now the ones sounding the alarm (once again) about the climate.[15] In a sense the liberals who virtue-signalled by brandishing suffocating facemasks and urging the masses to “follow the science” (their ideas about science only) on Covid, are now virtue-signalling about the urgent need to take action on climate. And this just happens to coincide with the lead up to COP26. Of course there is no denying the limitless hypocrisy from this lot, but climate science (like real “Covid” science) is not theirs to vulgarise.

Some astute writers who have expertly exposed the Covid narrative as a cover for a far more sinister agenda mistakenly expand their research and analysis abilities to include climate change as another scarecrow which has no substance. They assume that because some of the same forces that brought us “The Great Reset” and lockdowns and political oppression are also climate grandstanders, this must mean that climate change is another deceit. Yet the aim of the liberal elites speaking for world capitalism on climate is not to “collapse civilisation” or “deindustrialise society”.[16] There is an objective need to achieve net zero carbon emissions – but the liberal elites aim for this in order to preserve the capitalist socio-economic formation. System reformers and their agents believe the achievement of zero carbon will stave off a series of successful workers’ revolutions. That is, they promote “climate action” precisely to prevent a generalised uprising against imperialism.

“Renewable Energy” a false messiah

Though they would scarcely admit it, much of the environmental movement channels the woke billionaires through their advocacy of the illusion of “renewable energy” – by which they primarily mean solar and wind power. The position of attempting to power entire countries – let alone the entire planet – with solar panels and windmills alone is a house of cards. It was thoroughly exposed by Jeff Gibbs and Michael Moore in their documentary Planet of the Humans,[17] where they highlight the sheer scale of physical materials needed for a solar and wind power build out of any necessary size. Coal has to be replaced as a baseload power source – of this there is no argument. Yet it is increasingly unlikely that zero carbon power can even be thought of without the significant use of nuclear energy. Notably, however, scientists who advocate the replacement of coal (and oil and gas) do NOT argue for 100% nuclear, unlike the renewable energy protagonists. Professors Barry Brook and Corey Bradshaw have argued since 2014 that the appropriate mix of zero carbon energy sources need to be used,[18] i.e., not 100% renewable nor 100% nuclear – though they suspect that nuclear will do the heavy lifting.

The renewables versus nuclear debate is a heated one but is made so mainly by the reluctance of generations of environmental activists having to admit they were misled into opposing nuclear power, and who cannot conceive that nuclear energy can indeed be “green”. For one thing, wind and solar has a technical lifespan of 20-25 years, while nuclear energy has a technical lifespan of at least 60-80 years,[19] and probably longer. This means that solar farms and wind turbines need to be torn down and replaced at least three times before one nuclear reactor needs an overhaul. The generation capacity factor – the amount of power that can be produced versus that which is produced – is a hands down win for nuclear. The capacity factor of nuclear power can reach as high as 93%, whereas the absolute maximum capacity for solar is 25% and 35% for wind.[20] Efficient use of land is also a non-starter for renewable energy. Wind farms need 360 times the land space required for nuclear energy, while solar photovoltaic installations need 75 times the land space.[21] Whereas, a standard nuclear reactor can be built on one square mile, or even less in the case of a small modular reactor.

Game-breaking TMSR Reactors

The UN backed COP26 agenda is based on the double delusion of renewable energy “saving the planet” and the trope that capitalism can somehow turn green. In the 3949 pages of the IPCC’s August report there is only one (!) reference to nuclear power – a single sentence questioning whether warmer waters from rivers can be used for cooling reactors.[22] Even if the temperature of the water needed for cooling some reactors was an issue, COP26 appears to be oblivious to the fact that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is about to test the world’s first Thorium Molten Salt Reactor (TMSR), which should be operational by 2030.[23] The development of TMSRs is a game-breaker, as Thorium reactors do not need ANY water for cooling – which is why the PRC is planning to install them in the vast semi-desert landscapes of its Western provinces. Alas, the PRC is headed politically by a conservative bureaucratic caste which has no aim to extend socialism internationally. Hence, it plays along with the COP26 sideshow, in the same way in which it props up the World Health Organisation (WHO) by enacting risible lockdowns, facemask mandates and injections to “fight Covid”.

COP26, as a front for imperialism, will also obviously not seriously address the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions – the US military.[24] Nor will it address another grave threat to a safe climate – the drive to World War III launched by NATO and their allies against Russia, China, Iran and the non-imperialist bloc. Greta Thunberg is on board with this war, having criticised Russia for not allowing some climate protests, and claiming that China being a developing country is “no excuse” for not acting to curb emissions.[25] The Swedish youth is also on board with the Western Empire’s Covid assault on working people, stating that she will now consider attending COP26 after hearing that all delegates will be offered a Covid vaccine (!).[26] In keeping with liberal political forces the world over, the backing of intense repression under the name of “Covid” merges seamlessly with NATO-led war.

The fact that the same liberal bourgeois agents enforcing lockdown fascism are now also the leading voices for “saving the planet” emphasises this fact: capitalism’s exploitation of the natural environment and its exploitation of the working class cannot be separated. Any attempt to politically address environmental degradation on its own, abstracted from the division of vast swathes of humanity into the hostile camps of labour and capital, will inevitably reinforce global capitalism. “Climate activism” which lobbies COP26, or which begs the governments of the richest countries to take “climate action” disempowers and disorients working people, as it turns them into mere letter-writing constituents.

While Marxists cannot ignore the dire ecological state of the biosphere, there can be no “climate action” which does not also lead to the desperately needed liberation of the working class. The replacement of liberal democracy with pseudo-medical Nazi-like “Covid” repression adds even more urgency to the task of proletarian revolutions in the West, combined with proletarian political revolutions in the deformed workers’ states, e.g., China. To help lead this giant endeavour, the forging of Leninist vanguard parties linked with international sections is crucial. The climate crisis, and much else besides, can only be seriously addressed when workers hold the levers of power.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com


[1] https://redfireonline.com/2021/08/17/lockdowns-and-the-twilight-of-democracy/ (22-08-2021)

[2] https://ukcop26.org/ (22-08-2021)

[3] https://daily.jstor.org/how-19th-century-scientists-predicted-global-warming/ (22-08-2021)

[4] AR6 Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis — IPCC (22-08-2021)

[5] What does the IPCC’s latest report mean? | Explainer | Climate Council (22-08-2021)

[6] https://www.worlddata.info/alliances/un-united-nations.php (22-08-2021)

[7] It’s August and it’s snowing in Colorado – NewsBreak (22-08-2021)

[8] Summer snow falls in parts of Tasmania (thenewdaily.com.au) (22-08-2021)

[9] Europe – Rain Triggers Deadly Flash Floods and Mudslides in Germany, Austria and Italy – FloodList (22-08-2021)

[10] Europe’s deadly floods leave scientists stunned | Science | AAAS (sciencemag.org) (22-08-2021)

[11] Bushfires push Australia’s rare species to extinction  | Daily Mail Online (22-08-2021)

[12] 2019-2020 Australian Bushfires – Center for Disaster Philanthropy (22-08-2021)

[13] https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/mallacoota-bushfire-thousands-trapped-on-beach_au (22-08-2021)

[14] https://edition.cnn.com/2021/08/01/us/us-western-wildfires-sunday/index.html (22-08-2021)

[15] The IPCC Report & the Pivot from Covid to Climate – OffGuardian (off-guardian.org) (22-08-2021)

[16] The “Great Zero Carbon” Conspiracy – Global ResearchGlobal Research – Centre for Research on Globalization (22.08.2021)

[17] Planet of the Humans | By Jeff Gibbs, Executive Producer Michael Moore (22-08-2021)

[18] The Society for Conservation Biology (wiley.com) (22-08-2021)

[19] The True Costs of Nuclear vs Renewable Energy – The 4th Generation (22-08-2021)

[20] What is Generation Capacity? | Department of Energy (22-08-2021)

[21] Land Needs for Wind, Solar Dwarf Nuclear Plant’s Footprint (nei.org) (22-08-2021)

[22] https://citizensparty.org.au/media-releases/china-set-test-world-first-molten-salt-nuclear-reactor (23-08-2021)

[23] https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3141581/could-chinas-molten-salt-nuclear-reactor-be-clean-safe-source (23-08-2021)

[24] The U.S. military emits more greenhouse gases than Sweden and Denmark (bigthink.com) (23-08-2021)

[25] https://www.skynews.com.au/world-news/greta-thunberg-and-china-bump-heads-over-emissions (25-08-2021)

[26] https://www.malaymail.com/news/world/2021/08/20/greta-thunberg-drops-boycott-of-cop26-meeting/1999246 (25-08-2021)

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