New Report from Climate Scientists and the Fight to Save the Planet

by Orpheus Reed | September 8, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


This past week, another sharp alarm was sounded on the accelerating destruction of the planet. A leaked draft report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a panel of the world's leading climate scientists, is predicting that "continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems." The report says, "The risk of abrupt and irreversible change increases as the magnitude of the warming increases."

The climatologists report that the complete melting of the Greenland ice sheet would raise sea levels 23 feet, submerging coastlines and island nations where hundreds of millions of people live. Above: Bangladesh flooded during monsoon season. Photo: AP

These warnings from the world's leading climate scientists underscore the urgent need for people to mobilize and step up the fight to save the planet. They also underscore the importance of the People's Climate March taking place on September 21 in New York City. The march, and other resistance and events, is timed to coincide with a gathering of world leaders for a UN climate summit on September 23.

Two Dire Warnings from Climate Scientists

The draft report contains two dire warnings. First, it points to the danger of irreversible changes to the climate system and ecosystems if things continue as they are. Second, the report says that we may well be near a tipping point where the melting of the Greenland ice sheet is guaranteed and unstoppable. The complete melting of the Greenland ice sheet would raise sea levels 23 feet.

The melting of the Greenland ice sheet, along with other melting, would submerge coastlines and island nations where hundreds of millions of people live. This could take centuries, but the pace of these changes continues to be faster than earlier scientific predictions. The pace of melting can also be influenced positively or negatively by whether or not human society continues to inject, or stops injecting, massive quantities of planet-warming greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. But no matter how long it would take, once this tipping point is reached, the melting would be unstoppable. Besides submerging vast swaths of coastal lands, including some of the world's major cities, the melting of these ice sheets will likely further alter the climate system—and this can cause even further qualitative climate changes.

Here is the reality of the situation highlighted in the IPCC draft report: "From 1970 to 2000, global emissions of greenhouse gases grew at 1.3 percent a year. But from 2000 to 2010, that rate jumped to 2.2 percent a year, the report found, and the pace seems to be accelerating further in this decade," according to an August 26 New York Times article. On current course, global warming could reach 8 degrees (Fahrenheit) by 2100. Such warming would result in "catastrophic changes." In the face of this, there have been no real efforts by the imperialist governments that dominate the world economy and politics to address the problem of global climate change.

Imperialist World Leaders Fiddle While the Planet Burns

Despite what science is predicting and the damage that global warming is already causing to the planet, "climate experts" quoted in the New York Times say that leaders speaking at the UN climate summit September 23 in New York City are not even expected to announce ambitious targets for cutting emissions. And every government involved knows that even if targets were set, there is no power or binding authority that could enforce them.

All of this is completely outrageous and criminal. In the face of an impending cataclysm threatening human life, civilization, and species and ecosystems globally, capitalism continues and is even accelerating its reliance on fossil fuels as the energy foundation of the world economies. At the same time, the various major capitalist powers make meaningless declarations about the threat of climate change and issue honeyed phrases about their intentions to get serious about cutting emissions—all to try to pull the wool over people's eyes. Meanwhile the planet burns, and the future of life on earth is being cast into a chasm.

Now, from leading U.S. imperialist spokespersons—and unfortunately even from some climate activists themselves—we hear that “the U.S. must lead on climate change." The truth is, under Obama, the U.S. has vastly expanded its drilling and production of oil and gas from new deposits in shale rock and the deep oceans, while stepping up its export of coal for other countries to burn. (See, for instance, a new article by Michael Klare, "Global Warming President Presides Over Drill-Baby-Drill America.") The only "leading" the U.S. and Obama can do on climate change is down the road of further perpetuation of the economics and politics that are destroying life on this planet.

Capitalism Is Destroying the Planet... We Need Revolution, Nothing Less

This capitalist system—the governments and corporations—are driven by profitability and the strategic need to beat out competitors to continue to find and grab up every last bit of fossil fuel, while trying to position themselves to weather the coming catastrophe, and in certain cases even profit from it. This system is completely, entirely unable to do anything of any meaning to stop this crisis! Instead, it is locking our entire planet into a death grip.

The only possible means of wrenching a different future for humanity, species, and the whole planet is communist revolution. Only this revolution—the complete overturning and elimination of capitalism and the development of a socialist system moving toward communism—has any hope of addressing the immensity and urgency of this crisis. This radically new system would have as a foundational and governing principle the preservation and protection of the natural world. (See "Some Key Principles of Socialist Sustainable Development.")

There is a way out—a plan, a vision, and a strategy for this revolution—concentrated in the new synthesis of communism developed by Bob Avakian. This revolution is fighting for a world where humanity is emancipated and natural ecosystems are preserved and allowed to recover.

And we are not waiting. We are actively working and organizing for this today. We are building a movement for revolution. We are standing up and fighting back now. The People's Climate March is a key moment to advance the fight to save the planet. In this swirl, people should learn about and get connected with the revolutionary solution to the horrors of this system and what it is doing to the Earth. Join the contingent we are building for the September 21 march: Capitalism Is Destroying the Planet... We Need Revolution, Nothing Less.

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