Climate Crisis: Our Last Chance

July 2024 Forums General discussion Climate Crisis: Our Last Chance

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    That article is going to be torn to pieces for that sort of thing in the November Special Issue of the Socialist Standard.


    For those unable to wait a month to see, here’s an extract from the article:

    “the mention of ‘government controlled ‘banks’ and ‘higher wages and benefits’ makes it even clearer that what is in fact being proposed is not an entirely different kind of society from the present capitalist one but rather a varied form of it, with the hope that it will be more benign. But this is not a socialist society, since, by definition, socialism must be a society (and a world society, not one with the US-centred focus the author seems to be presenting) without governments, without buying and selling, and certainly without banks. So long as there are these elements – money, banks, buying and selling – there will be what David Klein himself correctly sees as being at the core of capitalism, surplus value, even if it is the state rather than private individuals that takes on the task of generating the surplus as capital for investment.”

    So, an illusory eco-capitalism rather than eco-socialism.


    Headline in yesterday’s “All Britain’s electricity to be green by 2035”. When you read the article it is clear that nuclear power is also included. It never used to be called “green”. In fact, it was “Greens” that used to protest against nuclear power stations and try to stop them being built.

    Even in socialism nuclear power would probably have a role to play as an alternative to burning fossil fuels, but it does seem strange to describe it as “green” in view of other problems it creates for the environment even if these can be mitigated.

    Bijou Drains

    In terms of power generation, all bets might be off in less than a decade-
    “A US science institute is on the verge of achieving a longstanding goal in nuclear fusion research.

    From the BBC News Website

    US lab stands on threshold of key nuclear fusion goal

    A US science institute is on the verge of achieving a longstanding goal in nuclear fusion research.The National Ignition Facility uses a powerful laser to heat and compress hydrogen fuel, initiating fusion.

    An experiment suggests the goal of “ignition”, where the energy released by fusion exceeds that delivered by the laser, is now within touching distance.

    Harnessing fusion, the process that powers the Sun, could provide a limitless, clean energy source……

    An experiment carried out on 8 August yielded 1.35 megajoules (MJ) of energy – around 70% of the laser energy delivered to the fuel capsule. Reaching ignition means getting a fusion yield that’s greater than the 1.9 MJ put in by the laser.

    “This is a huge advance for fusion and for the entire fusion community,” Debbie Callahan, a physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which hosts NIF, told BBC News.

    As a measure of progress, the yield from this month’s experiment is eight times NIF’s previous record, established in Spring 2021, and 25 times the yield from experiments carried out in 2018.

    “The pace of improvement in energy output has been rapid, suggesting we may soon reach more energy milestones, such as exceeding the energy input from the lasers used to kick-start the process,” said Prof Jeremy Chittenden, co-director of the Centre for Inertial Fusion Studies at Imperial College London.”

    If (and it is big if) fusion reactors prove workable large scale very clear power production will be possible.

    If only we had a sane system of producing and distributing the fruits created by the work of the many thousands of workers who cooperated together to reach that goal.


    70,000 or more people who took part in the march in Brussels

    Greenpeace Belgium told The Brussels Times on Sunday that her government’s climate pledges so far “are not ambitious enough,” but that words are no longer enough. “It is one thing to talk about climate,” she said, “and another to take concrete action.”

    “We demand ambitious, solidarity-based and coherent measures. We need a Belgian Green New Deal and we propose more than 100 concrete solutions to make it happen.”

    Banners said things like “Destroy the System/Not the Planet”


    More Chinese floods, 2 million displaced

    Not seen climate change attributed to the cause but only a matter of time before it is


    I see that Boris has once again stolen Labour’s clothes, right down to the same words:

    No wonder Starmer is floundering. As the government is saying it will do what he says he would, he can’t say much.

    I think in America they call it a Green New Deal.


    It seems people recognise the seriousness but prefer to leave change up to others.

    Am I surprised? Not really. People have a host of other problems to contend with.


    To go nuclear or not?

    “Smaller, advanced reactors like those being developed under the funding from Bill Gates and others offer novel applications, approaches, and opportunities for one of the world’s largest sources of noncarbon emitting energy, nuclear energy,” Brett Rampal, director of nuclear innovation at nonprofit Clean Air Task Force


    “Bill Gates has continually downplayed the role of proven, safe renewable energy technology in decarbonizing our economy, playing up instead more dangerous and risky technology like and nuclear,” Michael E. Mann, professor of atmospheric science at Penn State University…he finds it troubling that Gates is trying to profit now from what he calls misdirection. “It’s misguided and dangerous, because it leads us down the wrong path. The obstacles to meaningful climate action aren’t technological at this point. They’re political,”


    If the government does go in for more nuclear power you can bet that the greenies will be demonstrating against it. They probably still have their anti- nuclear banners stored somewhere in their attic. They also demonstrate against big projects like tidal barrages and dams for hydro-electricity.

    It’s as if they don’t realise to what extent modern production and living are dependent on a regular and dependable supply of electricity.


    There is a case against large centralised developments in much of Africa which lacks an electricity grid to disseminate the power.

    Nuclear energy explains why France could join the alliance for the speedy exit from fossil fuels.

    I think there will always be debate about the location of renewables. The RSPB would oppose the erection of any wind turbines in their many bird reserves, for instance.

    Horses for courses.


    Protests or not, nuclear power will increase

    China is planning to build at least 150 nuclear reactors over the next 15 years. That is more than the entire world has built over the past 35 years.

    Macron said that France will revive the construction of nuclear reactors.

    But of course, some countries such as Iran are being prohibited from going ahead with nuclear plants.

    Does the UK or the US really want Libya and Iraq and Syria to build nuclear power stations to wean them off oil?

    In socialism, that would be very different

    Other countries find them prohibitively expensive. And will take time to build, certainly not within the 2030 timeline.


    Continuing development of ‘Green Nuclear’ energy

    10 EU states, including Hungary, Finland, the Czech Republic and Poland, issued a statement that declared: “To win the climate battle, we need nuclear energy.”

    the Hungarian government explained it was motivated by ecological and economic reasons.

    “Without nuclear energy, there will be no climate protection, no green future and no low utility charges.”

    It said that atomic power was the only technology that would reliably produce electricity on an industrial scale and without greenhouse emissions in Hungary, particularly given the country’s geographical location. In addition, it said nuclear energy guaranteed affordable prices and would cover the country’s long-term energy needs.

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