Climate Change – Reaching a Tipping Point?

According to a joint statement by the European Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the first three weeks of July have been the warmest ever recorded. It is predicted that this month will be the hottest on record for human civilization. Carlo Buontempo, the director of C3S, stated that the drastic increase in global temperatures is due to anthropogenic emissions. He also believes that July’s record-breaking temperatures will unlikely remain isolated this year, and temperatures will likely exceed the 80th percentile of climatology.

Record-Breaking Temps

Carlo Buontempo, the director of C3S, noted as part of the statement, “Record-breaking temperatures are part of the trend of drastic increases in global temperatures. Anthropogenic emissions are ultimately the main driver of these rising temperatures.” He continued, “July’s record is unlikely to remain isolated this year; C3S’ seasonal forecasts indicate that over land areas temperatures are likely to be well above average, exceeding the 80th percentile of climatology for the time of year.”

Among the most catastrophic consequences of the record temperatures this year have been the wildfires in Canada, which have burned more than 100,000 square kilometers (38,600 square miles), nearly double the previous record set in 1989, and blanketed the North American Northeast with toxic levels of smoke and ash. Large portions of Southern Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, and the entire Southern US were or still are under heat alerts. Floods have killed 47 people in the US, including 13 from the flash floods in July, while wildfires in Europe and North Africa have killed more than 40. Hundreds have died from heat stroke in Algeria, China, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Mexico, and Spain.

Natural Disasters

Moreover, the disasters caused by climate change are now the precursors to even more catastrophic events. The temperatures off the Florida coast—38.38 C (101.1 F)—and the extent of Antarctic sea ice—more than 2.6 million square kilometers (about 1 million square miles) below average—are indicators of what is to come. Warming oceans threaten critical coral systems and the global plankton population with disease and mass die-offs, threatening the base of the entire food chain. The lack of Antarctic sea ice constantly raises the mortal danger of land ice falling into the ocean, rising ocean levels worldwide, and permanently flooding coastal areas where an estimated 3 billion people live.

There is no longer any doubt that global warming has been caused by the exploitation of Earth’s resources by anarchic capitalist production, particularly the essentially unregulated burning of coal, oil, and natural gas for a century and a half. The pressing question is resolving the ongoing and accelerating ecological crisis.

Capitalism is to blame

“Humanity” is not to blame; capitalism is. What really blocks every effort to seriously address the climate crisis is the profit system, the subordination of economic life to private profit, and the division of the world into rival nation-states.

Every international conference to address climate change, most recently the COP27 climate summit, has ended in abject failure as a result of the impossibility of addressing a fundamentally global problem based on feuding capitalist nation-states, all of which are reneging on whatever climate pledges they made in an earlier period as they massively expand military spending.

The capitalist profit system, which organizes society based on the self-interest of the capitalist class, is organically incapable of the massive level of social planning and organization necessary to address the climate crisis.

It’s a class issue

In other words, the fight against climate change is fundamentally a class question. The impact of climate change is most directly and catastrophically felt by the working class, including through droughts, famine, wildfires, and floods. To this, one can add all the workers who labor under and die due to extreme weather and the myriad other consequences of global warming.

Therefore, all appeals to any section of the capitalist ruling elite are bankrupt. Whether led by the Democrats or Republicans in the US or the Conservatives or Social Democrats in Europe, the major capitalist powers stand exposed as incapable and disinterested in dealing with the crisis. They are more interested in enriching themselves through various “carbon trading” schemes and invading and destroying whole countries.

It is urgently necessary to arm these mounting working-class struggles with a socialist perspective for the reorganization of society on a rational basis to address human needs, not private profit. This is the only means by which the climatological catastrophe can be averted.

Originally written by Bryan Dyne of WSWS
Revised by BARD AI & Todd Smekens

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