'Our crises of climate, inequality, the Covid 19 pandemic and democracy are all linked, and all require radical solutions that put people and planet before the interests of the multinational profiteers'
Jeremy Corbyn is MP for Islington North and former leader of the Labour Party
The recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was a code red for humanity and a critical warning that we can’t go on like this.
We need radical and rapid change to our dangerously broken and destructive political and economic system before it’s too late.
That change must be environmental but also social and economic. Our crises of climate, inequality, the Covid 19 pandemic and democracy are all linked, and all require radical solutions that put people and planet before the interests of the multinational profiteers, be they the polluting fossil fuel giants or the massive pharmaceutical companies aligning with reactionary governments to stop all the world getting the COVID-19 vaccines that are needed.
People around the world are already hurting, even dying from “natural” disasters, forced displacement, food shortages and more as a result of climate change. Many regions around the world are seeing more and more climate refugees.
A coalition of big polluters and big banks, propped up by weak politicians too scared to take them on, is stealing our future. That’s why I’m proud that our Peace and Justice Project is part of the COP26 Coalition – a UK-based civil society coalition of groups and individuals mobilising around climate justice during the talks in Glasgow.
The reality is that the climate emergency is already with us here and now.
Global problems such as these need global solutions. That is why we need an international “fair share” agreement at COP26 that sees the countries that are historically responsible – including the UK – paying our fair share to support other countries.
Climate justice also means tackling global inequality head on – those who have done the least harm suffer the most and the first, and that’s why the voices and demands of the Global South need to be at the centre of our campaign for climate justice.
Climate change is an issue of inequality in other ways too.
The rich and powerful have caused climate change. The vast majority of emissions are caused by the top 10% and a handful of fossil fuel companies are directly responsible. But it is low-income people who are paying the price. And deepening climate change will exacerbate existing inequalities and struggles. For these reasons climate change is also a class issue, a workers’ issue and a trade union issue. Working people here and around the globe have faced years of rising insecurity and flatlining incomes; climate change will make all of this worse, hitting workers hard. We face massive change in every industry – especially but not only fossil fuel industries – and it is vital workers are protected. That’s why we’ve been working particularly with the COP26 trade union caucus to ensure that workers are at the heart of these demands: so we see a genuinely just transition. There will be a trade union bloc on all 11 national demonstrations – We will bring our movements together: trade unionists and environmentalists side by side for justice.
The UN’s COP global climate summits should be where governments make the necessary global agreements – But so far they have failed and with Boris at the helm it seems unlikely COP26 will deliver what is necessary.
Yet humanity will not survive and cannot afford another tragic missed opportunity – that’s why we must all be out on the streets from London to Glasgow to Manchester to Newcastle to demand climate justice.
I can’t wait to be in Scotland during COP26 to add my voice – and more importantly raise up the voices of others – to propose the radical and rapid change we need for a better, more equal future for people, health and planet.
- The Alternative COP26 Climate Conference hosted by Jeremy Corbyn’s Peace and Justice Project will take place in Glasgow and online, working with trade unions and campaigns across Scotland, Britain and the world. Bringing together speakers and cultural figures, the PJP will host four days of talks, discussions and performances to ensure that the voices of workers and under-represented groups are recognised. The event is from November 8-11 and full details are at https://thecorbynproject.com/cop26/
- Please also join the COP26 Day of Action – the global COP26 Coalition are organising a global day of action for climate justice on 6 November including regional demonstrations across Britain, including the #WeMakeTomorrow trade union blocs. Find your nearest bloc – https://www.wemaketomorrow.org/action
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