The government has declared its hopes for a “Glasgow Agreement” at the November COP26 climate conference, but its own advisors have warned of “woeful” progress and the need for action and not just words.
Climate change committee chief executive Chris Stark said: “It’s been a year when the government has been willing to make genuinely historic commitments, but surprisingly little has been done so far to deliver on them.”
In fact, despite the bold commitments the report found that the government was currently only delivering on a fifth of its promises and another study showed that the government was completely unprepared for the fallout from climate change. The committee has specifically called for policies to improve energy efficiency in homes, restore natural ecosystems and encourage a shift to electric vehicles.
This has been the story of the capitalist response to climate change for decades, with governments promising everything but in reality backing down to the interests of capital and the profit motive. The vast majority of governments around the world are not meeting their pledge, made in Paris 2015, to keep global temperature rises well below 2C.
North Sea oil hypocrisy
What is more, not only has the government failed to follow through on its promises, but it is actively undermining its target of carbon neutrality by 2050. The government has scrapped the Green Homes Grant, allowed a new coal mine in Cumbria and now intends to approve a new North Sea oil field just months ahead of hosting the climate conference.
The project will extract 150 million barrels of oil – roughly equivalent to operating 16 coal-fired power stations for a year.
This decision sets the tone for the COP26 conference. Like all such conferences before it, the decisions and commitments made will be too-little too-late because they will prioritise profit-making and imperialist interests over the environment, exposing capitalism’s inability to resolve the climate crisis without huge risks for humanity.
To shield the 100 heads of state and 20,000 delegates to the COP26 conference from the pressure of mass protest and direct action, plans are underway to deploy 10,000 police in Glasgow each day of the conference.
This will be the largest police operation ever undertaken in the UK, and while the police claim it will be “friendly” they are already laying the groundwork to use violence against climate protesters with dog handlers amongst those being sequestered to police the event.
Join the protests
Activists from across the UK and internationally are planning to protest the COP26 conference to demand real action to stop climate change and raise awareness of the urgency. Rather than allow heads of state to propagate a false sense of security through the liberal application of greenwash, protesters will be there to challenge half-measures and long timescales and demand real action like an end to the extraction and use of fossil fuels by expropriating the big oil companies and using their wealth to fund a transition to a renewable economy.
Red Flag will be there, demanding action from governments and discussing climate, capitalism and a socialist strategy to stop climate change with other protesters. Find your local climate campaign and head to Glasgow this November to join us at the COP26 protests.