Strike for Climate Justice! December 11th 2009
by Jeffrey Luers
Monday, Jul. 06, 2009 at 7:42 PM
Environmental activist & political prisoner Jeff ‘Free’ Luers wrote a prison dispatch in which he made a call out for an International General Strike on December 11 2009 in solidarity with the International Demonstrations on Climate Change during the Copenhagen Climate Summit.
Around the world people are beginning to feel the heat of global warming, entire nations to tiny communities are suffering the effects of climate change.
Earlier this year deadly wildfires raged across a drought stricken Australia where the continent continues to suffer through one of the worst droughts in its history. In South America, the accelerated melting of Andean glaciers is threatening water supplies in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. In Tanzania 85% of Mt. Kilimanjaro's glaciers have already melted, severely affecting the availability of water in this African nation. A recent study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (based in Colorado, USA) has found that global warming has had a much more significant and damaging impact on the world's rivers than previously realized. The discovery now underscores a growing threat to food and water supplies for millions of people living in some of the world's poorest regions. Meanwhile an Oxfam report has warned that by 2015 the number of people affected by climate related crises will raise by 54% to 375 million people.
The impact of global warming will not just be felt by the poorer nations who are less able to respond to the crisis. In March some of the world's top climate scientists warned the U.S. Congresss that severe drought in the western portion of the United States could make tracts of land from California to Oklahoma a waste land, with heat waves in northern cities that could make life impossible.
Recent studies in the Arctic have shown that the melting of Arctic ice is happening faster than any climate models predicted. The rapid melt is threatening to leave the Arctic ice free as early as 2013. The looming crisis is threatening to create millions of climate refugees. As people flee drought plagued regions in search of water, others retreat from coastal regions in order to escape rising flood waters. The impending catastrophe demands immediate action on the part of both industrial and developing countries. However, we need more than just political action, the world needs action from the carbon emitting industries themselves.
Yet, despite the ever growing wealth of scientific evidence that the planet is warming at a disastrous rate due to human activity, industry continues to resist caps on CO2 emmissions. This resistance by the most powerful multinationals is making strict government action and regulation on climate change difficult. Particularly for leaders who fear losing corporate support and money.
The state of California, however, is demonstrating that combating climate change is not only necessary but can be good for the economy. If California were to be ranked as a nation it would be the 7th largest economy in the world. The state, under Governor Schwarzenegger, has signed laws making it mandatory to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and to 85% of 1990 levels by 2050. More over, these cuts are expected to create an estimated one million jobs.
While most of the world's governments struggle with what, if any, demands to make toward forcing immediate and strict reductions in carbon emissions, the world's poor continue to suffer the effects of a warming world. Even the wealthiest nations are unable to avoid the heat, and many industrial countries are beginning to suffer its effects. In early May scientists at Oxford University concluded a study that revealed the world has already burned half of the carbon necessary to bring about a catastrophic rise of 2 degrees celsius (3.6 F) in average global temperature. At this temperature nearly half of the world's plants and animals will be threatened by extinction. The scientists say that half a trillion tonnes of carbon have been consumed since the Industrial Revolution. In order to avoid a 2 degree celsius rise in temperature, the total amount of carbon burned must be kept below one trillion tonnes. At current rates of consumption that figure will be reached in forty years. Myles Allen, the climate scientist who led the study, had this to say about the threat of climate change. “Mother Nature doesn't care about dates. To avoid dangerous climate change we will have to limit the total amount of carbon we inject into the atmosphere, not just the emission rate in any given year.”
The world needs to begin the shift toward a non-carbon based economy. Scientists in every nation have reached the same conclusion and are warning that we must take action now to reduce CO2 emissions and invest in clean energy if we are to prevent a nearing global environmental crisis. In nations around the globe the public have demanded action on climate change. Yet, all too often their voices go unheard. There is a growing campaign to change that; reaching across borders and beyond political lines and affiliations in an effort to bring those who will be most affected by climate change together in one powerful voice.
In every nation the working class is the beating heart. It is the workers who keep society running smoothly. But, it is the working class and the working poor who will be hit the hardest by a warmer world. Which means we must harness the power at our finger tips and demand immediate action to be taken to curb greenhouse gas emissions. We need climate justice today, not tomorrow. We need deeds and not promises.
On December 11th in response to the international climate talks in Copenhagen, Denmark, we ask that everyone concerned with global warming and climate change to join us in an International General Strike demanding Climate Action. Our work stoppage can have a global impact. Together, in a show of solidarity and unity, we can demonstrate to world leaders that the global consensus is for action to stop climate change. They can not ignore our voices when we strike.
For one day we will shut the system down and demand that our governments work together to act in our best interests. On December 11th Strike for Climate Justice, Demand Action!
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