Climate change

The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert

By Philip Guelpa, 31 May 2014

Human-induced climate change and environmental degradation threaten to cause a sixth mass extinction of life on Earth.

Study warns of “unstoppable” West Antarctic ice shelf melting

By Gabriel Black and Evan Blake, 14 May 2014

A study shows that the melting of the West Antarctic ice shelf will raise global sea levels substantially beyond the predictions of the UN.

Heat wave and bush fires engulf southern Australia

By Zac Hambides, 17 January 2014

Fire services are already stretched to the limit by the number and spread of the fires, heightening the danger of a catastrophe.

Nearly a billion ocean-dependent people at risk because of global warming

By Henry Allan and Bryan Dyne, 29 November 2013

A recent study published in PLOS Biology has analyzed the chemical changes in the Earth’s oceans caused by excessive greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate scientists warn of more super-typhoons

By Peter Symonds, 15 November 2013

Global warming raises the chances of more intense storms, such as Super Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated the Philippines.

Australia: Blue Mountains fires ignited by power lines and military exercise

By Richard Phillips, 25 October 2013

The reports cut across the knee-jerk reaction of the corporate media to blame bushfires on “arsonists” and “cigarette-butt flickers.”

The Australian bushfires and the climate change “debate”

By Patrick O’Connor, 25 October 2013

The Greens’ grandstanding over the bushfires is based on the cynical lie that the carbon tax advances a step toward a solution to the climate change crisis.

Australia: “Red October” bushfires continue in New South Wales

By Richard Phillips, 23 October 2013

Fire fighters currently face a 1,500-kilometre fire front in the Blue Mountains, where three large fires are burning out of control.

Australia: Bushfire emergency in New South Wales

By Richard Phillips, 21 October 2013

Residents face the worst fire disaster in over 40 years, with more than 50 bushfires still burning across NSW.

Major bushfires hit Australia’s most populous state

By Richard Phillips, 18 October 2013

Hundreds of homes are feared lost as bushfires rage in areas outside Sydney and the regional cities of Lithgow and Newcastle.

Recent climate change research points to a growing global crisis

By Bryan Dyne, 12 January 2013

Recent climate models show that only a complete reversal of current carbon emission trends, with the target of zero carbon emissions globally, will halt the current global warming trends.

2012 was hottest year recorded in US

By Bryan Dyne, 10 January 2013

The average temperature for the past year was 1 degree Fahrenheit above the previous recorded warmest year.

Doha climate summit concludes without agreement on emission reductions

By Patrick O’Connor, 11 December 2012

The failure of the conference was anticipated by everyone involved and met with widespread indifference on the part of the international media.

Doha conference highlights national divisions over climate change

By Bryan Dyne, 3 December 2012

The Doha 2012 climate conference, which began November 26 and will run through December 7, has been characterized by national divisions and no serious proposals to address climate change.

The growing impact and dangers of global warming

By Bryan Dyne, 27 November 2012

The impact of climate change on all aspects of life has been more concretely analyzed in reports issued over the past decade.

The future study of hurricanes at risk

By Bryan Dyne, 6 November 2012

The end of the current generation of environmental satellites will likely produce a gap lasting up to four years, in which crucial data used in predicting the intensity of hurricanes will not be collected.

Melting of Greenland ice shelf likely caused by global warming

By Bryan Dyne, 2 August 2012

The sudden melting of the Greenland ice shelf is an indicator that global warming is beginning to have a very widespread impact on human life.

Rio+20 climate conference: “An epic failure”

By Nicholas Russo, 28 June 2012

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, which drew to a close in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, last Friday, has been denounced by environmental advocates as a “hoax” and “an epic failure.” Despite already low expectations before the meeting, the summit testifies to the stagnation in global efforts to address the looming climate crisis.

In lead-up to climate summit, scientists issue warning of biosphere collapse

By Nicholas Russo, 12 June 2012

An international group of scientists published a review article in the latest issue of Nature arguing that the human impact on the Earth's biosphere could lead to an ecological disaster in as little as a few generations.

Extreme weather forebodes point-of-no-return for climate change

By Nicholas Russo, 20 April 2012

An unusual heat wave east of the Rocky Mountains has made March 2012 the warmest March on record for the contiguous United States.

Capitalism and the climate change crisis

By Patrick O’Connor, 11 June 2011

Record levels of greenhouse gas emission constitute a damning indictment of the capitalist system.

Evidence of intensifying climate change grows

By Dan Brennan, 26 January 2011

Global surface temperatures for 2010 matched record highs, with the past decade the hottest ever recorded.

Cancún climate negotiations end without agreement on emissions reductions

By Patrick O’Connor, 13 December 2010

United Nations-sponsored climate change negotiations in Cancún, Mexico concluded last Saturday without any agreement between the more than 190 national government delegations on binding carbon emissions reduction targets.

The oil spill and the food web

By Dan Brennan, 30 June 2010

Scientists warn that the Gulf oil disaster threatens to poison organisms at the base of the food chain.

Climate scientists exonerated in hacked emails inquiry

By Chris Talbot, 26 April 2010

An independent inquiry into the conduct of scientists at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia in Britain has found “absolutely no evidence of any impropriety whatsoever.”

Australia: Opposition leader unveils slush fund for corporate polluters and agribusiness

By Patrick O’Connor, 9 February 2010

Liberal leader Tony Abbott last week released the opposition coalition’s new climate change policy, pledging to establish a multi-billion dollar public fund to be placed at the disposal of the largest corporate polluters and agribusiness interests.

Marxism, socialism and climate change

By Nick Beams, 22 December 2009

The problems of climate change are so profound and far-reaching that they require the rational mobilisation of all available economic, material, scientific and technical resources, something that is only possible only under socialism.

Climate change, emissions trading schemes and the profit system

By Patrick O’Connor, 21 December 2009

Public meetings called by the WSWS and the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) in Sydney and Melbourne last week exposed the real agenda behind emissions trading schemes and the official climate change “debate”. The following is the report delivered by WSWS writer Patrick O’Connor.

Australian SEP meetings discuss socialism, climate change and emissions trading schemes

By our reporters, 19 December 2009

Public meetings in Sydney and Melbourne this week exposed the real agenda behind emissions trading schemes and the official climate change “debate”.

World climate conference: Conflict outside and inside Copenhagen meeting

By Patrick Martin, 17 December 2009

Danish police battled demonstrators outside the world climate conference in Copenhagen, while inside the delegates of the imperialist powers, China, India and dozens of less developed countries clashed over conflicting proposals to deal with pollution caused by industrialization, deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels.

Ireland suffers widespread flooding

By Jordan Shilton, 8 December 2009

Thousands of people were forced from their homes across Ireland last month after torrential rain caused severe flooding.

Copenhagen Climate Summit: The gulf between rhetoric and reality

By Peter Symonds, 7 December 2009

Even before the climate summit begins today in Copenhagen, the goal of a legally binding international treaty to limit greenhouse gas emissions has been ruled out.

Global climate diagnosis worsening

By Peter Symonds, 7 December 2009

An international group of leading climate scientists has updated the 2007 IPCC report based on the substantial body of scientific research published over the past three years. Their conclusions not only confirm the trends reported in 2007, but in a number of key areas exceed previous expectations.

Australia: Bipartisan carbon trading deal transfers $6 billion from households to corporate polluters

By Patrick O’Connor, 26 November 2009

The final terms of the government’s so-called Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme—set to be approved by parliament this week and to commence operations in 2011—underscore that the mechanism has nothing to do with protecting the environment, but is driven by the interests of corporate Australia.

Severe dust storm hits Australian coastal cities

By Alex Safari, 29 September 2009

A huge dust storm blanketed large areas of Australia’s southeastern coast last Wednesday, covering cities and towns in the states of New South Wales and Queensland, before moving out to sea towards New Zealand.

Australian government announces more pro-business concessions on carbon trading

By Patrick O’Connor, 15 May 2009

Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd last week announced a series of changes to his government’s carbon emissions trading scheme, including additional public subsidies to the major polluters and a one year postponement of the scheme’s start-up date.

Antarctic ice shelf collapse: climate change and capitalism

By Patrick O'Connor, 8 April 2009

The disintegration of a 40-kilometre ice bridge connecting the Wilkins Ice Shelf to the Antarctic Peninsula is another indicator of the threat posed by climate change.

Australian Labor government’s 2020 carbon emissions target: a declaration of impotence on climate change

By Patrick O’Connor, 23 December 2008

The Labor government’s target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 5 percent below their level in the year 2000 by 2020 constitutes an admission that it has no effective solution to the climate change crisis.

Australia: Climate change, the Garnaut report, and the profit system

By Patrick O’Connor, 17 September 2008

The Labor government’s Garnaut Climate Change Review has effectively concluded that within the existing international political and social framework, dangerous and potentially irreversible global warming is inevitable.

US: White House suppressed climate change testimony

By Shannon Jones, 10 July 2008

A former official with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has alleged that Vice President Dick Cheney intervened to alter testimony to Congress about the potential health and safety dangers posed by greenhouse gases.

The EU strengthens “Fortress Europe” against migration due to climate change

By Ajay Prakash and Antoine Lerougetel, 7 May 2008

The European Union is responding to the present and projected catastrophic effects of climate change on the most vulnerable populations of the world, and their inevitable migration in order to survive, with an intensification of already draconian anti-immigration controls.

Australia: Rudd government rejects emission targets in official climate change report

By Patrick O’Connor, 14 March 2008

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has dismissed key sections of an interim climate change report released last month by Professor Ross Garnaut, in particular the assessment that Australian carbon emissions may need to be cut by 90 percent or more. The response highlights the Rudd government’s hypocrisy on global warming, which was a major feature of Labor’s campaign in last November’s federal election.

Hawaii climate change summit ends without agreement on emission cuts

By Patrick O’Connor, 5 February 2008

Rivalries between the world’s major powers have again dominated a major international climate change summit, with a two-day meeting in Hawaii producing no agreement on greenhouse gas emissions targets. No concrete measures were announced aside from a schedule for further discussions later this year.

Bali climate conference ends in farce as US vetoes emission targets

By Patrick O’Connor, 17 December 2007

The UN-sponsored climate change conference held on the Indonesian island of Bali ended on the weekend without any agreement on combatting global warming other than vague generalities. A last-minute, face-saving communiqué was issued but, at the insistence of the Bush administration and its allies, it made no mention of specific carbon emission reduction targets. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had recommended a cut in carbon emissions of 25 to 40 percent in the advanced industrial countries by 2020 and a total world emissions reduction of 50 percent by 2050.

Bush administration isolated at Bali climate conference

By Patrick Martin, 14 December 2007

The two-week UN-sponsored conference on climate change on the Indonesian island of Bali has been dominated by the intransigence of the Bush administration and the mounting conflicts among the great powers, particularly between the United States and the European Union.

Australia: Labor government moves to ratify Kyoto Protocol ahead of Bali climate change conference

By Patrick O’Connor, 8 December 2007

On Monday, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd signed the instrument of ratification of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. This move—which marks the first step in the formal ratification process that will see Australia become a full Kyoto member by March 2008—was heralded in a Rudd press release as the “first official act of the new Australian government, demonstrating my government’s commitment to tackling climate change”.

Climate change, Kyoto, and carbon trading

Part 1: The Howard government and the Kyoto Protocol

Patrick O’Connor and Alex Safari (SEP candidates for Grayndler and Kingsford Smith), 7 November 2007

The following is the first of a two-part series. Part 2 will be published tomorrow, Thursday November 8.

Reports show impact of climate change in Africa

By Barry Mason, 18 July 2007

A recent news item on Britain’s Independent Television News by Martin Geissler highlighted the impact of climate change on sub-Saharan Africa. He reported from Lesotho, a country of less than two million people, which forms an enclave within South Africa.

G8 summit: Climate compromise masks mounting conflicts

By Peter Schwarz, 9 June 2007

The 3,500 reporters and photographers who travelled to the G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, have accomplished their assigned mission. The world has been inundated with reports of progress and idyllic photos: Bush, Merkel and Putin sitting relaxed and chatting in beach chairs; Sarkozy and Blair talking over a glass of beer; a harmonious walk on the beach of the picturesque resort by all of the world leaders.

Climate change seen as “security threat” by UN Security Council, US military experts

By Naomi Spencer, 24 April 2007

On April 17, the United Nations Security Council held its first-ever discussion on climate change as a serious threat to security and future political stability. In addition to the 15 council member states in attendance, 38 other UN member countries sent representatives to speak. Although no action was taken at the meeting’s conclusion, its very convocation reveals growing uneasiness within the world’s ruling powers about social unrest that would come with global warming.

Despite interference from US and other countries

Climate change report outlines dire impact of global warming

By Mark Rainer, 10 April 2007

On April 6, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the Working Group II Summary for Policy Makers from its report on “Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.”

Congressional hearings detail political tampering in US climate research

By Naomi Spencer, 22 March 2007

Hearings resumed March 19 in the US Congress on charges of political interference in governmental climate research. The evidence and testimony further demonstrate the lengths the Bush administration, at the behest of the oil industry, has gone to suppress scientists’ findings and confuse public opinion of climate change.

The NSW state elections and the climate change debate

the Patrick O’Connor, SEP candidate for Marrickville and NSW (Australia), 9 March 2007

The following comment by Socialist Equality Party candidate Patrick O’Connor was distributed to a local candidates forum convened by the Climate Action Now group in Marrickville. O’Connor was one of four candidates contesting the inner-Sydney seat in the March 24 New South Wales election who addressed the meeting. Others speakers were Carmel Tebbutt, the current Labor member for Marrickville, Fiona Byrne for the Greens and Pip Hinman from Socialist Alliance.

Scientists report rampant political interference in climate research

By Naomi Spencer, 5 February 2007

As the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its urgent assessment Friday, providing alarming information about the advanced state of global warming, Washington immediately moved to downplay the US contribution.

Australian television program highlights censorship of climate scientists

By Frank Gaglioti, 17 April 2006

An Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) program entitled “The Greenhouse Mafia”, which appeared in February on the “Four Corners” television series, highlighted the Australian government’s censorship of eminent scientists studying climate change and its subservience to business interests that are heavily dependent on fossil fuels. Scientists from the state-funded Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) were specifically prohibited from discussing the potentially devastating consequences of governments’ failure to reduce greenhouse gases.