A European group, the Copernicus Climate Change Service, has found that global temperatures of this past November were the hottest ever recorded. In November, temperatures were 0.1 degree Celsius (0.2 degree Fahrenheit) higher than they were in the two previously recorded hottest years of 2016 and 2019.
While September marked the beginning of the earth’s entrance into La Niña, a cooling phase of the water’s sea and land surface temperature, nonetheless, the cooling effects of La Niña are still not enough to offset the ever-rising temperatures. If the planet’s phases continue this pattern of global warming, widespread catastrophic disasters like droughts, hurricanes, forest fires, and heatwaves will become more frequent.
There are some naturally occurring factors that contribute to unseasonably warm weather and waters, but there is also a leading unnatural cause: human influence.
Liberation News spoke to Tina Landis, author of Climate Solutions: Beyond Capitalism. Following is a synopsis of the conversation, edited for clarity and length.
“In 2018, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that the world had 12 years to greatly reduce emissions or face climate catastrophe. Since then, the majority of world “leaders” have done nothing significant to address the looming crisis as we all witness the unraveling of our climate through rising temperatures, increasing wildfires, floods, droughts, and extreme weather that affect communities of color and the poor hardest.
“We live in a capitalist world, which is by its very nature at odds with sustainability. Capitalism must constantly expand markets and production — and in turn, profits — plundering the natural resources of the planet regardless of the environmental implications and the survival of future generations.
“Humanity has the knowledge and tools to save ourselves and stem the 6th mass extinction that is underway. What’s needed is an immediate shift off fossil fuels to wind, water and solar energy production, and at the same time, a drawing down of the legacy load of carbon dioxide that remains in the atmosphere for 100 to 150 years, which will continue to warm the climate.
“Reforestation and a shift from industrial agricultural methods to regenerative agriculture would pull massive amounts of carbon from the atmosphere, storing it in the soil. On a worldwide scale, this would cool the climate in just decades. These simple shifts would increase water retention and humidity, improve soil health, produce food that is nutritious, and increase biodiversity all at the same time.
“So the problem isn’t that there aren’t solutions. The problem is that the system of capitalism stands in the way. A shift to a sustainable world cannot happen under the free market system where a handful of billionaires determine what is produced, rather than society determining production based on need.
“We need a socialist planned economy that produces only what is needed in the most sustainable way for the long term survival of humanity and all life on the planet. Piecemeal solutions in a few countries won’t cut it. We are far beyond that. We need comprehensive global action — a ‘global Green New Deal’ — that links the indigenous knowledge of living in alignment with nature to scientific knowledge of today, that pools all of the world’s resources, and utilizes the workers of the world to carry out this ecological revolution based on local conditions.
“But this requires an internationalist perspective of cooperation across borders, not imperialist policies based on domination of other nations for the profits of Empire. The U.S. and the wealthier countries of the EU, as well as Canada and Australia, are the biggest per capita polluters and hold the majority of the responsibility for global carbon emissions since the Industrial Revolution. The Global North must pay reparations to the Global South for centuries of plunder and provide assistance toward equitable sustainable development and adaptation. This is the only way forward. Continuing on the road of competition leads only to the demise of life on Earth as we know it.
“Together we can stem the climate crisis. But how do we get there? — by educating ourselves, organizing in our communities, and building the movement for socialism and meaningful climate action. By demonstrating to others that there is hope for our survival, humanity has a future to fight for.”
Feature image: Children take part in a march during the Global Climate Strike in 2019. Credit: Garry Knight. Public domain