Saturday, April 2, 2016
By Ian Angus
Ian Angus is a Canadian ecosocialist activist and author. The editor of Climateandcapitalism.com, Angus is also the co-author of Too Many People? Population, Immigration, and the Environmental Crisis with former Green Left Weekly editor Simon Butler (Haymarket, 2011).
Angus is also a featured guest at the “Socialism for the 21st Century” conference in Sydney on May 13-15 as well as speaking at public forums around the country ahead of the conference. Melbourne-based community radio 3CR spoke with Angus ahead of his Australian tour. The first part of his interview is abridged below.
What are your opinions about the fallout from the Paris conference?
The Paris talks were pretty much what I expected them to be; that is, basically a pretty substantial show without really very much content. You know the old story about what’s amazing about a dog that walks on hind legs is not that he does it well, but that he does it at all.
And similarly, people seem to get excited about the Paris conference simply because there was an agreement, but the agreement wasn’t very good. In fact the agreement is just plain awful.
I mean it does have all the appropriate words in it; it says things like we should reduce average temperature by 2 degrees, and 1.5 degrees if possible, and it says things like that. But it actually contains no concrete measures whatsoever, no method of actually achieving that. It doesn’t even mention fossil fuels which is the key to all this — they have to be cut.
And it all depends on the parties to the agreement voluntarily setting their own targets and their own procedures.
We have had voluntary targets set for 20 years and nothing ever happens. What we have is like an agreement to agree to agree one day.
And it turns out that there are only two countries in the whole world that have a plan that could actually achieve the goals that need to be achieved within their country — Cuba and Tuvalu. Those are important countries, but they are very small.
And when you look at the United States, China, Australia or Canada, what you have is at best what they like to call aspirational goals. That means they have no idea how they’re going to achieve them, and actually have no intention of achieving them.
I mean here in Canada we have the thing of our new prime minister, who changed the politics because our previous prime minister was against doing anything on climate change. Our new prime minister is in favour of talking about doing something about climate change.
Global Climate Change