When we come together, we can build an alternative that protects our environment, empowers our communities, stands up for workers and creates a future of social, economic and climate justice here and in the Global South. And it is in that spirit that we will overcome the challenges brought about by climate change.Jeremy Corbyn MP
COP26 was supposed to be the watershed moment. World leaders were supposed to provide our best chance of meeting the lifesaving goal of limiting a global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. In short, their job was to prevent what leading scientists say would be a ‘climate catastrophe’.
Instead of the climate funding needed for the Global South, we were served up greenwash from a global elite protecting the interests of fossil fuel exploiting billionaires. That’s sadly no surprise when the single biggest delegation to Glasgow was fossil fuel lobbyists, who numbered over 500.
Whilst COP may be over, the fight for the necessary and vital solutions to climate change goes on. We will continue to organise, to fight and to work together to bring about the just transition and sustainability that will prevent catastrophe.
There are no market solutions to the climate crisis, only ones that return power to the workers and communities. We cannot put the future of our planet, our very survival on Earth, in the hands of greed and corporate interests. Only by working together for the common good will we succeed in preventing the devastation caused by rising global temperatures.
The Peace and Justice Project hosted a series of events as part of an Alternative COP26, which included debates and discussions on the impacts of climate change on our health and the need to defend our NHS in partnership with Unite the Union, and the future of Scotland’s railways in partnership with ASLEF, RMT and TSSA, to name just a few.
The Alternative COP26 showed great energy from our movement, with workers and unions ready to organise, mobilise and transform our economy and our environment with a Green Industrial Revolution to create a more sustainable future. Not just for the generations to come, but for those here and now whose communities and livelihoods have been devastated by flooding, wildfires and other extreme weather events.
I was also honoured to speak to the parents of 7 year old Zane Gbangbola, who died from suspected hydrogen cyanide poisoning after flooding close to their home which was built over a former landfill site in Surrey, and join their fight for truth and justice for their son.
Although COP26 has been an undeniable failure on the part of the world leaders, I was inspired by the energy, enthusiasm and solidarity our movement has shown as we come together to fight the climate crisis.
I know it is that energy and strength that will work tirelessly to defeat the proposals to open a new North Sea oil field. Cambo’s first phase alone would produce the equivalent of the annual greenhouse gas emissions of 16 coal-fired power plants, making it impossible for Scotland or the UK to meet our carbon commitments. Our movement can and will stop it.
When we come together, we can build an alternative that protects our environment, empowers our communities, stands up for workers and creates a future of social, economic and climate justice here and in the Global South. And it is in that spirit that we will overcome the challenges brought about by climate change.
- Jeremy Corbyn is former Leader of the Labour Party and MP for Islington North
Photo (CC BY-SA 2.0) from Stephen and Helen Jones on flickr.