by Raymond Lotta
April 26, 2021 | revcom.us
The global Earth Day summit convened by Biden was a cruel imperialist deception, a slap in the face for anyone who cares about the fate of the planet. A summit that showcased pledges and proposals that fly in the face of what science tells us about the urgency of the environmental crisis and the scale of action needed. Greta Thunberg, the global climate activist, righteously called out the summit for what it was: “bullshit.”
1. Biden committed to a target of a 50-52 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030—a measly drop in the carbon bucket relative to the catastrophic situation of rising global temperatures.
Global warming is leading to the collapse of polar ice sheets and ever-faster rise of sea levels … greater frequency of extreme weather events … the prospect of widespread crop failures … and is magnifying the burdens and horrors that climate change already places on the oppressed populations of the global South. The Biden target is obscenely out of whack with this reality—and with the culpability of U.S. capitalism-imperialism in the environmental emergency that humanity faces. Keep in mind:
- The U.S. is responsible for the greatest amount of greenhouse gases that have accumulated in the atmosphere, and is today the second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases (carbon and methane produced by fossil-fuel based electricity generation, transport, industrial and agricultural production, fracking, etc., that trap heat in the atmosphere).
- The U.S. is the largest oil and gas producer in the world.
- The U.S. uses far more fossil fuels per person and produces more carbon pollution per person than any major economy in the world.
In short, the Biden targets are not a fundamental draw-down from fossil-fuel-based production and the fossil-fuel infrastructure of the U.S. And these inadequate targets are not even binding or enshrined in law!
2. Bullshit carbon emissions accounting.
When the U.S. says they are going to reduce emissions in the range of 50-52 percent, greenhouse gas emissions caused by their genocidal military machine is not even in the scope of discussion, and completely untouched. The U.S. military is the largest institutional consumer of oil in the world, and a key pillar of U.S. imperial domination. Nor do they include the emissions caused by their cheap-labor/pollution-intensive global supply chains of exploitation—a network of companies in other countries that send products like iPhones back to the U.S. for assembly, packaging and sale.
The bedrock principle of Biden’s climate program is what is called “zero net emissions.” This means that carbon can be pumped into the atmosphere as long as it is based on promises of carbon “removal” at some far-off date. Meanwhile, the carbon is doing its damage in the atmosphere. Just as bad, the whole idea is based on completely unproven technologies to suck up and store carbon emissions. So this is NOT zero emissions (which means no carbon emitted); it is not the radical transition away from fossil fuels that is needed to deal with catastrophic changes in climate and threats to biodiversity. “Zero net emissions” is a dangerous fantasy and deception that prolongs fossil-fuel production and consumption.
3. When Biden says the U.S. must become “the global leader” in combating climate change, he means that U.S. imperialism must respond to and utilize the climate crisis to maintain U.S. dominance in a world imperialist order that is facing new threats: environmental and geopolitical.
The Earth Day summit was the first major diplomatic offensive of the liberal imperialist Biden administration. Under the fascist, climate-denying Trump, the U.S. moved away from global negotiations and agreements. Meanwhile, rising imperialist China has been moving to extend and cement its global influence. This summit represented a move by U.S. imperialism under Biden to drape itself in the mantle of “climate concern,” to regain and reassert U.S. “soft-power” authority in the global arena, and to set its terms for how this environmental emergency will be responded to. Not in the interests of world humanity and towards saving the planet—but, rather, preserving U.S. dominance in the system of capitalist-imperialist property rights, profit, and plunder that is destroying the planet.
THE ENVIRONMENTAL CLOCK IS TICKING…
ONLY REAL REVOLUTION GIVES US THE REAL CHANCE TO SAVE THE PLANET