Cop26: Fiddling while the world burns

Awash with fossil fuel lobbyists and corporate sponsors, the latest ‘climate conference’ was just another greenwashing exercise for monopoly capital.

Proletarian writers

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Climate change is already having very real consequences for the poorest people in the poorest countries. Meanwhile our rulers pretend to be responding to our concerns while actually conducting a massive PR and fundraising campaign for the emperors of finance.

Proletarian writers

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The Cop26 beanfeast conclusively demonstrated the stifling grip exercised by monopoly capital over society, at every turn hindering efforts to free us from the anarchy of production inherent in capitalist commodity production and the ensuing destructive consequences both for humankind and for the natural environment.

There is no way that imperialism could ever lead society in any other direction than toward further crises of destructive competition, overproduction and war, no matter how plausibly its greenwashing apologists may argue to the contrary.

Corporations dominate the proceedings

If anybody harboured illusions about the real purpose of the Cop26 jamboree in Glasgow, viewing it naively as an opportunity for politicians and governments to be ‘held to account’ by those whom they claim to represent, these illusions must have been sorely tested by the sight of corporate apologists dominating proceedings.

No longer content to be simply the ‘power behind the throne’ of bourgeois governments, their lobbyists were all over the pitch, jogging delegates’ elbows and shaping policy. The eco group Global Witness counted over five hundred fossil fuel lobbyists buzzing around the conference, noting that they outnumbered the official indigenous constituency by roughly two to one. (‘A crime against humanity’: the ‘greenwash festival’ of Cop26, Media Lens, 8 November 2021)

In fact, the head count of fossil fuel emissaries outstripped the head count of official delegates of any country! The ‘power behind the throne’ was now sprawling all over it.

A web of deceit and confusion

Over the last 30 years, the major polluters have waged a propaganda war to obscure the true scale of the damage to the environment caused by fossil fuels, weaving a web of deceit to lull public opinion so that profit-taking may proceed unhindered. In a useful article, Media Lens quoted climate activist Stephen Barlow on the way in which the public has been systematically lied to concerning the true challenges facing mankind.

He writes: “After the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, political leaders, fossil fuel companies and general vested interest gave the impression the problem was fixed, that there was no need for people to turn to green politics, because mainstream politics had fixed the problem.

“In the following years, in the 1990s, we had oil companies taking out big full page adverts in BBC Wildlife Magazine, National Geographic, etc, saying how they were switching their business model to renewables. Politicians presented all these rosy views of green growth, all sorts of carbon trading schemes and generally giving off the impression that the problem was fixed, and the future was green.

“The problem is, unlike the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, where it took nearly 30 years to find out everything we were promised was a scam and it just kept on getting worse – in 30 years’ time (in fact far less) we are going to be in serious trouble.

“This is as evil as it gets. This is an orchestrated PR scam to carry on with business as usual. Where various elements like politicians, the mainstream media, billionaires, royalty and vested interests, combine to maintain business as usual, with fraudulent presentation.” (Ibid)

Whilst virtuously blaming the failure of Cop26 on the reluctance of China and India to cripple their economies by shutting down the use of fossil fuel technology overnight (leaving the monopoly barons of fossil fuels to get off scot free), the hypocritical British government is right up to its neck in dodgy deals over fossil fuels with the likes of Saudi Arabia and Opec.

Indeed, shortly before Cop26 kicked off, British foreign secretary Liz Truss popped over to Riyadh for talks on a trade deal with the corrupt feudal monarchs of the Gulf Cooperation Council, in line with the department of trade and industry’s open embrace of what it sees as “significant opportunities in Saudi Arabia’s energy market for UK businesses, especially in oil and natural gas”.

In particular, Saudi Aramco is drilling deep down into gas reserves off the Red Sea coast, and British companies are queuing up for a slice of the action.

Humanity will ultimately have to decide: profit or people?

No matter what postures British imperialism may have struck in Glasgow, what really drives policy is the implacable push for maximum profits, with competition between rivals sharpening as each seeks to trample over the other in the mad scramble for top share in markets that are already glutted.

In this struggle, imperialism can have no permanent allies, only permanent interests, and this axiom holds true even (or especially) in moments of existential threat to the human species. There will be no suspension of ‘business as usual’ just because of a science-validated global climate crisis.

Only the overthrow of the decaying and irrational system of imperialism and the socialisation of the means of production by the revolutionary workers will ensure a productive and sustainable future for humanity.

Only the revolutionary initiative of the working class can ensure that imperialism is the eve, not of war and environmental disaster, but instead of the social revolution, securing a rational and progressive future for mankind.

It is only the socialist revolution that will see us through these testing times. You have indeed got to be Red to be green.