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The Sixth IPCC report confirmed by the calamities of the summer

Tuesday 7 September 2021, by NPA Ecology Commission

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The scientists of the IPCC are unequivocal: “Climate change is spreading, accelerating and intensifying”. The mega-fires in Russia, Turkey, Greece, France, Algeria and the United States, the catastrophic rainfall and flooding in Belgium, Germany, China and India attest to this.

The Group 1 0f the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its report this summer (1400 pages which provide a synthesis of 14,000 scientific articles): 234 authors from 66 nationalities worked on it. Also published is a “Summary for Policy Makers”, aimed at a wide audience [1] For the first time, the IPCC has taken a close look at the extreme events whose number is escalating. We now know that there will be "tipping points", in particular a possible rise in water levels of 5 metres. The consensus is increasingly solid: "unequivocally", it is human activities that have warmed the atmosphere, land and oceans since 1750, "Each of the last four decades has been successively hotter than any decade since 1850" .

Torrential rains and fires across the planet

Summer after summer, we could get used to it. And yet we are surprised by the scale of the phenomena: in Cologne, in mid-July, there fell in a few hours as much rain as in July-August in a normal yea; 200 people were killed in this region of Germany and political life has been very strongly shaken up. The dispute over the climate issue rages on.

Once again, fires have set the planet ablaze. In Greece, events took on the character of a national disaster as the heat wave that preceded the mega-fires , social destruction, land speculation and the destruction of public services made everything worse. Everything is intertwined: hundreds of animal species have been reported to be endangered by fires, such as the red deer in Greece and Hermann’s turtle in the Var.

What to do ?

Group 1 of the IPCC was mandated to establish a finding on solid scientific bases, with the task of making recommendations going to groups 2 and 3 who will submit their reports in 2022. This sixth report is not satisfied with a single scenario; it examines several “possible climate futures” with differentiated reductions of CO2 emissions. But by not daring to consider a change of course as radical as that initiated in the eighteenth century by entry into the hard core of industrial capitalism, by not daring to emphasize the need for a change in civilization, the trajectories in response that are examined are all technical, capital-compatible : "negative emission technologies, TEN" (capture and sequestration of gigantic quantities of C02 underground) which are only so far at the stage of prototypes t, with formidably dangerous consequences on the social and ecological level; or “Low carbon technologies” , nuclear power to put it bluntly. [2]

Need for radicalism ...

Some writers, such as the Frenchman Christophe Cassou, however, express this absolute urgency for radical measures: "Without an immediate, strong, sustained and large-scale reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, we will not be able to limit global warming to less than 2 °C. We have to move to that without detour or procrastination”. [3] Knowing that this will challenge productivism, consumerism and private ownership by big groups. As Daniel Tanuro says: “The alternative is dramatically simple: either humanity will liquidate capitalism, or capitalism will liquidate millions of innocent people in order to continue its barbaric course on a mutilated and perhaps unlivable planet. "

… And broad action!

Sixty days before COP26 in Glasgow, let us already point out the global mobilization on Saturday 6 November. May this deadline be an opportunity for us to advance our proposals, which aim to take care of people and ecosystems, to make social questions ecological and ecology social. The contours of another society, ecosocialism, will then emerge .

Translated from the weekly L’Anticapitaliste-number 580, 2 September 2021.


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[2See the analysis of the report by Daniel Tanuro “On the brink – the scenario that the IPCC is not modelling”.

[3Quoted in Mickaël Correia, “« Rapport du Giec : le changement climatique s’aggrave », Mediapart, 9 August 2021