Our party is both red and green. We recognise both the inherent instability and brutality of capitalism and the limits to our ecosystem – that our planet’s resources are finite and that the ecological balance that makes all life possible on it is fragile and under threat.
Today, humanity faces the unprecedented threat of an ever worsening series of catastrophes, caused by the interlocked economic and environmental crises brought about by our current economic system. It is now clear that an increase in global average temperature of several degrees means that 50% or more of all species – plants and animals – will be driven to extinction.
Ecological devastation, resulting from the insatiable need to increase profits, is not an accidental feature of capitalism: it is built into the system’s DNA and cannot be reformed away. International policies like carbon ‘cap and trade’ that allow companies to buy the ‘rights’ to pollute, or an ecotax that ends up punishing the poor, are all measures that will not work in the long term to save the planet – instead giving the rich and powerful nations and individuals the right to continue to pollute legally.
Solutions are available and affordable, but time is short. We must urgently implement policies that reduce greenhouse gas emission levels by at least 90% of 1990 levels by 2050.
We are in favour of a massive and planned shift away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy production – for a huge expansion of wind, wave, tidal and solar based energy generation.
We are against any plans for fracking, with its potential for triggering earth tremors, polluting water supplies and causing massive damage and disruption to local environments and communities, or any other unconventional oil, gas or coal extraction methods. We also oppose a new generation of nuclear power stations.
It is possible for us to dramatically reduce our energy demands through the energy-efficiency retrofitting of homes, offices and industrial premises, and by improving transport systems. We need an energy conservation strategy involving a massive infrastructural investment and reconstruction programme to make all existing homes and workplaces energy efficient. Such a programme has been proposed in the pamphlet One Million Climate Jobs and we fully endorse its proposals.
Transport accounts for 24% of our greenhouse gas emissions and demand is predicted to continue to grow. But simply providing for anticipated demand is wasteful, damaging and unsustainable. A publicly owned and democratically controlled public transport system would not only be able to integrate its various transport modes into a seamless service but would be able to experiment with new and more environmentally benign transport solutions.
Agribusiness, concentrated into fewer and fewer hands, pollutes air, water, and soil, reduces biodiversity, and contributes to global climate change. Nowhere in Britain is power more concentrated than in the countryside. It is estimated that almost 69% of the land is owned by 0.6% of the population. We advocate the imposition of a limit to the area of land any private individual or commercial company can own and the expansion of public and social land ownership.
Fuel poverty is a major social crisis in the UK. There are over five million households in fuel poverty – needing to spend more than 10% of their income on energy in order to keep warm. We are for the public ownership of the public utilities: water, electricity and gas.
Under the current pricing system, the more energy you use, the cheaper it gets. This means that those with the lowest incomes pay the most for their energy, because they use the least, while the luxury consumption of the rich is subsidised by the rest of us. A fair pricing system would reverse this, making the first units of energy used cheap or even free, with prices increasing as usage grows.
Some climate change is now inevitable, the question is how much and for how long and how much damage will it do. For us, socialism is the best way to manage the resources of the planet and ensure their democratic distribution in such a way that we are not destroying the environment to make a profit – as the corporations and energy companies are.
In principle, genetic modification of plants (GM), a very powerful though potentially very dangerous technology, could play a useful role in developing more productive plant strains that are resistant to particular pests and diseases, more drought resistant or which require no artificial fertiliser. However, the big agrochemical companies like Monsanto, DuPont and Dow are more interested in using the technology to make farmers around the world dependent on their other products – fertilisers, insecticides and herbicides.
Therefore, while we support continuing research in genetic engineering, we also support a moratorium on the use of genetically modified organisms in commercial agriculture.
Factory farming is a major cause of cruelty to animals. It is also the cause of significant harm to human health, to the environment and to communities throughout the world.
Factory farming must be abolished and caring, sustainable farming methods put in its place.
We would abolish cruel factory farming systems such as cages and crates, stop feeding farm animals human-edible crops and stop the routine use of antibiotics on farm animals to prevent diseases that are caused by crowded and stressful conditions.
We would keep the ban on fox hunting and put an end to the badger culls.
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Left Unity is a member of the European Left Party.
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Sat 21 Mar, 12.00-18.00
March Against Racism
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