For decades, environmentalists have put forth minimalist demands begging for climate action within the constraints of capitalism and free market orthodoxy. The results are clear: catastrophic failure. Global emissions continue to rise, fossil fuel production expands, and communities worldwide face ever worsening climate impacts.
The Era of Climate Incrementalism: A Catastrophic Failure
The political and business elite look to block even the most moderate carbon pricing schemes (that don’t really work) and renewable energy targets. National commitments under previous COP agreements are now nowhere near the cuts climate science dictates. As Greta Thunberg declared, the ruling institutions have betrayed present and future generations through their cowardice and empty rhetoric.
Meanwhile, the climate crisis intensifies—each year seems to be hotter than the last as deadly heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, floods, and extreme storms inflict harm disproportionately on the poor and vulnerable. The window to prevent runaway climate chaos closes fast while fossil fuel zealots keep plundering the planet for every last drop of oil, lump of coal, and cubic metre of gas.
Decades of lobbying, petitions, and peaceful protests have utterly failed to spur the radical economic transformation needed. The profit-crazed capitalist system marches heedlessly on towards climate suicide, with supposed political “leaders” either actively complicit or unable to challenge the omnicidal logic inherent to capitalism.
It is clear that the free market and its political servants will never implement the solutions climate science and justice demand. Incremental half-measures are doomed to fail in the face of interconnected emergencies spiralling out of control.
The Bankruptcy of the UN Climate Process
The United Nations climate process has proven itself wholly inadequate to the urgent task before us. For over 30 years, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Conferences of Parties (COPs) have merely produced lofty rhetoric and voluntary pledges that fail to meaningfully cut emissions.
Why this abject failure in the face of an existential threat? The United States, Russia, China, India, and other major fossil powers dominate the COP process by protecting their oil, gas, and coal industries. The neoliberal COP circus, divided by tensions between global North and South countries, allows carbon emissions to continue unchecked while failing to assign accountability. Promises of future technological miracles and net-zero fantasies ensure the fossil fuel regime continues to burn the planet, with profits flowing as usual.
As climate fires rage and seasonal storms worsen, the bankruptcy of the COP process is apparent. We cannot allow our survival to hinge on the empty PR gestures of those most responsible for this crisis. The time for pleading with ecocidal governments is over; only mass civil resistance can deliver climate justice now.
The advent of the climate crisis brings with it a sobering reckoning: armed conflict’s immense consumption of resources makes war’s toll more unconscionable than ever. A new analysis reveals that Israel’s continued bombardment of Gaza is not only killing many thousands; it has also unleashed a devastating carbon footprint, releasing emissions exceeding the annual totals of 20 small nations. With Gaza still recovering from the wanton destruction of homes and infrastructure, this climate injury compounds the humanitarian disaster. As climate disruptions intensify, we must recognise that war’s ravages now extend beyond immediate human suffering. All military vehicles, particularly aircraft, expend enormous amounts of fossil fuel energy that irreparably warm the planet. As global emissions push ecosystems towards irrevocable tipping points, the world cannot afford war’s immense climate penalty. Nonviolent cooperation to secure climate justice and human rights is now an existential imperative. The conflicts in Ukraine and now Gaza’s vast emissions underscore all conflicts’ unacceptable costs, hastening climate chaos that disproportionately harms the vulnerable worldwide. We must demand leaders resolve disputes through dialogue and democracy, not bombs.
The immense carbon footprint of the military industrial complex and wanton destruction from the latest Gaza-Israel conflict offers yet another sobering data point showing calls for change are not being heeded.
Confronting the Stranglehold of Fossil Capital
Among the most trenchant ecosocialist thinkers today is Andreas Malm, who argues the climate justice movement must embrace escalating tactics of strategic sabotage against fossil fuel infrastructure. With the window for incremental reform long closed, he contends that militantly obstructing new oil wells, coal plants, and gas pipelines presents our best chance at deterring climate catastrophe.
Malm claims strictly nonviolent activism is self-defeating when facing the violence of unchecked capitalism devouring the planet. He spotlights inspiring examples of direct climate action, like blocking coal ports and blowing up SUVs (or slashing their tyres), that point to an emancipatory path for confronting ecocide. Of course, reckless violence risks moral forfeiture and popular backlash. But judiciously sabotaging machines rather than harming people may prove morally justified to stop planetary destruction when all other avenues have been closed off.
Organising Revolution from Below through Solidarity
We agree that capitalist forces and captured states will never acquiesce to the emissions cuts science demands. Energising the masses worldwide around urgent climate action is paramount. The coming years will likely see escalated state repression against the environmental movement, from surveillance to militarised police violence to draconian legal crackdowns on protest. Care must be taken to avoid losing public sympathy. Yet in the face of genocidal indifference from the ruling class, interruption and obstruction of business as usual through confrontation may prove the only honourable course when all legitimate pathways for change are actively foreclosed. Our children’s future hangs in the balance.
Only eco-socialist revolutionary change has the ambition, clarity, and moral vigour to achieve deep emission cuts alongside equity and liberation for all people. We must globalise the spirit of the Italian workers occupying the GKN factory, and their plan for a green cooperative making cargo bicycles. And the Just Stop Oil protestors who continue to block roads and oil refinery gates to halt fossil fuel extraction by any means necessary.
Around the world, ordinary people are self-organising, going on strike, and taking direct action for a liveable future. The red-green alliance grows—from Indigenous protectors battling pipelines in North America to African climate justice groups resisting western-imposed “net zero” colonialism to Asian labour organisers preparing societies for managed retreat from rising seas.
Join us in embracing bold eco-socialist transformation. The time for polite appeals is over; our demands now must match the scale of injustice and risk before us. With fierce moral courage, deep solidarity, and non-violent civil disobedience, we will break the stranglehold fossil capital wields over politics, change everything from below, and give ourselves a chance at survival. The future depends on a coordinated global struggle today.
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