A hybrid article for next edition of Concrete


The TUC demo in London on the 20th October had all the ingredients to be just like the student protests at the same time two years ago – minus the ambition and rage. Crucial elements. In that time, it seems like everyone has grown bitter about the process, and now sound like the old union heads bemoaning the Tory government in the Chandos pub in Trafalgar Square over their copy of the Socialist Worker. It was a re-affirmation of why I hate marches (while they have a place, they can be incredibly stifling), despite having gone on the climate/UKUncut bloc to avoid the standard speeches and ragged slogans.

It seems hard superficially to relate so many different things to trade unionism, but after all the slogan of ‘a future that works’ certainly applies to something as far-reaching as climate change. Tax avoidance and climate change seem unlikely bedfellows but they are part of the same wider picture – climate change affects us all, though disproportionately the poor. Mitigation and adaptation requires money, unfortunately, which isn’t going to be provided by the ConDems (thank you Mr. Osborne) because they let the 1% dodge an estimated £95 billion a year whilst cutting public services and causing massive job losses. Of course in an ‘Austerity Britain’ we must grin and bear it and talk about less controversial issues – like the weather.

But even the weather is becoming controversial; there are new papers all the time about the melting of ice sheets and changing ecosystem dynamics as a result of climatic changes, not forgetting the ‘Frankenstorm’ hurricane Sandy, which undoubtedly has a worrying climate context, even if not directly caused by warming. The magnitude and frequency of storms like this is projected to steadily increase as the warm ocean conditions needed for their formation occur more regularly, and as atmospheric conditions feed storms as they grow.

The convergence of two unlikely political parties is reminiscent of the disastrous convergence of the two weather systems that made up the hurricane – catastrophe will ensue in both cases. However, I keep going to these things despite my scorn because I don’t want my fears of national and international destruction to be realised, and nobody can turn a tide on their own, except Moses.



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About shakkka

Londoner, climate scientist, extremist. All views are my own.

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