This week, the Met Office issued the UK’s first ever red extreme heat warning, as temperatures in parts of England climbed over 40oC, posing a risk not just to the most vulnerable, but to the young and healthy as well.
This heatwave has exposed the cracks within society under capitalism, showing how fragile our services and infrastructure have become as a result of years of cuts and crisis.
At the same time, it has demonstrated what climate scientists have been saying for decades: that Britain is not prepared for the climate catastrophe – a wolf that is already at the door.
Horror without end
Heatwaves such as these will become the new normal under capitalism.
Already, we can see that seven of the top ten hottest days in the UK have occurred since the year 2000. And according to the Met Office, the chances of seeing 40oC days in the future could be as much as 10 times more likely.
Public services such as the NHS, already decimated by years of austerity and privatisation, will be unable to respond to life-threatening calls. And other privatised infrastructure – such as water, transport, and energy – are at severe risk of system failure, resulting in water shortages, road closures, travel chaos, and power outages.
All of this will have the combined effect of causing thousands more excess deaths each year. No wonder that Lenin described capitalism as “horror without end”.
Profits before people
The disruption and meltdown seen across the country as a result of recent extreme temperatures are a warning of what is to come, unless immediate action is taken to avert disaster.
Yet the ruling class – and their representatives in Westminster and the media – have tried to brush this aside as business as usual, accusing scientists of being “harbingers of doom”.
This climate denial attempts to defend the broken status quo by refusing to acknowledge the problem, or its root cause: the capitalist system, which is killing our planet as a result of its insatiable thirst for profit.
The only genuine solution is for mass investment into renewable energy alternatives, as well as into buildings, transport, services, and other infrastructure, in order to provide greater resilience to rising temperatures and more extreme weather patterns.
All of this, however, requires that society’s resources are planned rationally. But this is in contradiction to the laws and logic of capitalism – an anarchic system based on private ownership and short-term profits.
Power to the workers
The bankruptcy of the capitalist system finds its reflection in the Tory Party. All the leadership hopefuls have proven from their voting records and previous actions that they are not interested in tackling climate change.
Instead, Tory candidates are looking to go in the opposite direction: pushing for further austerity to public services, and pandering to big business and their party’s reactionary climate-sceptic membership.
We can therefore have no trust in capitalist politicians to solve this urgent problem. Only the working class has the power to bring about the changes necessary to fight the climate crisis.
Fight for revolution
The NHS, along with all other public services and important infrastructure, should be taken out of the hands of the bureaucrats and bosses, and into the collective ownership and control of the working class.
Investment into green energy sources, adaptation measures, and funding for scientific research should be paid for by expropriating the profits of the super-rich.
And the banks, major monopolies, and key levers of the economy should be nationalised – without compensation, and under democratic workers’ control – in order to plan production according to the needs of society and the environment.
Only in this way can we rapidly reduce emissions, and protect ourselves from the dangers of heatwaves, droughts, storms, and floods, whilst raising living standards for all.
This is the bold socialist programme that workers and youth must fight for. To stop climate change, we need revolutionary change.