Just Stop Oil activists march in central London to save the climate. (Picture: Just Stop Oil)

Cities and towns—even in the wealthiest countries —are woefully underprepared for extreme heat, water shortages and wildfires. This is the devastating result of a climate crisis that capitalism has caused, and can’t fix. 

The heat waves ­sweeping much of the globe are exposing that, despite all the warnings, those in charge haven’t taken the steps needed to protect people and the planet. But this inaction doesn’t simply flow from their incompetence.

It comes from a system where politicians and governments are beholden to the bosses—and the drive for profit. For them, economic dominance and imperialist competition come before preserving the planet. Their task is always to keep business as usual ­running smoothly. 

That’s why at major ­climate conferences, such as Cop, world leaders don’t have the interests of ordinary people at heart. Instead they jostle to water down climate targets to keep the bosses happy.

It’s why most politicians stand by as giant companies like Shell and BP start to shed previously made climate targets. In an abnormally warm February, BP bosses dialled back an earlier goal to reduce emissions by 35 percent by 2030. Now it will instead aim for a 20 or 30 percent cut. 

Shell bosses said they wouldn’t invest ­anymore in renewable energy—apparently, there’s not enough profit to be made. And ExxonMobil withdrew funding for a project that hoped to create low-carbon fuel from algae. 

The same governments that prop up these companies and have no plans to adapt infrastructure for a changing climate also persecute those fleeing climate destruction. 

According to a report ­written by the Swiss insurance group Zurich, there could be upwards of 1.2 ­billion ­refugees by 2050. Most of these climate refugees will first come from South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America. Safe routes for refugees don’t currently exist due to racist laws imposed by the Tories, the European Union and other states. And without them, more refugees will die as they search for safety. 

Those who are taking action for the climate and demanding governments do something are increasingly finding that those in power see them as the real enemy. The police arrested 19 protesters from the climate group Just Stop Oil for taking part in a slow march through central London on Monday. 

The group vowed to escalate action until the government agrees to stop the licensing of oil and gas projects.  Protesters marched down the street with signs that read, “We won’t die quietly,” and, “This is how we win.” And in the Spanish state, four activists from the climate groups Futuro Vegetal and Extinction Rebellion were arrested by the cops for covering private jets in paint. 

The extreme heat waves this month should be a wake-up call to everyone. Just Stop Oil and other ­climate groups cannot act alone anymore. Trade unionists, ­activists and ­campaigners must join them on the streets to demand our governments and ­governments worldwide act. 

But we also mustn’t let politicians get away with saying that all that’s needed is adaptation. Cities and infrastructure must be altered to deal with the symptoms of climate change, but that won’t solve the root cause. Adaptation alone won’t be enough when the bosses’ system remains intact. 

What’s needed is a complete move away from fossil fuels and to renewables and the shaping of every industry to be more sustainable. None of this is possible in a system run on profit, not on human need. The extreme weather this week, and capitalism’s inability to deal with it, should be used as an argument that socialism is the only way to save humanity from climate destruction.

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