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Environment

A socialist society is a society that recognises humanity’s place in nature and lives with nature on the basis of sustainability. This means the provision of renewable forms of energy, and recognising that energy underlies almost all forms of production, transport and living.

The global environmental crisis has its origins in the capitalist drive for profits regardless of the social or environmental cost. The current global environmental crisis is already causing immense human suffering and death, while diminishing finite resources. These multiple crises threaten global peace and security.

Capitalism is an unsustainable system. The environmental crisis has been largely created by the rapacious exploitation of the Earth’s resources by the capitalist ruling class. Ignoring scientific evidence, this class continues to aggravate the crisis with a disregard for the consequences of its activities. The response of governments in the developed capitalist countries to the climate crisis shows greater interest in safeguarding corporate profits than the environment. Historically the capitalist class has always specifically targeted poorer nations and exploited their resources as a means of pacifying its own working class.

In Australia the climate catastrophe is current. Australia is experiencing soil salinisation, desertification and deforestation, pollution of the air and freshwater systems, destruction of waterways and a major loss of biodiversity. This is the consequence of unregulated capitalist exploitation and the impacts are felt most by the working classes. Conversion to a more sustainable economy will bring a healthier economy as well as a healthier environment.

Changes necessary for more sustainable production would require more workers, not fewer. The maximum participation of workers, unions and community is needed for this shift in industry and jobs to succeed. Decent work and job creation and training are central to sustainable development, workers and workplaces are at the centre of production and consumption in society and have a key place in transforming production at all levels.

To alleviate some of the worst features of the environmental crisis, the CPA advocates:

  • Nationalisation of Australia’s electricity generation, distribution and supply infrastructure.
  • Developing a national energy plan, with legislated targets, for transition to an ecologically sustainable energy system.
  • Massively investing in research and development of alternative renewable energy sources under public ownership.
  • Transfer of government subsidies from fossil and nuclear fuel sectors to energy efficiency, renewable energy, and transition programs.
  • Making energy efficiency and conservation key determinants of urban planning and central to government economic and industry policy.
  • Legislation and enforcement for efficiency and safety standards requiring motor vehicles, electrical appliances and power generating machinery, chemical processes including transportation, etc.
  • The provision of an expanded, nationalised public transport infrastructure. More frequent and more reliable public transport services that are publicly owned and operated, and new services to outer suburbs.
  • Extensive provisions of infrastructure to be developed for cyclists.
  • Reopening country and regional rail lines for freight and passenger service under public control.
  • Restoration of Australia’s water systems and provision of adequate safe drinking water for communities through coordinated national planning.
  • Phase out unsustainable water hungry industries such as cotton and rice-growing.
  • No provision of free potable water for mining processes.
  • Planning to be undertaken so that Australia will take responsibility and provide for environmental refugees driven from their homes by the effects of climate change or other environmental catastrophes.
  • Closing all uranium mines in Australia and cancelling contracts for the export of uranium.
  • Opposing the establishment of nuclear waste dumps in Australia.
  • Increasing research and development in energy and climate mitigation that can be used to stimulate underdeveloped economies in order to achieve a global equity of energy and resource use, and quality of life, in the course of achieving global sustainability.
May 2019

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