“How to avoid climate collapse?” The new Transform!Danmark conference will address this question by investigating the issue of the “European Parliament elections” as well as “the role of the Left at a time of climate policy failure of the EU and national governments” — in cooperation with transform! europe and several other partners. Register now!
How to avoid climate collapse?
European Parliament elections and the role of the Left
at a time of climate policy failure of the EU and national governments
Organisers: Transform!Danmark – in cooperation with transform!europe, and Global Aktion, NOAH – Friends of the Earth, Scientist Rebellion Danmark, Solidaritet, Kritisk Revy, Enhedslisten/Red-Green Alliance, and others
It is striking how little the climate crisis weighs in the political priorities of today’s governments and politicians — compared to their fast and resolute actions around Covid-19 in the spring of 2020, and likewise the speedy decision-making after Putin’s attack on Ukraine with huge sums of money allocated to military spending.
The extreme weather conditions have been still more present this year, however the budget allocations from the European countries as well as from the EU have diminished, to a great degree because of rising costs of military spending. Rearmament and militarisation as such are some of the worst factors increasing CO2 emissions. Also, the legal space for climate activism has narrowed in many countries.
On the background of the European Parliament elections in June 2024, our main focus in the coming international Transform!Danmark conference on 16 March 2024 is the radical left and its role in the EP elections with regard to furthering climate and environmental policies and a social and just green transition and avoid a climate collapse. We will look into specific cases in a number of European countries as well as the EU Green Deal from 2019, the EU recovery plan from July 2020, the Climate Law (“Fit for 55”), the EU strategy for adaptation to climate change as well as the steps to confront the energy crisis.
We will also take a look at the budgets and planned climate spending of the EU national governments and the EU and evaluate the priority given to climate and environmental policies compared to military spending.
As previously, we also wish to include a focus on combatting the severe climate problems outside Europe and the responsibility of the global North in this regard, this time by inviting a representative from Colombia, where they have struggled to elaborate specific climate policies.
Can the left parties, together with the climate movement, address and impact on the situation and postpone a climate collapse? How to develop a social and just green transition?
How to change the priorities of governments and politicians? Militarisation and rearmament have been made such a huge priority in most Western/NATO countries that it is practically destroying the effort to cut CO2 and boost green transformation. The problem is not only that the huge increase in military spending undermines the spending on climate and welfare. Rearmament and militarisation as such are some of the worst factors increasing CO2 emissions.
We wish to continue the debate on how to combat climate change, and why the current policies and state of affairs in EU/Brussels, nationally and globally, are insufficient. The need for system change is central in understanding the insufficiency of present policies focussing on reform of the system and not systemic change.
This is the core of our perspective to build political, economic, social, and ecological alternatives. The conference will also as previously offer a bid for more long-term versions of transformed societies: eco-socialism and eco-feminism and continue the debate on the role of degrowth.
9:30 Registration and coffee/tea
Session 1: Global considerations
10:20 – 11:00 Irene Vélez-Torres, Colombia, former Mines and Energy Minister, philosopher and PhD in political geography, environmentalist.
“Just energy transitions in the Global South.
– Between old inequalities and new green assets, the case of Colombia.”
The current climate crisis is a consequence of the hegemonic development model based on intensive consumption of fossil fuels over the last two centuries (IPCC, 2021). To counter the effects of this crisis, governments around the globe have set subnational targets to reduce their CO2 emissions and limit global warming (IEA, 2019). Efforts to counter this crisis, however, are enabled and materialised in different ways according to dissimilar trajectories of inequality. In the Global South, inequality gaps, colonial trajectories of dispossession, and the economic and fiscal dependence on carbon-intensive commodities are central aspects that limit the speed, available resources, and scope of energy transition pathways. At the same time, green markets are proliferating as a “solution” to the climate crises, raising questions about the risks of deepening old inequalities and enlarging existing distribution conflicts. This conference addresses the energy transition not only as a goal of technological substitution, necessary for the reduction of greenhouse emissions, but, above all, as the most important global challenge for the transformation of social, ecological and economic relationships. Analysing the case of Colombia, we problematise the politics of change from the opportunities and difficulties that a progressive government face to materialise a just energy transition.
11:00 – 11:40 Cornelia Hildebrandt, Germany, Co-President transform!europe; consultant on parties and social movements of the Institute for Critical Social Analysis of the Rosa-Luxemburg-Foundation (RLS).
”On the new challenges facing the left in 2024”
The situation before the 2024 elections is different from 2019: we are still seeing the effects of the pandemic, Russia’s war against Ukraine, the difficulties countries are having in responding to the climate change that is taking place. The lines of social conflict and also the conflicts in the EU have shifted in the face of global problems.
In many EU countries, there are signs of an increased social and political shift to the right.
What does this shift to the right mean for the future direction of EU policies? But what does all this mean for the left-wing parties in Europe?
How can they formulate their own answers to these open questions? How do they deal with differences between the left-wing parties themselves, e.g. on issues of peacekeeping?
What are the central projects and concerns of the left-wing parties in Europe? The lecture will focus on these questions.
11:55 – 13:00 Questions and debate
13:00 – 14:00 Lunch
14:00 – 17:00 Panel debate on EU/Europe in a time of war and crisis: The radical left and its role in the European Parliament elections with regard to furthering climate and environmental policies and a social and just green transition to avoid a climate collapse
14:00 – 14:20 Nelson Peralta, Portugal. Left Bloc National Board member. Former member of the Portuguese Parliament. Biologist. Environmental policy adviser.
“Climate change: the role of the market and democracy”
There is no money to tackle climate change. The “no-rule free-market system” will solve the problem by encouraging big business and individuals to take action in their own interests. While we are living in increased temperatures and extreme weather phenomena these are ideas we listen to often. But are they working? Are they true? Does the “consumer” really have a choice? Does the market reward companies with climate change-friendly approaches?
The carbon market allowed the most polluting companies in the European Union to profit 50 billion euros from 2008 to 2019. The carbon offset schemes are worthless. The communities that contributed less to climate change are the ones suffering the biggest impacts. And there are also portraits of a massive transfer of wealth, a huge social inequality. This social injustice explains the history of climate change and the history of other crises we are living through. In our view how should the EU respond?
14:20 – 14:40 Didem Aydurmus, Germany, expert in climate politics.
“Abstract Claims vs. Reality: Barriers to Effective Climate Politics in the European Parliament”
Climate change and environmental pollution are not new problems. However, after decades of climate talks and parties claiming to fight for sustainability, emissions still increase. This input will discuss the inconvenient truths behind the inaction beyond capitalism and unfortunate compliancy of the Left.
14:40 – 15:00 Gavin Rae, Poland, Naprzod, affiliated to transform!europe
“Military Keynesianism and the Growth of Military Spending in Poland”
15:00 – 15:20 Laura Horn, Associate Professor, Department of Social Sciences and Business, RUC (Roskilde University Centre), Denmark, Scientist Rebellion Danmark
“The EU as social terrain for left strategies and climate struggles”
15:20 – 15:35 Coffee break
15:35 – 17:00
- Irene Vélez-Torres
- Cornelia Hildebrandt
17:00 – 18:00 Panel conclusion and short round-up
Copehenhagen Conference Cycle — Further links: