Planet Emergency — Why Combating Climate Change Demands System Change

International Conference

Source: EcologíaVerde

3F København, Peter Ipsens Alle 27, 2400 Copenhagen NV

and online

We will tackle the issue of the real current state of global warming as reflected in the political decision-makers’ attempts to address the issue of climate change.


With the increasing extreme weather disasters around the world, climate change has come much closer in the everyday life of ordinary people. This is compounded by the report issued in August 2021 by the UN International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), announcing drastic and much faster global warming. It therefore also weighs on politicians to deliver much faster on reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and social and ecological transition. How is the outlook for this?

We aim to continue to pursue and reinforce our arguments and work for system change. The neoliberal era – as we know it – is at an end and persistent political attempts to combine climate policies with neoliberalism and economic growth will fail, to the detriment of the climate and us all. System change is needed to combat climate change. It is vital to understand that climate struggle is part of class struggle. This is the core of our perspective to build political, economic, social, and ecological alternatives. But global action is needed. As previously, we also wish to include a focus on combating the severe climate problems outside Europe and the responsibility of the global North in this regard.

But it is also our role to develop the debate and contribute with this and our conclusions to raising the knowledge and consciousness of climate change in the Danish, and European/international public, as well as combining this with a wider long-term eco-socialist/eco-feminist perspective.

The conference will be held in English.


Transform!Danmark – in cooperation with transform!europe, and Global Aktion, NOAH – Friends of the Earth, Solidaritet, Den Grønne Studenterbevægelse (Green Student Movement), Kritisk Revy, Enhedslisten/Red-Green Alliance, and others.

Events of the transform!Danmark climate conference cycle are described here.

Some reports are to be found under this link.


(updated: 25/2/2022)


Asger Hougaard, activist, historian and PhD fellow, University of Bergen
Absalon Billehøj, activist, deputy to the Municipal Council in Copenhagen

09:30 – 18:00 (CET): Registration and coffee/tea

10:00 (CET): Welcome

10:10 (CET): Marga Ferré, Co-President of transform! europe

Session 1 – Global Considerations

10:20 – 11:00 (CET): “COP26 Unsurprisingly failed, next steps for a long-term struggle for systemic changes”


Dorothy Guerrero, Head of Policy and Advocacy at Global Justice Now, COP26 Coalition, Philippines and Britain

We won’t be able to tackle clime change without a radical transformation of the global economy and reparations from those who fueled climate change to those facing its worst impacts. Linking the climate crisis with economic, racial, gender and social justice is the only way to cool the planet. Many are now connecting the dots and getting the message across that the fight against climate change is a fight for system change. We need to rewrite the rules of our global economic system if we want to save ourselves. What are the challenges and conflicts we need to win to put the rules we want in place? How do we strategize around the short-term processes of COP alternative summits as part of a longer-term program?

11:00 – 11:40 (CET): “Climate emergency in Puerto Rico – as a result of United States colonialism”


Paul Lippert Figueroa, Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), party leader in San Juan’s First Legislative District, community and climate activist, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is a nation in danger of extinction. If the climate crisis does not kill my nation, then twenty-first century settler colonialism will. In Puerto Rico we are experiencing the worst excesses of the capitalist climate crisis. The Fiscal Control Board of Puerto Rico, imposed by the United States’ PROMESA (Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability) Act have privatized our electric energy authority, putting 100% of our electric power and 50% of our freshwater resources in the hands of one American corporation. This same corporation refuses to pursue green energy alternatives and is non-compliant with pre-existing climate standards. The United States’ inaction in the CO26 Conference in Glasgow particularly in their refusal to eliminate the use of coal energy poses a unique risk for Puerto Rico as toxic coal ash produced by American electric companies is deposited in Puerto Rico’s southern valleys, creating a public health crisis in many of our most vulnerable communities. These climate challenges posed by the United States run parallel with a pattern of settler colonialism where Americans who treat Puerto Rico as a tax haven buy land in and around our vulnerable coastal habitats and lobby against coastal and environmental protection proposals. This behavior ignores the fact that for every centimeter water levels rise in Puerto Rico we lose a meter of coast. The climate crisis in Puerto Rico is linked to our struggle for self-determination. These colonial actions prove the United States is not a reliable partner in our struggle against climate change and poses a direct threat to our very existence. The United States must return control of our land and resources and Puerto Ricans must push for our right to self-determination and independence if we are to survive the climate crisis.

11:40 – 11:55 (CET): Break

11:55 – 12:45 (CET): Questions and debate

12:45 – 13:45 (CET): Lunch

13:45 – 16:00 (CET): Parallel sessions on
1) Green Capitalism or system change – the competing understandings of how to combat climate change. The roles of the left parties and the climate/environmental movement, and on 2) Systemic alternatives, the role of degrowth?

Session 2: Green Capitalism or system change – two competing understandings of how to combat climate change. The roles of the left parties and the climate/environmental movement.


13:45-14:15 – Ulrike Eifler, German Trade Unionist and Chairwoman of the federal working group «Company and Union» within DIE LINKE:

“How to incorporate system change as part of the ideological foundations of the left and in the trade unions?”

Forest fires and floods in 2021 showed again that climate change is pressing for a solution. The ruthless overexploitation of humans and nature brings our world to its planetary limits and shows that only a system change will avert climate change. But a system change cannot be wished for, it rather must be fought for. What exactly does that mean and who is actually the subject of this change? Left parties have to find answers to this if they really want to prevent the climate change.

14:15-14:45 – Gala Kabbaj, Espaces Marx (transform! europe network), France:

“Climate movement and the environmental issues as part of an anti-Capitalist agenda. Opportunities and difficulties for the green and left parties.”

On the basis of data collected from climate protestors and signatories of environmental petitions, Gala Kabbaj will draw a portrait of the climate movement in France and present the ideological and strategic questions it poses to the left-wing parties, as well as the relationships it establishes with each of them.

The study of national data will then make it possible to quantify the place of ecology wthin French youth, destabilizing the widespread idea of a cultural victory within this population. It will thus make it possible to understand what produces an attachment to ecology and the fact that one acts politically for its defense.

Fernando Racimo, Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen. Member of Scientist Rebellion Denmark:

“Scientist Rebellion: what ist the role of academics in enabling system change?”

13:45-16:00: Session 3 – The impact of economic growth on climate change and systemic alternatives. The role of degrowth – is there such a thing as sustainable green growth?


13:45-14:15 – Giorgos Kallis (speaking online), Greece, political ecologist, working on environmental justice and limits to growth, ICREA Research Professor at ICTA – Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

“What is Degrowth?  – Capitalism or socialism without growth”

The presentation will articulate the case for degrowth, then explain why under capitalism it is impossible to have degrowth, and why degrowth requires a post-capitalist transformation. The presentation will engage also with arguments by modernist socialists that unlimited (green) growth is possible under a hypothetical socialism.

14:15-14:45 – Ulrich Brand, political scientist, Professor of International Politics at the University of Vienna, from Sept 2021 to August 2022 Research Fellow at Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Berlin, Austria/Germany:

“Degrowth as a cornerstone for eco-socialist strategies against emerging green capitalism”

The presentation will approach the topic in a complementary way. Current debates on leftist Green New Deals or eco-socialist strategies focus – besides the questioning of the power of private capital – often on a stronger economic role of the state and massive public investment. Therefore, and in line with current debates on degrowth, a first argument is that radical alternatives need a realistic understanding of the state. Second, that a critical analysis of current capitalist dynamics and radical alternatives need to consider the international dimensions that need to be changed – i.e. the imperial mode of living. And thirdly, the emergence of a Green Capitalism is the context in which radical alternatives need to be formulated and pursued. How to refer politically to those green-capitalist dynamics?


16:00 – 16:15 (CET): Coffee break

16:15 – 17:00 (CET): Workshop/group discussion

17:00 – 18:00 (CET): Panel conclusion and short round-up