Climate change: between catastrophe and the impossible

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  • Despite the catastrophes and the human suffering that they have caused, capitalism has continued to show its starkest face.
    Despite the catastrophes and the human suffering that they have caused, capitalism has continued to show its starkest face. Source: CC License.

This year, numerous extreme meteorological phenomena have affected the countries of the Global North. Even so, the political class remains determined to maintain a system on the brink of environmental and social collapse.

Naiara Fernández López


Spokeswoman of Fridays For Future Barcelona.

Vertical photo: 
Naiara Fernández López
Square photo: 
Naiara Fernández López
Horizontal photo: 
Naiara Fernández López

Over a year ago, different states and institutions began to declare a climate emergency, a moment they used to paint themselves green and make promises to the wind. Since then we have seen almost no or very little progress in the fight against the climate emergency, despite the fact that we suffer and feel its consequences increasingly closer. Said consequences are the result of a lack of political action that has characterised the last few decades.

At times during this summer we’ve had the feeling of finding ourselves in a dystopian film when we tried to assimilate the news that came from different parts of the world: heat waves stalking the United States and Canada that reached heretofore unimaginable temperatures, devastating floods in Germany and Belgium, more floods in China, where those affected numbered in the hundreds of thousands, fires throughout the Mediterranean causing devastation from Sardinia to Turkey in the middle of another heat wave that reaches historical records, more fires that no longer appear in mainstream media, like those of Siberia and the Amazon, whose forests continue to burn year after year, rainfall for the first time at the highest point in Greenland... Despite the catastrophes and the human suffering that they have caused, capitalism has continued to show its starkest face, reminding us once again that this system prioritises profit over people's lives. We find a clear example in the city of New York, where due to the high temperatures the mayor asked the population to reduce electricity consumption, including air conditioners in the midst of a heat wave, while the advertising screens in Times Square were still running at full power.

The new report published by the IPCC this August is conclusive: climate change has been caused by the way of life of a part of the world's population, a model that requires the indiscriminate burning of fossil fuels and changes in land use to remain viable. The extreme meteorological phenomena that this year have hit the countries of the Global North but that have been causing disasters for years in parts of the world whose responsibility for climate change is negligible will be increasingly frequent and intense. Even with all the scientific data that become clearer with each new report and all the episodes that have been experienced this year, the political class is still stuck on climate denialism. Blind to the avalanche of information that confirms the evidence, they prefer to continue with the fairy tale of unlimited economic growth by investing millions in outdated infrastructures and policies. This is the case of the agreed expansion of the Barcelona airport, with the aim of increasing the city’s already overcrowded tourism, which displaces citizens, increases rental prices and decreases wages. All of this to continue enriching a few, to continue prioritising private profit over social interests.

We need a change of course. We need to stop the car in which we find ourselves accelerating straight towards a cliff and to change direction, to put everyone's life at the centre. This will happen on September 19 in Barcelona, we will say NO to an expansion of the airport imposed and desired by the elites, we will say NO to the destruction of life. Because to face the climate and social emergency we need to organise ourselves, we need to imagine the impossible that only united citizenship can make possible.

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