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Socialist Party Repoy

Socialist Party correspondence


Dear Jennifer

Thanks. I think I need to begin by explaining why and on what basis we are standing in this election. It is to raise the issue of the need for socialism and only that. We hold that global socialism, where the Earth's resources both natural and industrial have become the common heritage of all humanity, is the only framework within which the problem, for instance, of climate changes (but many others too)can be effectively and lastingly tackled. We are only seeking votes and support on that basis and that it why we do not have a list of specific policies to be applied within capitalism. Also, because we hold that under capitalism profit-making will always take priority over anything else so that most such policies are never likely to be adopted anyway.

As to your two specific questions:

1. Yes, we do accept that in a socialist society the burning of fossil fuels to generate electricity will have to be restricted as this has been clearly identified as the main cause of global warming and climate change. Whether this will involve capping the use of fossil fuels at a certain percentage of known reserves is a decision to be made by socialist society as part of an overall, Earth-wide policy on the matter. Other factors to be taken into account would be that there are other uses than burning to which fossil fuels can be put(eg manufacture of plastics)and maybe a safe method of burning them without releasing CO2 into the atmosphere can be found. At the moment it is not possible to draw up, for implementation in a socialist world, a plan with detailed figures and objectives; all that can be done now is to outline possible scenarios, ways, and options of tackling the problem. In fact, climate scientists and others have already come up with these, but they are unlikely to be implemented as long as capitalism exists. Nor is the cap of 20% of known reserves likely to be either, given the commercial and geopolitical pressures that inevitably exist under capitalism and which have so far prevented and will go on preventing the necessary co-ordinated global action. It is a policy aim that could only be implemented in a socialist society.

2. As stated, we ourselves do not advocate any specific policies to reduce CO2 emissions, though we accept the need for this and are sure that in a profit-free, one-world socialist society scientists will be able to come up with effective ways to do this. As also stated, we don't think that anything effective can or will be done to achieve this as long as the capitalist economic system dominates the world. Once again, the Earth's resources will first have to become the common heritage of all as the only framework within something effective to do this can be done.

I hope this clarifies our position.



Dear Adam

Thank you for responding to our letter (see below). Please could you clarify your position? Are you saying that your party does not currently have any specific policies on climate change? Even so, will your party commit to working towards a cross-party agreement to pursue policies nationally and internationally to cap the exploitation of fossil fuels at 20% of known reserves, in order to ensure global warming is less than 2Degrees C?

Finally could you answer the two specific questions that we asked:

1) Does your party accept, in principle, the need to leave 80% of known fossil fuels reserves in the ground?

2) Which of your party's policies will ensure the rise in global temperatures is restricted to below 2 degrees C and how will they achieve this level?

I appreciate that this is a busy time for you, but we would be most interested in further clarification of your views.

Your sincerely

Jennifer Marsden

Low Carbon Headington


Hi Jill

Thanks for your questions on this. Below and attached is our reply. If you would like one of our candidates (we are contesting Oxford West & Abingdon as well) to speak on the problem at a meeting of your organisations just let me know.

Adam Buick

Election Agent


Capitalism versus the Climate

The Socialist Party accepts that global warming is slowly taking place and that the past and present release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels is largely responsible. So, yes, there is a need to cutback on this by employing alternative methods of generating energy.

As this is a global problem, to deal with it requires co-ordinated action on a world scale but this is proving impossible under capitalism because of vested commercial interests and the security of energy supply considerations of the various competing states into which the world is divided.

As Naomi Klein has pointed out in her recent book This Changes Everything:

Capitalism vs the Climate, it is the capitalist system of production forprofit by competing enterprises that is responsible both for the existence of the problem and for impeding effective action to deal with it. Some timid and wholly inadequate measures may be agreed at international level but that’s the most that will happen under capitalism, as we explain in this article “Too Little, Too Late”:


This is why we say that the only framework within which the problem can be rationally and lastingly dealt with is where the Earth’s natural and industrial resources have become the common heritage of all humanity. Tomake this point, and to encourage action to bring about such a world, is one of the reasons why we are standing in this election.

We have no specific policies for dealing with the problem within capitalism. In fact we think this is a waste of valuable time – fiddling while Rome burns – as the problem continues and gets worse. We know that the scientific knowledge and the technological ability to deal effectively with the problem exist and are confident that they would be rapidly applied once world capitalism has been replaced by a world of common ownership, democratic control and production directly for use not profit.

Naomi Klein’s book is reviewed in the current (February) edition of our magazine here:






Dear Kevin,

Socialist Party policy on climate change

To have some chance of keeping future climate change from moving into unknown and possibly catastrophic levels, climate scientists agree that global temperature increase must be restricted to below 2 C.[1] Accordingly, at the Copenhagen Conference in 2009, 167 of the world’s

governments (representing countries responsible for 87% of carbon emissions and including our own) subscribed to that figure.

To keep within that limit, it is calculated[2] that the world can afford to pump only one trillion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere - that is the total global carbon budget. It doesn’t matter exactly when this is done but the limit must not be exceeded. This in turn means leaving 80% of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground. [3]

On behalf of Low Carbon Headington, Low Carbon South Oxford and Global Justice Oxford, we are writing to all prospective parliamentary candidates to ask the following:

  • Does your party accept the need to leave 80% of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground?
  • Which of your party’s policies will ensure the rise in global temperatures is restricted to below 2C and how will they achieve this level?
  • What is your personal commitment to ensuring these limits are adhered to?

On 14 February 2015, David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband

signed a joint pledge to tackle climate change. Point three of that pledge stated the intention “to accelerate the transition to a competitive, energy-efficient low-carbon economy and to end the use of unabated coal for power generation.” Capping the exploitation of fossil fuels at 20% of known reserves will force that transition to occur. We think it is essential for political parties to work together on this and strongly support the joint pledge. Will your party commit to working towards a cross-party agreement to pursue policies nationally and internationally to cap the exploitation of fossil fuels at 20% of known reserves, in order to ensure global warming is less than 2C?

We would be grateful for a reply before March 31st so we can share your response with our members, supporters and local residents.

Yours sincerely,

Jill Haas

Low Carbon Headington

See The Guardian, 8 July 2014: UN. Issued With Roadmap On How to Avoid Climate Catastrophe

[2] See eg article in the Guardian by Damian Carrington, 7th January

2015 reporting research from U.C.L. on un-burnable fossil fuels.

[3] See eg Carbon Tracker report 2011, Un-burnableCarbon, warning that the world’s financial markets are carrying a‘carbon bubble’.

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