Like everywhere else in Puerto Rico, the small mountain city of Adjuntas was plunged into total darkness by Hurricane Maria. When residents left their homes to take stock of the damage, they found themselves not only without power and water, but also totally cut off from the rest of the island. Every single road was blocked, either by mounds of mud washed down from the surrounding peaks, or by fallen trees and branches. Yet amid this devastation, there was one bright spot.
It is a pleasure to close today’s conference which has shown once again that it is our Party that is coming up with big ideas.
And we’re not talking about ideas and policies dreamed up by corporate lobbyists and think tanks or the wonks of Westminster, but plans and policies rooted in the experience and understanding of our members and our movement; drawing on the ingenuity of each individual working together as part of a collective endeavour with a common goal.
Our best hope now is an immediate return to the flow. CO2 emissions have to be brought close to zero: some sources of energy that do not produce any emissions bathe the Earth in an untapped glow. The sun strikes the planet with more energy in a single hour than humans consume in a year.
The global economy is facing numerous structural challenges. With the looming fourth economic revolution characterised by even more technological development and mechanisation, the future of productive labour is bleak. Most unskilled and semi-skilled workers are likely to lose their jobs. Even some skilled workers are not spared from this emerging catastrophe, as numerous job categories – such as brick-layers – are increasingly becoming redundant.
I read lots of articles these days pointing to the rapid expansion of renewable energy as a reason to be hopeful about our unfolding climate crisis. Unfortunately, the climate doesn't care how many solar panels and wind farms we build.
At the People’s Climate March back last spring, all along that vast river of people, the atmosphere was electric. But many of the signs and banners were far too focused on electricity. Yes, here and there were solid “System Change, Not Climate Change”-themed signs and banners. But far too many of the slogans on display asserted or implied that ending the climate emergency and avoiding climatic catastrophes like those that would occur months later — hurricanes Harvey and Irma and the mega-wildfires in the U.S.
THIS year has seen renewable records smashed in the UK. On 21 April, the country went a whole day without using coal to generate electricity – the first such day for 135 years. Then on 7 June, particularly sunny and windy conditions meant that renewable sources supplied more than half the UK’s electricity.
Achievements like these make it sound like the green revolution is well under way. Many think the growth of renewables is now unstoppable, and that clean energy will entirely replace fossil fuels in the not-too-distant future.