Much of the planet will be unliveable by 2050 – according to leaked UN report

Japhy Barrera, is a member of the YCL’s Birmingham branch

A leaked report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) paints a bleak picture of the future of the Earth. The report, which totals 4,000 pages, is the most in-depth look yet into how the extraction and usage of fossil fuels will kill, and in many ways has already killed our planet.

The report projects that the Earth will warm to an extent double that which was accounted for at the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, causing potentially lethal heatwaves in coming years and decades. By 2050, coastal cities will succumb to deadly floods and storms putting hundreds of millions at risk. Further, tens of millions of people will be at risk of chronic hunger and hundreds of millions at risk of water scarcity and drought in the next decade alone. The IPCC makes clear that these changes are not natural, and are man-made; the damage caused is becoming increasingly irreversible, and humanity will go extinct because of it if urgent action is not taken.

Because the report has not been released officially, the UN and its affiliated bodies have refused to comment on the information presented within it, only stating that its content is subject to change prior to its publishing. Scientists worldwide have posited that February 2022, the scheduled release date of the report, may be too late to take the action necessary to stop climate catastrophe. Research by the IPCC is often foundational for international meetings regarding climate change, yet even with the imperative nature of the topic, no measures are being taken to publish the report any sooner. 

More than anything, the events unfolding have further highlighted the futility of international bodies as they pertain to making substantial change. Just last month, a UN vote regarding the termination of the US blockade on Cuba resulted in 184 in favour, with just 2 against, being Israel along with the US itself. Although the vote ended in an overwhelmingly clear outcome, little-to-no action will be made in making that outcome a reality. The US and NATO are consistently immune from international regulation, while countries straying from the neoliberal agenda are bullied and sanctioned into submission.

This has been similarly displayed concerning US action on climate change. The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, which was heavily criticised for its lack of urgency, saw the US withdraw after just 2 years. The Biden administration re-entered the deal earlier this year, but little tangible action has been taken in actually reducing greenhouse gas emissions as agreed upon. The truth is that the fossil fuel industry, vastly owned by the United States’ capitalist class, has a firm hold on international climate policy. This parasitic and counterproductive industry continues to ward off necessary changes in energy production in favour of its own profits, and lobbies governments all over the world to ensure this stays the case.

Only bodies free of the chains of special interests are capable of dealing with this crisis, and with the US at the core of the issue, the situation looks more and more hopeless.The planet as we know it will be gone in less than 30 years if action is not taken. Those in the global south are undoubtedly going to be made victims of the actions of countries in the imperialist core.

Food shortages, drought, fatal heatwaves; the ongoing negligence can be described as nothing more than the genocide of our planet’s most vulnerable. Watching David Attenborough documentaries will no longer suffice; detailing the severity of the issue whilst simultaneously prescribing no real solution is utterly opportunistic and privileged. This capitalist incorporation and distortion of climate activism has created a culture of inaction and complacency. In reality, humanity is left with two choices: socialism or extinction.

Japhy Barrera

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