Konference 2024: How to avoid climate collapse

Årets internationale konference har temaet “How to avoid climate collapse – European Parliament elections and the role of the Left at a time of climate policy failure of the EU and national governments.”

Tid: Lørdag d. 16. marts 2024 kl 9:30-18:00
Sted: 3F København, Peter Ipsens Alle 27, København NV

Konferencens fokus bliver en diskussion af klima, miljø og den grønne omstilling som forberedelse til næste års EU-parlamentsvalg den 9. juni med talere fra Danmark, Europa og det globale Syd.

Konferencen afholdes på engelsk
The conference will be in English


It is striking how little the climate crisis weighs in the political priorities of today’s governments and politicians – compared to their fast and resolute actions around Covid 19 in the spring of 2020, and likewise the speedy decision-making after Putin’s attack on Ukraine with huge sums of money allocated to military spending.

The extreme weather conditions have been still more present this year, however the budget allocations from the European countries as well as from the EU have diminished, to a great degree because of rising costs of military spending. Rearmament and militarization as such are some of the worst factors increasing CO2 emissions. Also, the legal space for climate activism has narrowed in many countries.

On the background of the European Parliament elections in June 2024, our main focus in the coming international Transform conference on 16 March 2024 is the radical left and its role in the EP elections with regard to furthering climate and environmental policies and a social and just green transition and avoid a climate collapse. We will look into specific cases in a number of European countries as well as the EU Green Deal from 2019, the EU recovery plan from July 2020, the Climate Law (“Fit for 55”), the EU strategy for adaptation to climate change as well as the steps to confront the energy crisis.

We will also take a look at the budgets and planned climate spending of the EU national governments and the EU and evaluate the priority given to climate and environmental policies compared to military spending.

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, this time by inviting a representative from Colombia, where they have struggled to elaborate specific climate policies.

Can the left parties, together with the climate movement, address and impact on the situation and postpone a climate collapse? How to develop a social and just green transition?

How to change the priorities of governments and politicians? Militarization and rearmament have been made such a huge priority in most Western/NATO countries that it is practically destroying the effort to cut CO2 and boost green transformation. The problem is not only that the huge increase in military spending undermines the spending on climate and welfare. Rearmament and militarization as such are some of the worst factors increasing CO2 emissions.

We wish to continue the debate on how to combat climate change, and why the current policies and state of affairs in EU/Brussels, nationally and globally are insufficient. The need for system change is central in understanding the insufficiency of present policies focusing on reform of the system and not systemic change.

This is the core of our perspective to build political, economic, social, and ecological alternatives. The conference will also as previously offer a bid for more long-term versions of transformed societies: eco-socialism and eco-feminism and continue the debate on the role of degrowth.

Programme of the day:

9:30 Registration and coffee/tea
10:00: Welcome

Session 1: Global considerations

10:20-11:00: Irene Velez, Colombia, former Mines and Energy Minister, philosopher and PhD in political geography, environmentalist.

“Just energy transitions in the Global South.
– Between old inequalities and new green assets, the case of Colombia.”

The current climate crisis is a consequence of the hegemonic development model based on intensive consumption of fossil fuels over the last two centuries (IPCC, 2021). To counter the effects of this crisis, governments around the globe have set subnational targets to reduce their CO2 emissions and limit global warming (IEA, 2019). Efforts to counter this crisis, however, are enabled and materialized in different ways according to dissimilar trajectories of inequality. In the Global South, inequality gaps, colonial trajectories of dispossession, and the economic and fiscal dependence on carbon-intensive commodities are central aspects that limit the speed, available resources, and scope of energy transition pathways. At the same time, green markets are proliferating as a “solution” to the climate crises, raising questions about the risks of deepening old inequalities and enlarging existing distribution conflicts. This conference addresses the energy transition not only as a goal of technological substitution, necessary for the reduction of greenhouse emissions, but, above all, as the most important global challenge for the transformation of social, ecological and economic relationships. Analyzing the case of Colombia, we problematize the politics of change from the opportunities and difficulties that a progressive government face to materialize a just energy transition.

Irene Velez Torres’ Presentation

11:00-11:40: Cornelia Hildebrandt, Germany, Co-President transform!europe; consultant on parties and social movements of the Institute for Critical Social Analysis of the Rosa-Luxemburg-Foundation (RLS).

”On the new challenges facing the left in 2024”
The situation before the 2024 elections is different from 2019: we are still seeing the effects of the pandemic, Russia’s war against Ukraine, the difficulties countries are having in responding to the climate change that is taking place. The lines of social conflict and also the conflicts in the EU have shifted in the face of global problems.
In many EU countries, there are signs of an increased social and political shift to the right.What does this shift to the right mean for the future direction of EU policies? But what does all this mean for the left-wing parties in Europe?
How can they formulate their own answers to these open questions? How
do they deal with differences between the left-wing parties themselves, e.g. on issues of peacekeeping? What are the central projects and concerns of the left-wing parties in Europe? The lecture will focus on these questions.

Conny Hildebrandt’s presentation

11:55-13:00: Questions and debate.

13:00-14:00: Lunch

Session 2:

14:00-17:00: Panel debate on EU/Europe in a time of war and crisis: The radical left and its role in the European Parliament elections with regard to furthering climate and environmental policies and a social and just green transition to avoid a climate collapse

14:00–14:20: Nelson Peralta, Portugal. Left Bloc National Board member. Former member of the Portuguese Parliament. Biologist. Environmental policy adviser.
“Climate change: the role of the market and democracy”
There is no money to tackle climate change. The “no rules free market system” will solve the problem by encouraging big business and individuals to take action in their own interests. While we are living in increased temperatures and extreme weather phenomena these are ideas we listen to often. But are they working? Are they true? Does the “consumer” really have a choice? Does the market reward companies with climate change friendly approaches?
The carbon market allowed the most polluting companies in the European Union to profit 50 billion euros from 2008 to 2019. The carbon offset schemes are worthless. The communities that contributed less to climate change are the ones suffering the biggest impacts. And there are also portraits of a massive transfer of wealth, a huge social inequality. This social injustice explains the history of climate change and the history of other crises we are living through. In our view how should the EU respond?

14:20–14:40: Didem Aydurmus, Germany, expert in climate politics.
“Abstract Claims vs. Reality: Barriers to Effective Climate Politics in the European Parliament”
Climate change and environmental pollution are not new problems. However, after decades of climate talks and parties claiming to fight for sustainability, emissions still increase. This input will discuss the inconvenient truths behind the inaction beyond capitalism and unfortunate compliancy of the Left.

14:40-15:00: Gavin Rae, Poland, Naprzod, affiliated to transform!europe
“Military Keynesianism and the Growth of Military Spending in Poland”
The military conflict in Ukraine has accelerated the process of militarisation in Europe. Poland is at the forefront of this trend, with the government committing huge funds to build the size and strength of the Polish military. These state investments could signal the rise of a new form of military Keynesianism in Poland, whereby government military spending creates new sources of effective demand. Military Keynesianism is limited in Poland however due to fact that the majority of military expenditures are spent on orders for equipment produced abroad (primarily in the USA and S.Korea). It also potentially reduces the amount of government resources available to be spent on other things which have would have a greater social and environmental use.

15:00–15:20: Laura Horn, Associate Professor, Department of Social Sciences and Business, RUC (Roskilde University Centre), Denmark, Scientist Rebellion
“The EU as social terrain for left strategies and climate struggles”

15:20-15:35: Coffee break

15:35 – 17:00: Debate
Question panel: Irene Velez & Cornelia Hildebrandt

17:00-18:00: Panel conclusion and short round-up

Teresa del Valle, translator, linguist and school teacher
Asger Hougaard, historian

The conference is a physical conference, with a Zoom option especially provided for speakers.

Registration: kontakt@transformdanmark.dk
Reg. fee for physical participation: 100 DKK for members incl. vegetarian lunch, coffee etc. and for non-members 185 DKK to 5301-0000268457

See also: www.transform-network.net

Organizers: Transform!Danmark – in cooperation with transform!europe, and Global Aktion, NOAH – Friends of the Earth, Scientist Rebellion Danmark, Solidaritet, Kritisk Revy, Enhedslisten/Red-Green Alliance, and others

Præsentationer fra konferencen:
Irene Velez Torres’ Presentation
Conny Hildebrandt’s presentation

Opdateret 15.1.2024 med fuldt program
Opdateret 5.3.2024 med opdatering af arrangørgruppe, pris for ikke-medlemmer samt med præsentationer af de enkelte indlæg
Opdateret 8.5.2024 med powerpointpræsentationer fra konferencen