Edinburgh University students in the People and Planet society invited me to speak at their meeting on the dangers of climate change Friday 27th in the David Hume tower. Here is the speech I delivered
I am grateful to the People and Planet group at Edinburgh University for the kind invitation to come along tonight and speak with you.
I have heard a great deal about the influential position your group has amongst student opinion here and I believe that was amply demonstrated by your success in stopping Boris Johnston becoming University Rector this year and in the victory of Mark Ballard.
I am glad to be here.
I picked up this leaflet recently advertising the National Climate Change march in London next Saturday, which I expect many of you will be attending.
On it much of the blame for the CO2 emissions is levelled rightly at what it describes as "George Bush's fossil-fuelled industry dominated administration!"
And you can't but agree that his government is dominated by and run for the benefit of big oil.
He went to war for oil. The biggest corporations in the world benefited from that war and they are oil companies. They have subsequently declared record profits and they wield fearsome political power over the world today.
So much so that when the world lines up the Kyoto protocol to reduce harmful emissions Bush effectively tells us all to blow it out your, well, nose!
It is therefore a measure of who we are up against here in this debate.
The second thing which grabbed my attention on the leaflet was the phrase
"Only a fair and effective international treaty can prevent tragic injustice."
I have to say fairness is in short supply in the global world today. And I am sceptical that these world leader will change their spots.
Remember the G8 in Scotland last year and how making world poverty history and climate change were to be the two big themes, well aren't you struck by how little changed? I was.
I remember as I took part in all the events of July 2005, the Make Poverty History march which was terrific and so established that we were speaking on behalf of all common humanity. The G8Alternatives summit, Faslane protest, Dungavel protest and of course Gleneagles protest itself which we did so much to ensure happened at all.
I remember at the time being fearful that no one in Washington, Tokyo, Berlin, Paris, Ottowa, Rome or Moscow was marching and was this all just British domestic matter. Nothing changed. There are more people living in poverty in the world today that there was then. The climate is in worse shape.
This is a hugely unequal world. It is more unequal now than it has ever been before; poverty and degradation for the mass of workers and peasants but the no of billionaires rises and rises and rises.
Lets not be blind to the class nature of the world today, the world belongs to us all equally.