The extraordinary cold wave that has struck Europeonce again brought forth the debate on climate change and its hazardous impacts on human life. Severe snow storms have completely disrupted life, with flights and trains cancelled and traffic grinding to a halt on major roads.The cold spell, nicknamed “the beast from the East” in the UK, is carrying freezing winds across the continent. In different parts of Europe, the weather has been given alternative names. To the Dutch, it is the “Siberian bear”, and the “snow cannon” to the Swedes. According to the AFP news agency at least 46 people have died as a consequence of these storms. However this environmental crisis and the menace of climate change is not a natural disaster. It is the outcome of the capitalist system in its terminal crisis — brutally exploiting and crushing the working classes and spreading unprecedented poverty, inequality and devastating the planet’s environment. The restoration of capitalism in Russia, China and Eastern Europe has led to a huge expansion of the corporate capital and this has dramatically increased the global ecological crisis on multiple terrains. The consequences of a global fossil fuel based energy system are clear today. As a result of the rising global temperatures; the ice caps are shrinking, sea levels are rising and water tables are drying up, threatening agriculture with water logging and desertification. Extreme weather conditions are becoming more frequent and widespread. The effects of super-typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines surpassed the scientists’ warnings in scale. The control of water resources has always been a key component of tensions between Pakistan and India, since the majority of the water that flows through Pakistani rivers enters from Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK)and other neighbouring countries. Wars over water resources will erupt in the period ahead, which will add to the bloodletting of proxy wars and insurgencies which are already devastating large swathes of humanity for the obscene profits of the military industrial complex Scientists agree that a global surface temperature rise of 2°C over preindustrial levels would trigger harsh climate feedbacks, which once initiated, will be impossible to stop. Melting ice sheets and glaciers threaten a catastrophic rise in the sea level, threatening coastal cities around the globe as well as island communities and low lying countries such as the Maldives and Bangladesh. The vast Western Antarctic ice cap is showing signs of instability, if it melts this could raise the sea level by seven meters. In addition — air pollution has increased at an alarming level,killing more people worldwide each year than even AIDS, malaria, diabetes or tuberculosis. Air pollution is arguably the greatest environmental catastrophe in the world today. The automobile industry and fossil fuel conglomerates dominate world economy and politics. Regimes dependent on corporate finance capital and the upstart bourgeois and petit bourgeois anti-smoking campaigners dare not challenge these corporate giants. From traffic pollution; every man, woman and child inhales carbon emissions equalling 45 to 60cigarettes per day in Beijing, Delhi, Lahore, Manila and many other metropolitan cities.In Britain, Germany and the United States, traffic congestion costs totalled $461billion last year, or $975 per person. This congestionis much worse in the daily “road rage” traffic jams in under developed countries. As the earth’s temperature rises we can expect a devastating impact on fresh water resources with increasing droughts and heat waves. The glaciers are retreating at an unprecedented rate and the aquifers are drying up. The rivers are losing their capacity. More than 50 percent of the world’s freshwater comes from mountain runoff and snowmelt. Wars over water resources will erupt in the period ahead, which will add to the bloodletting of proxy wars and insurgencies which are already devastating large swathes of humanity for the obscene profits of the military industrial complex. To feed the rising global population without resorting to the heavy use of pesticides, herbicides and GM food that destroys the biosphere the masses must be given food sovereignty. This means that people must be given the rights and means to define their own food systems. It would give control to those who produce, distribute and consume food rather than the corporations and market institutions that dominate the global food system. It would mean an end to land grabs and would require extensive land redistribution to put real estate in the hands of those who produce the food. But such a system is only possible through the installation of a planned economy after the elimination of the system of profits on which the food and agricultural sector is based. Possibly the biggest single most damaging aspect of the environmental crisis is the impact it is having on biodiversity – what is called ‘the sixth extinction’. An increase in global average temperature of around three degrees, for example, would means that 50 percent of all species – plants and animals – will be driven to extinction. A quarter of all mammal species are at risk. The acidification of the oceans that is taking place means that coral reefs are dying off, as are organisms that rely on calcification for their shell structure. Our own future as a species cannot be separated from this crisis of biodiversity. Environmental issues in Pakistan include deforestation, air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution, climate change, pesticide misuse, soil erosion, floods, natural disasters and desertification. These are serious environmental problems and they are getting worse as a consequence of the economy’s distorted expansion and population growth. Those at the top of Pakistan’s economic hierarchy are devastating fertile land for short term exorbitant profiteering. These are the same people who control most mainstream political parties and sections of the state’s elite. Hence,preservation of the environment merely receives lip service. The World Bank in its latest report on Pakistan’s environment status refers to the current scenario as a “vicious downward spiral of impoverishment and environmental degradation.” To end this erosion of the atmosphere by the menace of capitalist profitability there will have to be a struggle to “change the system, not the climate”. To organise the victims of climate chaos, their ecological survival has to be included as part of this revolutionary programme. However, if this struggle remains with in the confines of capitalism,it will become redundant. This means that all the seething problems tormenting oppressed peoples have to be brought into the mainstream and the struggles of these deprived peoples supported. However, their solutions and emancipation can only be achieved with the victory of the class struggle. The writer is the editor of Asian Marxist Review and International Secretary of Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign. He can be reached at ptudc@hotmail. com Published in Daily Times, March 5th 2018.