Below we are pleased to publish the text of the powerful speech given by Guisell Morales Echaverry, Ambassador of the Republic of Nicaragua to the United Kingdom, Ireland and Iceland, to the event we recently co-organised at the Marx Memorial Library in London, Socialist solutions to the climate crisis.
Guisell notes it’s the socialist and progressive governments – including China, Cuba and Nicaragua – that are taking the most resolute action on protecting the environment. She goes on to describe Nicaragua’s extraordinary progress tackling ecological issues whilst simultaneously bringing about a historic reduction in poverty and improvement in people’s living conditions.
She concludes: “The capitalist system is killing the planet. With its insatiable pursuit of profit and market anarchy, it’s destroying the environment, wiping out ecosystems and biodiversity, and polluting the air we breathe and the water we drink. Capitalism is driving humanity to extinction. The need to create a new international socialist economic model is urgent.”
Climate change is no longer an impending threat or hypothetical problem for future generations. It is here and now. Hurricanes are becoming more powerful. Forests are burning. Plastic and chemical waste is polluting underground water and oceans. Heat waves, drought, floods, and famine are killing people and creating an exodus of refugees. Species are becoming extinct through the senseless destruction of ecosystems.
But also, the knowledge, the science, the means are here: to decarbonise electricity grids and transport, to slashed Pollution levels, to grow food sustainable, to recycle waste, and for the forests to be replanted.
But this requires two things: planning and resources.
Capitalist countries, the historical and current biggest polluters, are not willing to carry out the radical changes that are required, because these changes are not profitable.
Only socialist and revolutionary countries are putting the planet and people over profit, with bold transformative action to curtail climate change.
Only socialist and progressive governments can bring about the daring transformations to overcome this threat to humanity.
We will hear from the panelists – from Dan Kovalik, Lauren Collins, Paul Atkin – about the efforts made by socialist, revolutionary and progressive countries to overcome climate disaster; specifically how Nicaragua, Cuba and China are making huge environmental achievements to improve the living conditions of working people in harmony with the planet.
Nicaragua Sandinista, one of the few countries in the world to be developing sustainably and with environmental protection enshrined in its constitution, has shown that with political will and leadership, even a small country (both in geographical and economic terms) can be a global leader in sustainable growth and the fight against climate change, despite the sanctions imposed by US and Europe – for daring to defend its model, its path of development, its sovereignty – and demonstrate with its example that another world is possible.
While contributing very little towards global emissions (0.02 percent), Nicaragua, 6th in the world among the most vulnerable countries, is disproportionately feeling the effects of climate change, suffering more strong and frequent tropical storms and hurricanes category 4/5: Mitch in 1998, with 3,800 deaths and 1.2 billion in loses; Felix in 2007, with 159 deaths and 700 million in loses; Eta and Iota in Nov 2020, which caused two fatalities and damages equivalent to 6.2 percent of the national GDP. Furthermore, La Niña and El Niño rainfall behavior is causing flooding and drought.
At global level, since the COP21 in Paris in 2015, Nicaragua, along with the ALBA group, and G77+China and like-minded countries, has been a strong voice urging for climate justice, based on the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities, calling for compensation and direct and unconditional cooperation, advocating for climate finance,
for the protection of forests and biodiversity, to generate clean energy and restore the right to health and life of Mother Earth and of the peoples of the world.
The developed countries continue to fall far short of the of the annual 100 billion dollars climate finance they committed to in 2015 in Paris. Thus developing countries are denied the opportunity to recover from the effects of climate injustice; are impeded in their struggle to the worst consequences for the planet and humanity.
Nicaragua, along with several nations, has demanded in recent COPs that those most responsible for environmental depredation recognise our losses, recognise the damage they have caused, and contribute to recovery.
All initiatives to elevate losses and damages to the same category of mitigation and adaptation within the framework of the Climate Convention have been blocked by United States.
Progressive Nicaragua is responding by putting humanity and people first and is doing its part.
Knowing that the extinction facing humanity can only be resolved through structural changes, the Sandinista government is building a social model based on solidarity, inclusion, and equity, focusing its human development plan on using with respect the Earth’s natural resources for social and national development, on achieving “buen vivir” (living well).
Nicaragua is implementing a series of emblematic climate and development policies, programs and projects such as the Renewable Energy Programme, Zero Hunger Program and Food Sovereignty Programme; the low interest credits and productive bonuses program for small farmers; the food packages, healthy playgrounds and school nutrition programs; the promotion of production based on agroforestry and agroecology.
These initiatives have contributed to a drastic reduction of chronic malnutrition from 27 percent in 2006 to 11.6 percent today; to the country producing 90 percent of the food it consumes; to reducing by half the rates of poverty and extreme poverty (poverty fell from 48.3 percent in 2005 to 24.9 percent in 2016, and extreme poverty fell from 17.2 percent to 6.9 percent) while cutting emissions, without compromising the economic development of the country.
The environment and natural resources are the basis of our agricultural and mainly primary economy. The poorest have the greatest direct contact with nature in their activities and poverty cannot be reduced if the environment deteriorates and natural resources are not managed sustainably.
Science and technology have been prioritized to increase production and productivity, to support mitigation and adaptation, and to overcome the losses and damages from climate change, reinforcing protection of biodiversity and the processes of desertification of the dry corridor.
Just this January, the UN Secretary General said: “If we want to avert climate catastrophe, renewables are the only credible path forward. Together, let’s jumpstart a renewables revolution and create a brighter future for all.”
Nicaragua under Sandinista Leadership started that renewable revolution in 2007, changing its energy matrix. We rank 8th in the world in promoting policies towards developing affordable and non-polluting energy.
In 2006, 54 percent of the population had access to electricity, and only 25 percent of that energy was renewable. The current coverage is 99.3 percent, and 78 percent comes from renewable source. The goal is to achieve 90 percent renewable in 2023.
Under the Strategy for the Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, we are developing the BioClima Project to capture 47.3 million tons of greenhouse gases in 20 years, integrating ecosystem conservation with sustainable production, to increase the resilience of the livelihoods of campesinos, indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples.
We are promoting community forestry, forest plantations and the establishment of agroforestry and silvopasture. We are implementing a Forest Carbon Cooperative Fund and a National Fund for Forest Investment.
We have a Policy and National Plan on Adaptation, Mitigation and Response System to Climate Change to adapt and preserve the nation’s natural areas and environmental services, implementing large forest recovery programs in Bosawás and Indio-Maíz Reserves, in the Dry Corridor and the National Reforestation Crusade, with the participation of the organised youth, schools, universities, and even the Nicaraguan army and police, with the goal of restoring 2.8 million hectares of degraded forest, improving the resilience of ecosystems and the conservation of biodiversity, to make rural livelihoods sustainable.
The Government of Reconciliation and National Unity of Nicaragua has defined as a priority the conservation, protection and restoration of the natural wealth of ecosystems and wildlife and its 20 main biological corridors, through the creation of alliances with local government and with families, through the approach of creative solutions based on nature, within the context of sustainable and local development, to improve the livelihoods of the people and communities, through the creation of municipal ecological parks, public and private wild reserves; environmental and forest bonds, forest incentives for carbon capture and creating recycling cooperatives.
To contribute to the protection of the ozone layer, we have joined the Global Methane Initiative and have completely eliminated the consumption of CFC gases.
The Comprehensive Transportation Plan of Managua has as its goal a direct reduction of 892,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the next 20 years, and we started this year the implementation of an electric vehicle programme.
Also, wastewater treatment systems coverage has increased from 19.66 percent in 2006 to 57.63 percent today.
But the programs to fight climate change and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals are undermined by the imposition of illegal unilateral coercive measures by imperial forces.
The capitalist system is killing the planet. With its insatiable pursuit of profit and market anarchy, it’s destroying the environment, wiping out ecosystems and biodiversity, and polluting the air we breathe and the water we drink.
Capitalism is driving humanity to extinction.
The need to create a new international socialist economic model is urgent.
Because we deeply believe in our own path towards a better, just and humane world, we are convinced that it is possible for all peoples.