Climate protection is one of the most discussed topics of our time. For some years now, it has been impossible to imagine the public discussion without it, bourgeois politicians are tearing their mouths apart about the protection of the earth, the young generation in particular is moved by the environmental destruction that is being carried out and also in the revolutionary movement some people run behind this topic. What is lacking and is shown again and again is a Marxist approach to this issue, even if some claim to have already given it. The argument is often, that we need socialism at first. Until then climate protection only can be a dream.

So the most important starting point to approach this question correctly is to look at the main contradiction on world. This contradiction is between the imperialist countries and the oppressed nations. A handful of rich imperialist countries exploiting and subjugating the great mass of oppressed nations. Whether through imperialist wars, the exploitation of raw materials, the export of capital and much more, this is shown anew every day. The so-called „energy transition“, i.e. the conversion from the old climate-damaging forms of energy production to new supposedly sustainable forms, is not exempt from this.

Foreign wind farms in Mexico

The German-French television channel Arte recently published an interesting documentary on wind power in Mexico that shows this very well. Large wind farms comprising thousands of wind turbines have been built on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec for years. 30 wind farms, each with about 2000 wind turbines, have been built for an impressive investment of 10 billion euros. The operators of these wind farms are not companies from Mexico, but foreign corporations, mainly from Spain, France and Japan. Huge areas that were once used by the indigenous peasants for cattle breeding or growing food are now used by corporations from the imperialist countries to generate energy, which rake in fat profits with their "green electricity". According to Arte, the poor farmers who live at the foot of the wind turbines live on an average of the equivalent of three euros a day. They have nothing from the profits of the big corporations. One farmer in the documentary says: "They blame climate change to drive us off our land and take it away from us". The only ones in favour of the construction of the wind farms are the large landowners of the region, who often lease their land to the foreign corporations cheaply but nevertheless lucratively.

When peasants unleashed the struggle against the wind farms of the Spanish, French and Japanese imperialists in the region and blockades were carried out, the Mexican state beat back the people with brutal force and displaced some protesters for several days. Since 2018, 20 people have died in connection with the struggle against the wind farms.

Klimaschutz und der Imperialismus wie die Bourgeoisie die Energiewende umsetzt2

So the "green electricity" generated by the sheer power of the wind is generated at the expense of the people of Tehuantepec, who are displaced and even murdered. Whereas here in imperialist countries like the FRG, there are laws that dictate that wind turbines can only be built at a certain distance from the nearest settlement. In the process, the fields on which the peasants often lived and worked before are rendered completely useless. In this way, the "export of green capital" goes hand in hand with massive destruction of local nature.

Investments in the desert

Wind energy is not the only great hope of the so-called „energy transition“. Solar energy also plays a decisive role. The focus here is primarily on the countries of the so-called sun belt, such as Kenya, Indonesia or Bolivia, where solar intensity is particularly high. The North African country of Morocco is also one of them. Especially in the Sahara, the solar intensity is higher than almost anywhere else on earth. German imperialism also recognised this potential early on. In order to profit from green electricity, the "Desert Tag" project was planned as early as 2003, but it was never realised because the question of transporting the electricity to the Federal Republic of Germany, almost 3000 kilometres away, remained unresolved. In the years that followed, however, the German imperialists did invest in "green electricity" from Morocco. Thus, Morocco is the most valuable asset of the KFW-Bank (Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau), the national development bank of the FRG, in terms of energy.

Klimaschutz und der Imperialismus wie die Bourgeoisie die Energiewende umsetzt3

In the region of Quarzazate on the western edge of the Sahara, the solar complex "Noor" (translated as "light") is located, which comprises four solar power plants. Solar energy is generated here on an area as large as 4,500 football fields. The construction of this gigantic plant cost the equivalent of 2.2 billion euros. Morocco did not finance this project itself, the money came from abroad. The KFW Bank invested a total of 829 million euros in the construction of the solar power plant on behalf of the German government. Thus, German imperialism is the heaviest investor. But EU funds and from the World Bank also flowed to Morocco for the construction. The "Noor" power plant is operated by the energy company "Acwa-Power" from Saudi Arabia, which is controlled by Yankee imperialism. "Acwa-Power is 50 percent owned by Abunayyan-Hoding, one of the oldest water and energy companies in Saudi Arabia, which earns its money not only from renewable energy but also from oil. Among others, the "Abunayyan-Hoding" names the US technology company Motorola, the Japanese car manufacturer Mitsubishi-Motors and Siemens from Germany as its most important partners. Thus, different imperialist superpowers and powers have their fingers in the pie when it comes to the development of solar energy in the Sahara.

Klimaschutz und der Imperialismus wie die Bourgeoisie die Energiewende umsetzt4

Lithium mining in Bolivia

The Latin American country of Bolivia also plays an important role in questions of climate protection, as the bourgeoisie is doing today. Bolivia is the country with the highest lithium occurrence worldwide. Lithium is a light metal used in the production of high-performance batteries. An estimated 5.4 million tonnes of lithium lie dormant in Bolivia's Salar de uyuni, the world's largest salt lake. The demand for lithium is huge and is directly linked to climate protection. Because lithium is also needed to build e-cars or e-scooters, which are everywhere in cities of imperialist countrys. So Bolivia's salt lake contains a huge treasure. When the demand for lithium from Bolivia grew, the revisionist and then president, Evo Morales (now ex-president), who liked to portray himself as the liberator of the Bolivian people, promised that the profit that would be extracted from the lithium would only go to the people. In 2015, this promise proved to be empty words when Morales brought the German mining company "K-UTEC AG Salt Technologies" on board to mine the light metal, exploiting a raw material in the interest of German imperialism that the German car industry in particular could make good use of. Volkswagen, Germany's largest car manufacturer, writes itself: "Volkswagen works very closely with battery suppliers to ensure the use of sustainably mined lithium in the supply chain". So with a German company right at the source, German imperialism is creating the perfect conditions for itself to get its hands on the sought-after raw material.

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The hypocrisy of the oh-so-green e-cars becomes clear when one looks at how the lithium is extracted. Apart from the direct damage caused by the mining companies to the Salar de uyuni, whose natural structure is completely destroyed, there are also long-term consequences. For example, about 30,000 litres of water have to be used to extract enough lithium for just one e-car. And this in a region where there is already a massive water shortage. In addition, the mining companies are depriving the so-called salt farmers, who have been laboriously extracting the salt from the Salar de uyuni for generations, of their livelihood.

Climate protection on the backs of the oppressed nations

It can be seen that the climate protection of the bourgeoisie, according to the first main contradiction on the world level, is shifted onto the proletariat and the people of the oppressed nations. Imperialism is able to solve the climate-problem. Imperialism has the possibility to build wind farms instead of open-cast mines. It has the opportunity to build solar plants in the desert to replace the last nuclear power plants. It also has the possibility to produce CO2-free e-cars with lithium batteries - but all these possibilities only arise through the oppression of most countries of this world, which imperialism keeps in semi-colonial dependence and in which it develops a bureaucratic capitalism. The oppressed people are condemned to pay the price for it in this system. It shows that climate change is not the number one issue it is often declared to be. So if we want to take a Marxist stand on the whole thing, we have to look at the world according to the law of contradiction, see the main thing and not run behind what the bourgeoisie tell us.