Category Archives: Copenhagen/COP-15

Historical Critique of the Corporate Takeover of the UN

This piece examines the history of the takeover of the UN Climate Conferences by industry and promotes the US climate movement getting on board with the fundamental demands and actions, and alternative solutions being advanced by social movements around the world.  It also gives a nod to the work of GJEP in this arena and credits our report, The Green Shock Doctrine. Thanks Margaret and Kevin!

Cancun-COP16-Indigenous-p-006
Protest at UN Climate Conference, Cancun, Mexico 2010. Photolangelle.org

Climate Alarm Bells Ring but UN and Obama Administration Fail To Act
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers. The Smirking Chimp. September 5, 2014.

The recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the most worrisome so far. Paired with data from the 2014 National Climate Assessment, there is no question that the climate crisis is here and is accelerating at a faster pace than predicted. Its effects are widespread and dangerous, yet real solutions are being suppressed.

The climate crisis is a ticking clock that demands immediate effective action, but the United Nations Conference of Parties (COP), which is the international body responsible for creating agreements on climate change, has become nothing more than a tool for multinational corporations and financiers to force a neo-liberal agenda and profit from the crisis. The false solutions being promoted displace and exploit people, destroy the environment and worsen climate change.

The climate crisis is our greatest challenge. Significant work has been done over the past decade by civil society groups around the world cooperating to create plans for resistance to the corrupt COP process and a vision for a just transition to sustainable systems. Now is the time for organizations throughout the United States that advocate for justice to recognize that the climate crisis affects all of us and to participate in this global movement.

Effective strategy requires knowledge of the political environment, the entities involved and an understanding of real versus false solutions. The United Nations, the United States government, Big Green Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and the corporations that exert influence over them all are obstacles to effective action. Solutions exist but they won’t be coming from above, rather they will come from a mobilized grass roots demanding transformation to a carbon-free, nuclear-free energy economy.

To read the entire article, click here.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Actions / Protest, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, COP21 Paris 2015, Copenhagen/COP-15, Corporate Globalization, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Greenwashing, Natural Disasters, Solutions, UNFCCC, Warsaw/COP-19, World Bank, WTO

Earth Minute: System Change not Climate Change in Venezuela

See below for transcript.

system.change.neil-white.guardianlainfo.es-11340-precop-300x200

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transcript

I am recording this week’s Earth Minute from the Venezuelan Island of Margarita.  The Venezuelan government has assembled hundreds of organizations from around the Americas and across the world under the theme of “Changing the System, Not the Climate.”  The idea of this meeting is to begin to develop justice-based strategies and discussions to inform a peoples’ position at this year’s UN Climate Conference in Lima Peru in December.

“System Change not Climate Change” originally emerged as the demand from civil society organizations protesting the northern-dominated and pro-corporate UN Climate conference in Copenhagen in 2009. There UN delegates and observers staged a massive “Reclaim Power” march out that attempted to meet with thousands of activists marching toward the conference.  The idea was to come together for a Peoples’ Assembly, where real peoples’ solutions to the climate crisis would be advanced.  While that action was met with severe repression and violence from the Danish Police, the powerful concept of “System Change not Climate Change” continues to carry forward.

 

For the Earth Minute and the Sojourner Truth show, this is Anne Petermann from Global Justice Ecology Project reporting from Venezuela.

Photo: Climate Justice Now! Statement on Climate Change from COP-15, Copenhagen, December 2009. Photo: Neil White/Guardia

Image: noticias24.com via lainfo.es

Leave a Comment

Filed under Climate Change, Copenhagen/COP-15, Earth Minute, Earth Radio, KPFK

Snowden Docs: U.S. Spied on Negotiators At 2009 Climate Summit

January 29, 2014.  Source:  Huffington Post

snowden nsa surveillance obama copenhagen

WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency monitored the communications of other governments ahead of and during the 2009 United Nations climate negotiations in Copenhagen, Denmark, according to the latest document from whistleblower Edward Snowden.The document, with portions marked “top secret,” indicates that the NSA was monitoring the communications of other countries ahead of the conference, and intended to continue doing so throughout the meeting. Posted on an internal NSA website on Dec. 7, 2009, the first day of the Copenhagen summit, it states that “analysts here at NSA, as well as our Second Party partners, will continue to provide policymakers with unique, timely, and valuable insights into key countries’ preparations and goals for the conference, as well as the deliberations within countries on climate change policies and negotiation strategies.”

“Second Party partners” refers to the intelligence agencies of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, with which the U.S. has an intelligence-sharing relationship. “While the outcome of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference remains uncertain, signals intelligence will undoubtedly play a significant role in keeping our negotiators as well informed as possible throughout the 2-week event,” the document says.

The Huffington Post published the documents Wednesday night in coordination with the Danish daily newspaper Information, which worked with American journalist Laura Poitras.

The December 2009 meeting in Copenhagen was the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which brings together 195 countries to negotiate measures to address rising greenhouse gas emissions and their impact. The Copenhagen summit was the first big climate meeting after the election of President Barack Obama, and was widely expected to yield a significant breakthrough. Other major developed nations were already part of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which set emissions limits, while the United States — the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases when the protocol went into effect in 2004 — had famously declined to join. The two-week meeting was supposed to produce a successor agreement that would include the U.S., as well as China, India and other countries with rapidly increasing emissions.

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, Copenhagen/COP-15, Political Repression, Politics

The climate change scorecard

Note: While Global Justice Ecology Project maintains that climate change is more about systems of economic and social domination and oppression than parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere, the below article provides some sobering statistics.  Social movements will not create the change needed to deal with and avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change with a compelling data set alone, but it surely helps when the science is on our side.

It is also important to remember that, often, the economic and political elite will try to use such dire climate science forecasts to justify absurd, dangerous, untested false solutions like geoengineering the atmosphere and oceans to absorb greenhouse gases.  This may be an even greater threat facing the world today.

-The GJEP Team

By Dahr Jamail, December 17, 2013. Source: Tom Dispatch

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig burning after the explosion in the Gulf of Mexico

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig burning after the explosion in the Gulf of Mexico

Since a nuclear weapon went off over Hiroshima, we have been living with visions of global catastrophe, apocalyptic end times, and extinction that were once the sole property of religion. Since August 6, 1945, it has been possible for us to imagine how human beings, not God, could put an end to our lives on this planet. Conceptually speaking, that may be the single most striking development of our age and, to this day, it remains both terrifying and hard to take in. Nonetheless, the apocalyptic possibilities lurking in our scientific-military development stirred popular culture over the decades to a riot of world-ending possibilities.

In more recent decades, a second world-ending (or at least world-as-we-know-it ending) possibility has crept into human consciousness. Until relatively recently, our burning of fossil fuels and spewing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere represented such a slow-motion approach to end times that we didn’t even notice what was happening. Only in the 1970s did the idea of global warming or climate change begin to penetrate the scientific community, as in the 1990s it edged its way into the rest of our world, and slowly into popular culture, too.

Still, despite ever more powerful weather disruptions — what the news now likes to call “extreme weather” events, including monster typhoons, hurricanes, and winter storms, wildfires, heat waves, droughts, and global temperature records — disaster has still seemed far enough off. Despite a drumbeat of news about startling environmental changes — massive ice melts in Arctic waters, glaciers shrinking worldwide, the Greenland ice shield beginning to melt, as well as the growing acidification of ocean waters — none of this, not even Superstorm Sandy smashing into that iconic global capital, New York, and drowning part of its subway system, has broken through as a climate change 9/11. Not in the United States anyway.
Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Climate Change, Copenhagen/COP-15, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Hydrofracking, Oceans, Oil, UNFCCC, Warsaw/COP-19

Obama’s plan for the climate: Greenwash our way into oblivion

By Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project

_Obama_DSC_0005

Image captured from The Weather Channel

At 1:45 today, President Obama announced his new Climate Action Plan in a nationally televised speech.

He described the emerging climate crisis and its impacts–both past, present and future, while be suffered the heat of an abnormally warm June day in Washington, DC. His arguments for climate action were compelling and hard to argue with.  Unfortunately his actions do not match his words.

Unlike Bill McKibben, I do not believe that “the solutions agenda [Obama has] begun to advance moves the country in a sane direction.” (Did you read the actual Climate Action Plan, Bill?!?)  No, what I read in Obama’s Action Plan was a rehashing of the same old dangerous false solutions that many of us have been fighting for years and years.  But what’s really criminal is that even though Obama clearly understands both the science and implications of climate change, he still pushes an agenda that will drive us all over the climate cliff.

First the plan’s “Case for Action” reiterates Obama’s pledge to decrease carbon emissions by a paltry 17% below 2005 levels by 2020–but only if all other major economies agree to do so as well. Climate scientists are not calling for 17% reductions by 2020. In fact, countries like the US need to reduce our emissions by 80-90%.  And not in seven years, but immediately.  Last year preferably.

The main takeaway from Obama’s greenwashed nonsense? We can continue our unsustainable way of life indefinitely with just a few key tweaks.

“Deploy Clean Energy.” Ain’t nothin’ clean about this.  Obama’s “clean energy” plan includes more fracking, more oil, more nukes, more biofuels and “clean coal.”  Yes, Obama wants to stop climate change by screwing over rural communities through promotion of more hydrofracking and increased natural gas exports; expanding domestic oil production–including the hellish Bakken shale oil fields (but don’t worry, it will be clean Bakken oil­–no really, that’s in there); devoting more land to growing feedstocks for plant-based liquid fuels (i.e. less land for biodiversity, growing food or for peasant communities to survive on); protecting forests that store carbon while cutting down trees to burn for electricity production; building more nuclear power plants (apparently never heard of Three Mile Island, Chernobyl or Fukushima); and maintaining the fantasy of that wonderful oxymoron “clean coal.” Sane direction?

Spur Investment in Advanced Fossil Energy Projects. Like “clean” coal, we can burn our fossil fuels and stop climate change too!

Maintain Agricultural Sustainability. For this one, Obama wants us to trust the vehemently pro-GMO US Department of Agriculture to “deliver tailored, science-based knowledge to farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.”  ‘Climate ready’ GMO crops anyone?

Negotiate Global Free Trade in Environmental Goods and Services. Right, cuz global free trade has served biodiversity, ecosystems and the 99% so well!

But the most ludicrous item is the last on the menu: “Leading efforts to address climate change through international negotiations.”  (I know, I know, stop laughing)

This section excels in Orwellian newspeak. It highlights the disastrous 2009 UN Copenhagen Climate Conference as “historic progress,” and insists that the secretly negotiated Copenhagen Accord (that was booed even by reporters when Obama announced it late in the negotiations) was a breakthrough in developing “a new regime of international transparency.” Omitted is the fact that this Accord was never actually consensed upon, but merely “noted” by the official body.  Well history is “his story” after all…

The section goes on to trumpet the accomplishments of the equally disastrous UN Climate Conference in Durban in 2011–about which Nature Magazine wrote “It is clear that the science of climate change and the politics of climate change, now inhabit parallel worlds.”

Nnimmo Bassey, Chair of Friends of the Earth International similarly condemned Durban’s outcomes, “developed countries, led by the US, accelerated the demolition of the world’s international framework for fair and urgent climate action. And developing countries have been bullied and forced into accepting an agreement that could be a suicide pill for the world. An increase in global temperatures of four degrees Celsius, permitted under this plan, is a death sentence for Africa, small island states, and the poor and vulnerable worldwide. This summit has amplified climate apartheid whereby the richest 1% of the world have decided that it is acceptable to sacrifice the 99%.”

But Obama’s Climate Action Plan insists Durban was “a breakthrough”–because countries agreed to come up with some kind of new climate agreement that would not go into force until 2020.

Gee, guess who won’t be in office anymore in 2020…

Leave a Comment

Filed under BREAKING NEWS, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Copenhagen/COP-15, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests and Climate Change, Greenwashing, Oil, Pollution, Posts from Anne Petermann, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, UNFCCC

Strike four in climate change: A “Climate Space” to rethink analysis and strategies

Note:  While the post below is a few months old, Global Justice Ecology Project find’s former Bolivian climate negotiator Pablo Salon’s analysis on the UNFCCC incredibly relevant and important.  It is due time to rethink strategy and analysis in approaching solutions to climate change, inequality and economic domination.

-The GJEP Team

By Pablo Salon.  Source: Focus on the Global South

3964863117_21aa0c0628_b

In baseball, when you have 3 strikes, you are out. In the climate change negotiations we already have 4 strikes. Copenhagen, Cancun, Durban and now Doha. Four attempts and each of the results were bigger failures than the last. The emission reductions should have been at least 40 to 50% until 2020 based on 1990 levels. Four COPs later, the current numbers are down to a measly 13 to 18%. We are now well on our way to a global temperature increase of 4 to 8ºC.

“The perfect is the enemy of the good” is what some UN negotiators say. To which we can reply: “When our house is burning down, the worst thing you can do is lie to us”. It’s time to rethink what is happening and try to find new strategies to avoid a global catastrophe.

It isn’t because of the lack of evidence

Climate change is no longer a theoretical possibility. It has real impacts on the lives of people, nature and the economy.

Climate change is already contributing to the deaths of nearly 400,000 people a year[1]. This month, during the COP18 negotiations in Doha, Qatar, Typhoon Bopha hit the Philippines with all its intensity, leaving in its wake more than 700 dead. The strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines in decades devastated Mindanao, damaging more than 70,000 homes and forcing 30,000 to now live in temporary shelters.
Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Copenhagen/COP-15, False Solutions to Climate Change, REDD, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Rio+20, UNFCCC

On Not Attending the UN Climate Conference in Doha

By Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project

Christina Figueres, Executive Director of the UNFCCC

Christina Figueres, Executive Director of the UNFCCC at the Durban Climate COP in 2011.  Photo: Langelle/GJEP

For the first time since 2004, Global Justice Ecology Project did not sent any representatives to the annual UN Climate Conference (COP).  There were numerous reasons for this decision, one of which was a letter sent to us by Ms. Christina Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) “suspending” three Global Justice Ecology Project activists from participating in Doha.  The list includes Lindsey Gillies, Keith Brunner and me–Global Justice Ecology Project’s “Head of Delegation.” We were officially banned from participating in any of the UNFCCC negotiating sessions in 2012 as well as any future sessions unless we sign a document agreeing to their terms to abide by their special “code of conduct” for observers.  Right.

Figueres page 1

Figueres page 2

Our crime?  Direct action.   Unpermitted, disobedient direct action in both Cancun and Durban designed to highlight the mounting repression against non-corporate observers.  (We also worked for over a year to help organize the amazing Reclaim Power action and Peoples’ Assembly at COP 15 in Copenhagen, which exposed the ineffectiveness of the UNFCCC and called for people to take their power back–though the letter did not mention that).

Over the years we have watched the UNFCCC become more and more like the World Trade Organization that we and many anti-corporate globalization organizations rose up against in the latter 1990s and early 2000s.

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Actions / Protest, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Copenhagen/COP-15, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, GE Trees, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Political Repression, Posts from Anne Petermann, REDD, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, UNFCCC, Youth

RADICAL NEW AGENDA NEEDED TO ACHIEVE CLIMATE JUSTICE

Call for “System Change not Climate Change” Unites Global Movement

Note:  The first post is the  Poznan statement from the Climate Justice Now! alliance from 12 December 2008 after the UN climate talks that year.  The second was published by CJN immediately following the Copenhagen UN climate talks in 2009.  More than ever, we believe it’s time for the 1% who control the UN climate talks to do something for the climate–like get out of the way so that people and social movements can counter their false solutions to climate change with real grassroots solutions in order to avert climate catastrophe.  The Earth can’t wait.

Follow our blogs from the Durban UN climate circus from 28 Nov – 10 Dec on Climate Connections.

-The GJEP Team

RADICAL NEW AGENDA NEEDED TO ACHIEVE CLIMATE JUSTICE

Poznan statement from the Climate Justice Now! alliance

12 December 2008

Members of Climate Justice Now! – a worldwide alliance of more than 160 organisations — have been in Poznan for the past two weeks closely following developments in the UN climate negotiations.

This statement is our assessment of the Conference of Parties (COP) 14, and articulates our principles for achieving climate justice.

THE URGENCY OF CLIMATE JUSTICE

On the streets of Poznan, Poland 2008. Photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC

We will not be able to stop climate change if we don’t change the neo-liberal and corporate-based economy which stops us from achieving sustainable societies. Corporate globalisation must be stopped.

The historical responsibility for the vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions lies with the industrialised countries of the North. Even though the primary responsibility of the North to reduce emissions has been recognised in the Convention, their production and consumption habits continue to threaten the survival of humanity and biodiversity. It is imperative that the North urgently shifts to a low carbon economy. At the same time in order to avoid the damaging carbon intensive model of industrialisation, the South is entitled to resources and technology to make this transition.

We believe that any ´shared vision´ on addressing the climate crisis must start with climate justice and with a radical re-thinking of the dominant development model.

Indigenous Peoples, peasant communities, fisherfolk, and especially women in these communities, have been living harmoniously and sustainably with the Earth for millennia. They are not only the most affected by climate change, but also its false solutions, such as agrofuels, mega-dams, genetic modification, tree plantations and carbon offset schemes. Instead of market led schemes, their sustainable practices should be seen as offering the real solutions to climate change.

UNFCCC IN CRISIS

Governments and international institutions have to recognise that the Kyoto mechanisms have failed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – common but differentiated responsibilities, inter-generational equity, and polluter pays — have been undermined in favour of market mechanisms. The three main pillars of the Kyoto agreement –the clean development mechanism, joint implementation and emissions trading schemes — have been completely ineffective in reducing emissions, yet they continue to be at the center of the negotiations.

Kyoto is based on carbon-trading mechanisms which allow Northern countries to continue business as usual by paying for “clean development” projects in developing and transition countries. This is a scheme designed deliberately to allow polluters to avoid reducing emissions domestically. Clean development mechanism projects, which are supposed to support “sustainable development”, include infrastructure projects such as big dams and coal-fired power plants, and monoculture tree plantations. Not only do these projects fail to reduce carbon emissions, they accelerate the privatisation and corporate take-over of the natural world, at the expense of local communities and Indigenous Peoples.

Proposals on the table in Poznan are heading in the same direction.

In the current negotiations, industrialised countries continue to act on the basis of self-interest, using all their negotiating tactics to avoid their obligations to reduce carbon emissions, to finance adaptation and mitigation and transfer technology to the South.

In their pursuit of growth at any cost, many Southern governments at the talks are trading away the rights of their peoples and resources. We remind them that a climate agreement is not a trade agreement.

The main protagonists for climate stability – Indigenous Peoples, women, peasant and family farmers, fisherfolk, forest dependent communities, youth, and marginalised and affected communities in the global South and North, are systematically excluded. Despite repeated demands, Indigenous Peoples are not recognised as an official party to the negotiations. Neither are women’s voices and gender considerations recognised and included in the process.

At the same time, private investors are circling the talks like vultures, swooping in on every opportunity for creating new profits. Business and corporate lobbyists expanded their influence and monopolized conference space at Poznan. At least 1500 industry lobbyists were present either as NGOs or as members of government delegations.

The Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) scheme could create the climate regime’s largest ever loophole, giving Northern polluters yet another opportunity to buy their way out of emissions reductions. With no mention of biodiversity or Indigenous Peoples’ rights, this scheme might give a huge incentive for countries to sell off their forests, expel Indigenous and peasant communities, and transform forests into tree plantations under corporate-control. Plantations are not forests. Privatisation and dispossession through REDD or any other mechanisms must be stopped.

The World Bank is attempting to carve a niche in the international climate change regime. This is unacceptable as the Bank continues to fund polluting industries and drive deforestation by promoting industrial logging and agrofuels. The Bank’s recently launched Climate Investment Funds goes against government initiatives at the UN and promotes dirty industries such as coal, while forcing developing countries into the fundamentally unequal aid framework of donor and recipient. The World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility aiming to finance REDD through a forest carbon mechanism serves the interest of private companies and opens the path for commodification of forests.

These developments are to be expected. Market ideology has totally infiltrated the climate talks, and the UNFCCC negotiations are now like trade fairs hawking investment opportunities.

THE REAL SOLUTIONS

Solutions to the climate crisis will not come from industrialised countries and big business. Effective and enduring solutions will come from those who have protected the environment – Indigenous Peoples, women, peasant and family farmers, fisherfolk, forest dependent communities, youth and marginalised and affected communities in the global South and North. These include:

  • Achieving low carbon economies, without resorting to offsetting and false solutions such as nuclear energy and “clean coal”, while protecting the rights of those affected by the transition, especially workers.
  • Keeping fossil fuels in the ground.
  • Implementing people’s food and energy sovereignty.
  • Guaranteeing community control of natural resources.
  • Re-localisation of production and consumption, prioritising local markets
  • Full recognition of Indigenous Peoples, peasant and local community rights,
  • Democratically controlled clean renewable energy.
  • Rights based resource conservation that enforces indigenous land rights and promotes peoples sovereignty and public ownership over energy, forests, seeds, land and water
  • Ending deforestation and its underlying causes.
  • Ending excessive consumption by elites in the North and in the South.
  • Massive investment in public transport
  • Ensuring gender justice by recognising existing gender injustices and involving women in decision making.
  • Cancelling illegitimate debts claimed by northern governments and IFIs. The illegitimacy of these debts is underscored by the much greater historical, social and ecological debts owed to people of the South.

We stand at the crossroads. We call for a radical change in direction to put climate justice and people’s rights at the centre of these negotiations.

In the lead-up to the 2009 COP 15 at Copenhagen and beyond, the Climate Justice Now! alliance will continue to monitor governments and to mobilise social forces from the south and the north to achieve climate justice.

 

 ___________________________________________________

Call for “System Change not Climate Change” Unites Global Movement

 

Corrupt Copenhagen ‘accord’ exposes gulf between peoples demands and elite political interests

The highly anticipated UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen ended with a fraudulent agreement, engineered by the United States and dropped into the conference at the last moment.  The “agreement” was not adopted.  Instead, it was “noted” in an absurd parliamentary invention designed to accommodate the United States and permit Ban Ki-moon to utter the ridiculous pronouncement “We have a deal.”

The UN conference was unable to deliver solutions to the climate crisis, or even minimal progress toward them.  Instead, the talks were a complete betrayal of impoverished nations and island states, producing nothing but embarrassment for the United Nations and the Danish government.  In a conference designed to limit greenhouse gas emissions there was very little talk of emission reductions.  Rich, developed countries continued to delay any talk of drastic reductions, instead shifting the burden to less developed countries and showing no willingness to make reparations for the damage they have caused.

The Climate Justice Now! coalition, alongside other networks, was united here at COP15 in the call for System Change, Not Climate Change.  In contrast, the Copenhagen climate conference itself demonstrated that real solutions, as opposed to false, market-based solutions, will not be adopted until we overcome the existing unjust political and economic system.

Government and corporate elites here in Copenhagen made no attempt to satisfy the expectations of the world.  False solutions and corporations completely co-opted the United Nations process.  The global elite would like to privatize the atmosphere through carbon markets; carve up the remaining forests, bushes and grasslands of the world through the abandonment of indigenous rights and land-grabbing; convert real forests into monoculture tree plantations and agricultural soils into carbon sinks; and complete the capitalist enclosure of commons.  Virtually every proposal discussed in Copenhagen was based on a desire to create opportunities for profit rather than to reduce emissions.

The only discussions of real solutions in Copenhagen took place in social movements. Climate Justice Now!, Climate Justice Action and Klimaforum09 articulated many creative ideas and attempted to deliver those ideas to the UN Climate Change Conference through the Klimaforum09 People’s Declaration and the Reclaim Power People’s Assembly.  Among nations, the ALBA countries, many African nations and AOSIS often echoed the messages of the climate justice movement, speaking of the need to repay climate debt, create mitigation and adaptation funds outside of neoliberal institutions like the World Bank and IMF, and keep global temperature increase below 1.5 degrees.

The UN and the Danish government served the interests of the rich, industrialized countries, excluding our voices and the voices of the least powerful throughout the world, and attempting to silence our demands to talk about real solutions.  Nevertheles, our voices grew stronger and more united day by day during the two-week conference.  As we grew stronger, the mechanisms implemented by the UN and the Danish for the inclusion of civil society grew more dysfunctional, repressive and undemocratic, very much like the WTO and Davos.  Social movement participation was limited throughout the conference, drastically curtailed in week two, and several civil society organizations even had their admission credentials revoked midway through the second week.  At the same time, corporations continued lobbying inside the Bella Center.

Outside the conference, the Danish police extended the repressive framework, launching a massive clampdown on the right to free expression and arresting and beating thousands, including civil society delegates to the climate conference.  Our movement overcame this repression to raise our voices in protest over and over again.  Our demonstrations mobilized more than 100,000 people in Denmark to press for climate justice, while social movements around the world mobilized hundreds of thousands more in local climate justice demonstrations.  In spite of repression by the Danish government and exclusion by the United Nations, the movement for system change not climate change is now stronger than when we arrived in Denmark.

While Copenhagen has been a disaster for climate solutions, it has been an inspiring watershed moment in the battle for climate justice.  The governments of the elite have no solutions to offer, but the climate justice movement has provided strong vision and clear alternatives.  Copenhagen will be remembered as an historic event for global social movements.  It will be remembered, along with Seattle and Cancun, as a critical moment when the diverse agendas of many social movements coalesced and became stronger, asking in one voice for system change, not climate change.

The Climate Justice Now! coalition calls for social movements around the world to mobilize in support of climate justice.

We will take our struggle forward not just in climate talks, but on the ground and in the streets, to promote genuine solutions that include:

- leaving fossil fuels in the ground and investing instead in appropriate energy-efficiency and safe, clean and community-led renewable energy

- radically reducing wasteful consumption, first and foremost in the North, but also by Southern elites.

- huge financial transfers from North to South, based on the repayment of climate debts and subject to democratic control. The costs of adaptation and mitigation should be paid for by redirecting military budgets, progressive and innovative taxes and debt cancellation.

- rights-based resource conservation that enforces Indigenous land rights and promotes peoples’ sovereignty over energy, forests, land and water.

sustainable family farming and fishing, and peoples’ food sovereignty.

We are committed to building a diverse movement – locally and globally – for a better world.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Copenhagen/COP-15, Corporate Globalization, Forests and Climate Change, REDD, UNFCCC