Category Archives: Copenhagen/COP-15

*Climate spokespersons sentenced guilty: This is a giant defeat for democracy *

Danish Court Sentences Nonviolent Activists Arrested During Protests Against UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009:  Free Speech Criminalized

Today, the Copenhagen District Court found Stine Gry Jonassen and Tannie Nyboe guilty in charges of being organisers and instigators of violence and vandalism. The incident took place on 16th of December at Bella Center last year during the climate summit in Copenhagen. The two women were sentenced to four months of probation. One of the judges disagreed with the verdict and thought the accused should be freed of all charges.

Stine Gry and Tannie Nyboe both acted as spokespersons for the Global
Network “Climate Justice Action” (CJA) and Stine was accredited as an official UN Observer through Global Justice Ecology Project.  Both Stine and Tannie are members of Global Justice Ecology Project’s New Voices on Climate Change program.  Find their bios by clicking here

During the Cop15 last year, CJA organised several non-violent civil
disobedience protests, including the “Reclaim Power – Push for Climate
Justice” rally on 16th of December. The two women were both the public
facesof the movement and they are now found guilty in charges of being organisers and instigators of violence and riots. They are both deeply shocked by the outcome of the trial and are now considering an appeal.

Stine Gry considers the whole trial absurd:

*“There has been a clear political rationale with these trials. It is
obvious that Tannie and I were accused because we acted as public faces of the movement. This trial sends a significant message: if you have the nerve to stand up and express a critical point of view of society, the authorities will do whatever they can to silence you. It is absurd that a large public movement as CJA is criminalised because they – as one of the few – dared to criticise the ongoing climate negotiations during the summit; especially in the light of how poorly things turned out with the negotiations and how criticisable Denmark’s role was. The verdict is a defeat for democracy because it hinders politically engaged people in using their democratic right to demonstrate and express themselves critically.” *

Tannie explains:  *“It** is an evident political attempt to limit the opportunity to criticise the negotiations during the summit and the whole bedrock of the climate process. The right to demonstrate is an
essentialpart of democracy, despite it is the existing political
system that is being criticised. I really hope that people will still use their democratic right to express themselves critically, though one might risk being accused personally by the court. However, I fear that this case will scare people from protesting and organising themselves politically in the
future. Consequently it is just as big a defeat for the political work and democracy in Denmark,as it is for us personally.”

For further information, interviews etc. contact the Climate Collective’s
press group:

Phone: (+45) 50 58 87 51


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Climate Justice Action (CJA) is a global network of social movements and groups, which mobilised and called out for protests during the climate summit in Copenhagen in December last year, in order to challenge the insubstantial political negotiations at the Bella Centre and demanding just solutions to the climate problems. On 16th of December, CJA organised the demonstration “Reclaim Power – Push for Climate Justice” to give voice to the people mostly affected by climate changes – the same people who were not heard inside the Bella Centre.

At the time, Stine Gry and Tannie were spokespersons for the movement and argued for the right to protest and for the freedom of speech. They are now found guilty in planning the “Reclaim Power” demonstration and of plotting violence against an official in function, of severe vandalism, of serious disturbance of public peace and order, and of illegal trespassing. Several hundred people were arrested in relation to the action, but none of these have since been accused anything illegal.

The trial of the two spokespersons took place in Copenhagen City Court on 6th, 27th, and 28th of October 2010 at 9.30 AM.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Copenhagen/COP-15

A climate conference, old and new oil curses, and Norwegian ‘Good Samaritans’

By Patrick Bond

The stench of rotting blubber would hang for days over The Bluff in South Durban, thanks to Norwegian immigrants whose harpooning skills helped stock the town with cooking fat, margarine and soap, starting about a century ago. The fumes became unbearable, and a local uproar soon compelled the Norwegians to move the whale processing factory from within Africa’s largest port to a less-populated site a few kilometers southeast.

There, on The Bluff’s glorious Indian Ocean beachfront, the white working-class residents of Marine Drive (perhaps including those in the apartment where I now live) also complained bitterly about the odor from flensing, whereby blubber, meat and bone were separated at the world’s largest onshore whaling station.

Ever since, our neighborhood has been the armpit of South Africa. A bit further south and west, in a black residential area, the country’s largest oil refinery was built in the 1950s, followed by the production and on-site disposal of nearly every toxic substance known to science.

The whalers gracefully retreated into comfortable retirement in the mid-1970s, their prey threatened by extinction. Conservationists had mobilized internationally, and thanks to the OPEC cartel, the cost of oil for ship transport soared in 1974, so the industry ceased operating in Durban. Even apartheid South Africa signed the global whaling ban in 1976.

What’s left is a small Bluff Whaling Museum where you sense the early Norwegians’ Vikingesque stance: brave, defiant, unforgiving to those they raped and pillaged, and utterly unconcerned about the sustainability of the environment they had conquered. The Bluff’s world-class surfing waves regularly toss ashore decayed fragments of sperm, blue, fin and humpback whales’ skeletons; tens of thousands were killed.

Déjà vu, earlier this month, when an invisible cloud suffused with a cat’s-piss ammonia stench floated from the South Durban petro-chemical complex – the continent’s largest – across the still racially-segregated belt of 300,000 residents. Once again the community’s salt-of-the-earth rabble-rouser, Des D’Sa of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA), called a picket against an uncaring municipal bureaucracy on November 12, and in the next two weeks further protests are planned in Durban against inadequate national energy policy and global climate policy.

The unbearable smell, apparently emanating from the powerful corporation FFS, lasted for days, reappearing again last Friday night. Further south, the rotten-egg sulfur odor from petroleum refinery SO2 emissions is a permanent feature. These persistent pollution crises are a visceral reminder: we must follow the example of Norwegian whalers on The Bluff, gracefully retreating from capitalism’s reckless dependence upon oil, coal and gas. It is a task that society cannot avoid much longer, as a devastating climate change tipping point looms sometime in the next decade.

So nearly everyone was pleased, a fortnight ago, with the choice of Durban to host the 2011 Conference of the Parties (COP) 17, the world climate summit. Competition was tough. The conference centre in beautiful Cape Town was rejected, according to a guest post on former CT City Manager Andrew Boraine’s blog, because of “the high levels of security required… The CT International Conference Centre (ICC) falls way behind the ICC complex in Durban. You can lock it down completely and keep the over-the-top protesters well away from the high level attendees.”

Boraine, a Johannesburg NGO colleague of mine two decades ago when he helped Alexandra Township civic associations defend their over-the-top protests against apartheid, is now a public-private partnership facilitator. “Cape Town’s proposal,” he rebutted, “took into account the need to be able to lock down certain areas for government delegations and VIPs.”

Sorry, I don’t accept the need for to safely insulate these rascals, for last December in Copenhagen I witnessed how badly the VIPs performed when tasked with making binding emissions cuts. Not only were none made but even the 1997 Kyoto Protocol’s minor five percent cuts (measured from 1990-2012) were completely undermined.

SA and US presidents Jacob Zuma and Barack Obama joined Chinese, Indian and Brazilian leaders in wrecking the last vestiges of UN democracy and threatening their own societies (especially Zulu and Luo kinfolk who are on the climate frontline), on behalf of the (mainly white-owned) fossil fuel industry and (mainly white) frequent fliers (like myself). Chief negotiator for the G77, Lumumba Di-Apeng, poignantly asked, “What is Obama going to tell his daughters? That their [Kenyan] relatives’ lives are not worth anything?”

At the COP 16 climate summit, lasting through December 11 in Cancun, Mexico, these VIPs definitely need a strong wake-up slap – as activists there gave World Trade Organisation negotiators in 2003 – not a quiet meeting place where they’ll just back-slap.

Actually, the strategy many in civil society considered around this time last year, was what Boraine unintentionally advocated: ‘locking down’ (and in) the world leaders inside Copenhagen’s Bella Centre, so they would finally feel the pressure to sign a real deal, instead of the sleazy Copenhagen Accord.

This would have involved blockades preventing delegates from departing last December 19, the way activists did in September 2000 at Prague’s ancient palace, where SA finance minister Trevor Manuel chaired the World Bank’s annual meeting. The VIPs barely scampered to safety from global-justice protesters, after again doing nothing to reform globalisation.

The plan to lock down the climate-negotiating VIPs in Copenhagen was considered and then abandoned when Danish police turned semi-fascistic. It’s not even an option worth discussing in Durban given that City Manager Mike Sutcliffe regularly denies permission to peacefully protest.

But come to think of it, on 31 August 2001, a march of 15,000 to the ICC led by the late Fatima Meer and Dennis Brutus against a pathetic UN racism conference came close to barging in on the lethargic delegates. Recall the activists’ valid complaints then: no UN discussion of reparations needed for slavery, colonialism and apartheid, and no action against Israeli racial oppression and occupation of Palestine.

The reason why next year, leading climate activists may decline the opportunity to appeal to ICC elites – either asking politely, or amplified with a chorus of vuvuzelas – is simple: rapidly-rising disgust with filthy leaders who cannot even clean up the world’s fouled financial nests, judging by the recent South Korean G20 meeting, much less planet-threatening emissions.

The Cancun COP will again demonstrate that US and EU rulers will spend trillions of dollars to pacify the world’s richest speculators in financial markets, from Wall Street in 2008 to those holding state bonds in Athens, Dublin and Lisbon this month. But they’ll balk at a few hundred billion required annually to save the planet.

“If planet Earth was a bank, they’d have bailed it out long ago,” British climate campaigner Jonathan Neale remarked to laughter at the Norway Social Forum’s opening session last Thursday. The money is certainly available in Oslo, thanks to a petroleum rainy-day fund worth $500 billion, the world’s second largest sovereign hoard.

Norwegians in the campaigning group Attac with whom I spent the last few days are also intent on fighting what a workshop leader, Heidi Lundeberg, last Thursday termed Norway’s “Good Samaritan masking the face of our new oil imperialism”. Lundeberg’s edited collection for Attac, Klima for ny Oljepolitikk (Oslo, 2008), demolishes Norway’s image as responsible global citizen.

University of Bergen eco-social scientist Terje Tvedt has also complained that Oslo’s spin-doctoring generates “an aura of moral-ideological irrefutability”. It’s especially irritating when accompanying a revitalized eco-Viking rape-and-pillage mentality, such as growing collaboration with the likes of the World Bank, led by one of the world’s most destructive men, Robert Zoellick.

The fake Samaritan tendency, evident when former prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland ran a 1983-87 world ‘sustainable development’ commission, is being taken to extremes by current prime minister Jens Stoltenberg and environment/development minister Erik Stolheim.

Workshop debate immediately ensued with the outraged director of the Oslo government’s Oil for Development fund, Petter Nore, who back in 1979 coedited a great book, Oil and Class Struggle. “We are NOT the Samaritan face of imperialism!”, he clamoured, yet his own reports reveal the fund’s role in occupied Iraq and Afghanistan, donating millions to lubricate the US looting of petrol and gas, and supporting a stable of venal oil-rich African dictators.

Nore’s office also promotes carbon trading to mitigate the flaring of gas at oil wells. He rewards both Northern financiers and Big Oil polluters with ‘Clean Development Mechanism’ payola, buying ‘emissions reduction credits’ for the Norwegian state in order to reform extraction systems in which, at possibly the world’s worst site, the Niger Delta, flaring has been declared illegal in any case.

As do so many ex-leftist Scandinavian technocrats, Nore has capitulated to the worst global trends. He’s using Norway’s oil-infused cash-flush aid to reward corporations for what they should be doing free. Activists from Port Harcourt’s Environmental Rights Action movement, led by Nnimmo Bassey (co-winner of the Right Livelihood Award last month) know better, demanding that carbon trading must not legitimize illegal flaring.

The same problem can be found in another Norwegian Clean Development Mechanism strategy: planting alien invasive trees in plantations across several East African countries. This wrecks local ecology and pushes out indigenous people, as my colleague Blessing Karumbidza from the Durban NGO Timberwatch recently reported: “the Norwegian firm Green Resources has entrenched itself in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania where it looks to acquire at least 142 000 hectares of land… to plant exotic trees (varieties of eucalyptus and pine) for the purpose of selling an expected 400 000 tons of carbon credits to the Norwegian government.”

Along with Norway’s serious environmentalists and development advocates, I find it heartbreaking that the government’s wonderful Soria Moria declaration is being trashed by Stoltenberg and Stolheim. The 2005 manifesto promised a U-turn, for example, through shifting funding from the World Bank to the United Nations.

Even in the North’s most left-leaning government, it was all fibbery, as shown when Bank executive directors had a chance to turn down the notorious $3.75 billion Medupi coal loan in April. The Norwegian representative only managed a limp abstention, not the “no!” vote demanded by a South African-led global coalition of 200 concerned groups.

When Nore told the workshop that fifty governments had come to his agency for assistance in managing oil resources, including South Africa, I flashed back to South Durban’s oil grievances:
• massive greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to SA’s emissions of CO2 per unit of per person GDP being twenty times worse than even the US,
• regular fires, explosions, and devastating oil pipe leaks,
• the world’s highest recorded school asthma rates (Settlers Primary) and a leukemia pandemic,
• extreme capital-intensity in petro-chem production and extreme unemployment in surrounding communities,
• a huge new pipeline to double the oil flow from Durban to Johannesburg (already two children were killed after falling into unprotected trenches), and
• an old airport earmarked for expansion of the petrochemical, auto and shipping industries.

South Durban is one of the world’s extreme sites of climate change cause and effect: well-paid managers run leaky-bucket toxic factories by day and escape to plush suburbs by night, and gasping residents either slowly die from the exhaust or wake in fear when the refineries erupt with noxious fumes late at night. Yet thanks to one of Africa’s finest eco-social campaigning groups, SDCEA, the area can become an inspiring site for fighting petro-power and visioning alternatives.

Consistent with a global consensus that whales should be left in the ocean, the only solution to the climate crisis is one that genuinely decent Norwegian community residents, fisherfolk, environmentalists and social activists are promoting in their own petrol-rich Lofoten region. The demand there is identical to one made by South Durban residents fed up with smells far more damaging than the decomposing blubber of yesteryear: “leave the oil in the soil!”

(Patrick Bond, based at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society – – and University of California-Berkeley Department of Geography, co-edited a 2009 UKZN Press book: Climate Change, Carbon Trading and Civil Society.)

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Filed under Climate Change, Copenhagen/COP-15, Independent Media

Private finance role in $100bn climate pledge ‘difficult’ – Barker

Cross-posted from Carbon Finance

10 November, 2010

Private investors are key to delivering the $100 billion a year of climate finance pledged under the Copenhagen Accord, a high-level UN group found last week. But some countries are distrustful of private finance and it will be difficult to agree this internationally, the UK’s climate change minister has warned.

Speaking at Environmental Finance Publication’s Climate Finance 2010 conference in London this week, Greg Barker said that public-private partnership is needed at the global level to tackle climate change, as well as domestically within the UK.

He was responding to a report last Friday from the UN’s High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing, which was established last year by UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon to establish where industrialised countries could find the $100 billion a year in climate financing promised to developing countries by 2020.

Announcing its findings last Friday, the group emphasised the importance of a carbon price of $20-25 per tonne of carbon dioxide in driving revenues, as it could generate $100 billion-200 billion in gross private capital flows. This would result in a net benefit to developing countries of $10 billion-20 billion.

But convincing all countries to accept this will be difficult, Barker warned. “Not only do some countries in the developing world still question the role of private sector finance, there are outright sceptical and hostile to private sector finance,” he said.

There is a “perception that we are trying to wriggle out of our responsibilities”.

While accepting a role for public finance, particularly in helping countries adapt to climate change, he argued that “private sector finance can bring more value, more additionality and more wealth than public finance.”

The UN advisory group identified a number of possible sources of climate finance, acknowledging that there were ‘unresolved difficulties’ in some of the approaches and they did not necessarily represent consensus among the 21-strong group, which included the heads of state of Norway, Ethiopia and Guyana.

These include:
• $10 billion from carbon taxes and $8-32 billion from auctioning of emissions allowances in developed countries (assuming a $25 per tonne carbon price);
• $6-12 billion from pricing carbon (at $25/t) in aviation and shipping;
• $10 billion from removal of fossil fuel subsidies and a tax on financial transactions;
• $8-14 billion net flows from carbon offsets; and
• $11 billion net flows could be leveraged from multilateral banks making $10 billion available.

But the group struggled to say how much could be delivered by direct budget contributions. “The political acceptability of such sources will depend on national circumstances and on the domestic fiscal environment, which has currently put many developed countries under extreme pressure,” it said in its report.

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Filed under Carbon Trading, Copenhagen/COP-15, UNFCCC

COP 16 Confab On Climate Change – Like Copenhagen, Like Cancun?

Cross-posted from AllAfrica

October 26,2010

By Kingsley Alu

African Delegation Protest at the COP-15 in Copenhagen Photo: Langelle/ GJEP-GFC

Against the backdrop of last year’s Conference of the Parties (COP 15) held in Copenhagen, Denmark to tackle issues of climate change, Kingsley Alu warns that this year’s COP 16 meeting due for Cancun, Mexico may not be any different.

Following a five – day climate negotiations in Bonn last week, social movements, environment experts and concerned agencies from around the world are getting ready for the 16th Conference of the Parties (COP 16) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that will take place in Cancun, Mexico from 29 November to 10 December, 2010.

The last COP 15 in Copenhagen last December demonstrated governments’ incapacity to tackle the root causes of the current climate chaos. At the very last moment, the US undemocratically pushed through the so called “Copenhagen Accord”, in an attempt to move the debate out of the UN and the Kyoto promises and to favour even more voluntarily free market solutions.

It does appear that every step forward has been replied with a ‘two-steps backward’ intervention by countries that hold the key to global action on climate.From all indications, Copenhagen’s indistinct outcomes are set to be repeated all over again. The meeting in Bonn was met with a profound display of disinterest.

There is no doubt that climate negotiations have turned into a huge market place. Developed countries, historically responsible for most of the greenhouse gas emissions have been inventing all possible diversionary themes to avoid reducing their own emissions. For example, the “Clean Development Mechanism” (CDM) under the Kyoto protocol allows countries to continue polluting and consuming as usual, while paying low prices supposedly so that developing countries reduce their emissions.

Many governments of developing countries, attracted by the potential profits, are betting on these false solutions and refusing to implement measures that effectively confront climate change, such as supporting sustainable peasant agriculture, orienting production towards internal markets, establishing effective energy saving policies for industry, etc.

It is about time the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) embark on resolute policies to contribute to solve the climate chaos. Countries need to take strong and binding commitments to radically cut gas emissions and radically change their mode of production and consumption.

The fact that climate change also is worsening the migration crisis is no longer an understatement. The droughts, the terrible floods caused by severe storms, water contamination, soil erosion and degradation, as well as other destructive impacts of the neoliberal environmental disaster are bringing about the displacement of thousands of people, mainly women and ruined farmers, from their rural communities and forcing them towards the cities and the North in a desperate search for the means of survival for them and their families.

It is estimated that 50 million people have been forced to migrate due to the effects of climate change. These “climate displaced persons” have come to swell the ranks of the more than 300 million people, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), that today represent the worse crisis of migration that humanity has faced.

But solutions do exist. There is urgent need for the UNFCCC to reject all false solutions being cooked up for the moment ahead of the conference date . Among them:

Geo-engineering: Large-scale proposals to deliberately alter the climate, such as biochar; genetically modified plants to supposedly increase reflectivity and resistance to drought, heat and salt; the fertilization of the ocean or the massive creation of clouds, only create new unmanageable problems, they are not solutions. Geo-engineering is only one example of how transnational companies are willing to play with the future of the planet and humanity in order to create new sources of profit.

Carbon trading schemes and Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM): Carbon trading has proven extremely lucrative in terms of generating investor dividends, but has completely failed in reducing greenhouse gas. In the new invented “carbon market” the price of carbon keeps dropping to rock bottom, which encourages further pollution. All carbon emissions should be reduced from the source, rather than allowing payment for the right to pollute.

Land and forest rights: The REDD + initiative (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) should be rejected. Protecting forests and reforesting degraded forests is an obligation of all governments that should be implemented without limiting the autonomy, the rights or the control of indigenous and peasant peoples over the land and their territories, and without serving as an excuse so that other countries and corporations continue contaminating and planting tree monocultures. Territorial and cultural rights of indigenous and peasant peoples should be explicitly recognized in any climate accord.

The participation of the World Bank in the management of funds and policies related to climate change must be rejected.

Scientific research shows that peasant and indigenous peoples could reduce current global emissions to 75per cent by increasing biodiversity, recuperating soil organic matter, replacing industrial meat production with small-scale diversified food production, expanding local markets, halting deforestation and practicing integrated forest management.

Experts have contended that peasant agriculture not only contribute positively to the carbon balance of the planet, it also gives employment to over 3.2 billion people, women and men around the world, and it remains the best way to combat hunger, malnutrition and the current food crisis.

The right to land and the reclaiming for territories, food sovereignty, access to water as a common good and a human right, the right to use, conserve and exchange seeds, the de-concentration and promotion of local markets, are the indispensable conditions so that peasant and indigenous peoples can continue feeding the world and cooling the planet.

Because of the collapse of the financial speculative markets, investors are now looking for new ways to make large, quick profits. Some investors are engaging in massive, world-wide land-grabbing, the purchasing of agricultural lands in developing countries. This drives up the price of the land, pushing peasants off their farms, and putting developing countries in the position of having to put easy capital over their long-term agricultural interests. Additionally, control over biomass production such as agro-fuels increases the pressure on land.

It is the poor who are already bearing the brunt of this crisis; Rural families must absorb laid-off workers, employees are seeing their wages cut, citizens will pay higher taxes, children will be taken out of school to work, and millions will simply lose their jobs and sources of income. Meanwhile the banking system is rescued by governments who spent billions in bailing them out.

At the moment, governments are only concerned with stopping the slide, propping up the banks, and increasing GDP and global growth, while ignoring the pressing environmental concerns of a limited resource base and the climate change crisis.

The stimulus packages currently adopted by various countries and institutions to increase consumption are mainly a response to abusive corporate lobbies such as the car industry. By making only some minor changes, like producing higher mileage vehicles, these packages take minor and insufficient steps toward addressing the environmental challenges. The G20 stated that in total 500b dollars would be spent in order to “save and create millions of jobs that otherwise would have been destroyed” . The G20 states that it wants to “accelerate the transition to a green economy” but no concrete measures are mentioned.

Governments worldwide are encouraging the same system that has led to climate change, pollution, and global environmental degradation. Instead of leaving the initiative to the G20, the UN should use the opportunity of the coming conference to re-orient the global economy away from the current endless and wasteful consumption.

The G20 in London agreed to give the International Monetary Fund (IMF) 500 billion dollars in extra funds for loans to countries that face difficulties because of the crisis. This renewed focus on the IMF as “lender of last resort” removes economic control from the individual countries and places it in the hands of IMF economists who are proponents of strict neo liberal reforms. The IMF states that fiscal stimulus is needed; however, in some program countries, the IMF is still pushing the old policy stipulations: reduce public spending, cut salaries in the public sector and eliminate subsidies . We have already seen how these policies affected developing countries in the 1980s and 1990s: growth at the expense of the rural poor.

Those who are part of the crisis, such as the G8, the World Trade Organisation, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and their collaborators in governments , should not be expected to resolve it. The UN should play a central role and facilitate an in-depth analysis of this crisis, including the participation of key actors in civil society. Solving this crisis must take place in democratic and representative forum, where participants from all nations can participate and without rich countries throwing dollar figures at poor countries in the hope that they could wake up the ghost of Copenhagen.

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Filed under Climate Justice, Copenhagen/COP-15, REDD

Update from Stine and Tannie’s trial

Cross-posted from Climate Collective

Note: Stine Gry Jonassen was accredited by Global Justice Ecology Project to attend the 15th Conference of the UN Climate Convention in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Stine was one of the Danish organizers and spokespeople for the Reclaim Power action that occurred on the 16th of December in Copenhagen.  She spoke about the action the day prior to it during a press conference in the official UN venue.  She is now part of a group being persecuted for their role in organizing this non-violent event during which observers and delegates marched out of the UN climate talks to join a mass march on the outside for what was called “A Peoples’ Assembly.”  GJEP decries this unjust persecution of non-violent activists who were attacked and beaten by the Danish Police.

–GJEP Team

Read Climate Collective’s press release in Danish or in English

Day one has finished

The first day of trial against Tannie and Stine has just ended.

The day started with a small action outside the courthouse, where activists from Climate Collective held a banner stating that “We all shouted PUSH!” and set up an installation with pictures of people that “shouted push” in support to the defendants. (Pictures can be seen here and here).

In the morning, the prosecutor showed video clips from the Reclaim Power action, and Stine was interrogated both by the prosecutor and by her lawyer. While the prosecutor asked about Stine’s involvement and about her understanding of how crowds can be a danger (also trying to compare Reclaim Power with the tragedy happened 9 years ago at Roskilde Festival, where many died squeezed in the crowd during a concert!), many of the defendant’s lawyer’s questions regarded the role of CJA’s spokesperson and whether their statements were their own thought, or were expression of the network’s position. It clearly emerged how spokesperson doesn’t equal organizer, and how both her and Tannie were involved in media work and not in the logistical preparations of the action. Also the dialogue process between CJA and the police was brought in, to show how the action had been clearly communicated, had been authorized by police and had a clear codex of “non violent civil disobedience”.

After the lunch break, the prosecutor asked the same questions to Tannie. Answering to his and then her lawyer’s questions, Tannie explained (yet again!) what the role of the spokespersons was, or the fact that the communal sleeping spaces were not exclusive CJA spaces.

Throughout the day, other clips and newspaper articles were shown or read, explaining the formation of CJA, the concept of climate justice and the development of Reclaim Power from the CJA March meeting onwards. Also, one of the defence witnesses was considered not pertinent, and will therefore not be called in to testify.

The day ended with the prosecutor showing several other video footage from the day, that didn’t show much but police violence and a peaceful crowd, being beaten, pepper sprayed and still not breaking the action codex.

It seems already clear from now that the next two days (October 27th and 28th scheduled for the trial will not be enough, and the two additional dates could be December 8th and 15th. This will be confirmed later on.

Join the campaign “I also shouted PUSH!”

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Justice, Copenhagen/COP-15, Independent Media

Call for solidarity actions with the accused spokespersons for the Climate Justice movement

Stine Gry Jonassen was accredited by Global Justice Ecology Project to attend the 15th Conference of the UN Climate Convention in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Stine was one of the Danish organizers and spokespeople for the Reclaim Power action that occurred on the 16th of December in Copenhagen.  She spoke about the action the day prior to it during a press conference in the official UN venue.  She is now part of a group being persecuted for their role in organizing this non-violent event during which observers and delegates marched out of the UN climate talks to join a mass march on the outside for what was called “A Peoples’ Assembly.”  GJEP decries this unjust persecution of non-violent activists who were attacked and beaten by the Danish Police.
–GJEP Team
Cross posted from Climate Justice Action

During the climate summit in Copenhagen, more than 2000 people were arrested preventively and held in custody while they were trying to have their voices heard. These people along with thousands of other people from around the world were trying to set a different and more just political agenda in the climate debate. Climate Justice Action, a global network of social movements and groups, was mobilizing and calling for a protest and people’s assembly to challenge the farcical political negotiations at the COP15. They demanded just solutions to the climate crisis, solutions that do not only favor the rich western world. On the 16th of December the CJA network organized the Reclaim Power – Push for Climate Justice action, to give a voice to those people marginalized by the negotiations and most affected by climate change.

This emerging climate justice movement was met with severe repression and an abuse of power from the Danish government. This was reflected in the form of massive detainment of protesters and targeting of alleged organizers of legal demonstrations. During 2009 the Danish government and the Danish police carried out an intense scare campaign in the media to demonize protesters and activists. Police were given extra legal powers and economic resources for the COP 15. This led to thousands of preventive arrests, month-long surveillance of telephones, raids of private homes and accommodations and grotesque and unnecessary detentions. Stine Gry and Tannie acted as spokespersons for CJA in the media during the whole COP period, arguing for the right to protest and against the massive police repression. They are now both being held personally responsible for the Reclaim Power – Push for Climate Justice action, and are facing charges including planning violence against police, gross vandalism, serious disturbance of public peace and order, and trespassing. Some of these charges are drawn from the Danish terror package and the penalties are strengthened by the new Danish anti-protester laws introduced just prior to the COP 15.

The main evidence against Stine Gry and Tannie is that they allegedly shouted “push” from the sound truck during the demonstration on the 16th, along with thousands of other protestors. The truth is, we all shouted “push!” on the 16th, and we all pushed together for climate justice on that day.

Solidarity Demonstration in Copenhagen

On the 29th of September there will be a solidarity demonstration in Copenhagen starting at 17:00 at Gammeltorv, in support of Stine Gry Jonassen and Tannie Nyboe, two spokespersons for the Climate Justice Action network (CJA) who will go on trial the 6th of October. They are accused of ‘organizing’ the Reclaim Power – Push for Climate Justice demonstration on the 16th of December in Copenhagen. We call out for everyone to act in solidarity on the 29th of September through demonstrations and statements of support and solidarity, including demonstrations and manifestations outside Danish embassies, demanding that the charges be dropped against Stine and Tannie. You can contribute with a picture on online solidarity at:

Call for actions

Through this trial the Danish state is trying to make two individuals responsible for a whole movement’s collective decision-making and collective protests. This is clearly an attempt to scare people from protesting and organizing politically, killing off all critical voices. It is a violation of the freedom of speech and our right to assembly. The right to protest and everyone’s right to be heard is an essential element in a democracy, even if you are speaking against the existing capitalist system. We therefore call on everyone to show solidarity with the accused on the 29th of September and make criticism of this ongoing repression visible.

To highlight the absurdity in the charges, we encourage people to take actions using the slogan “we also shouted push!”. Post your photos and send your videos of solidarity actions to the climate collective (, and let us know any information of actions that happen.

In Solidarity – The Climate Collective

We also shouted push:


The trial dates of Stine Gry Jonassen and Tannie Nyboe are the 6th, 27th and 28th of October, but additional court days might be necessary.

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Court Clears Two COP15 Activists

Australian Natacha Verco relieved after being cleared. - Photo: JENS DRESLING

Cross posted from the Politiken

An American and an Australian activist have been cleared of planning
violent demos at COP15.

Danish prosecutors have suffered a serious defeat in the wake of the
COP15 Climate Summit in Copenhagen last December after a court has
cleared an Australian and an American activist of planning violent
demonstrations during the summit.

The Copenhagen Municipal Court judge found that prosecution evidence was
not strong enough to warrant the accusations and set the two free to the
general applause of some 30 supporters.

The charges against the two, a 27-year-old American man and a
34-year-old Australian woman, included planning several violent
demonstrations against, among others, the Danish confederation of
industries DI, Dansk Energi, Shell, Maersk and Forum.

The two, who have previously been in custody for three weeks, have
consistently denied all charges.

According to the charges the two had planned their violent
demonstrations but were prevented from carrying them out when police
detained them in mid-December, before the COP15 summit reached its climax.

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Final count down for political theater at COP15 trials

The court in Copenhagen have lost all connections with respect for juridical evidence and principles. The trials after the Climate summit on the mass arrests in the 12th of December demonstration and the spokes persons of the Reclaim power action on the 16th of December has been turned into political theater. You can find an analysis on the trials against spokes persons of Climate Justice here:

The trials on the claims against the police by victims of the mass arrests are equally tragicomical. None of the arrested are accused of anything and yet the police want to convince the court that the mass arrest was necessary due to something called “the black bloc”. This imaginery phantom is proven to be dangerous by videos in the court room from other countries showing people making violent acts. To allow such evidence in a court shows that Danish courts not any more respect normal rules for what is relevant for a case or not.

How a Finnish court reacted to police evidence in a Summit trial

When the last case after the Gothenburg riots at the EU summit in 2001 came up in the court in Helsinki an edited Swedish police video of the most severe violence used against the police during the course of events was presented as evidence. The judge commented: -Were are the accused? The two accused activists were charged with the crime of committing violent rioting. The Swedish prosecutor who had handed over the case to the Finnish authorities claimed that at least one year in prison was the only acceptable sentence. Next video showed the accused. This time they were easily identified, one with a yellow ice hockey helmet, the other one with the more common white color. The police had also helped the court by putting easy visible circles around the two accused persons. They were mostly sitting or standing nd talking to each other in the video. At times they went forward and tried to push themselves through the police line without violence. It all ended with police horses eating some grass. This time the judges out another question: – When come the climax? This was followed by interrogation of the police in charge. He was convinced that there were 150 violent activists dressed up in ice hockey gear attacking the police and described how cobble stones were raining down from heaven on the police. On the videos with the accused some 30 activists dressed up as so called white overalls could be seen who were being beaten by the police and no cobble stones at all during the time when the violent acts which the Finnish activists were accused of should have happened. The stones were thrown after a violent attack by the police and not by any people in white overalls. On the question why the courts in Sweden had not accused all the almost 500 people who was claimed to be violent rioters by the police the Swedish policeman answered in a less clever way to a Finnish court. He said that this was not possible as it would cause him to sit in trials until his retirement. In Finland the idea is that if you have committed a crime you should be brought to justice on equal terms as everybody else who have committed the same crime. They also claim that there must be evidence showing that you have committed the crime. The trial ended with a comment by the judge. It was a short tip he said to the accused: – Next time don’t bring a yellow helmet. The whole courtroom burst into laughter. The two accused were sentenced as not guilty to the crime of having participating in violent rioting. Finnish courts are normally very strict on any violent behavior as well as not obeying the police. I am convinced that if the Swedish prosecutor would have charged the Finnish activists fro the crime of not obeying the police they should have been sentenced as being guilty and given a fine of the normal sort for this in Finland. The mistake was to charge them for a crime that were committed by others and not them. In Sweden an white overall activist accused fo exactly the same thing as the Finnish activists was brought to jail for three months.

Proving false rumors by counting black dots on air photos

The Swedish courts after Gothenburg brought injustice to the Nordic countries and turned the courts into political theater. The Danish courts now have the chance to bring some respect for Nordic courts back to democratic and juridical order again. So far the trials has been so tragicomical and the part representing the police used so irrelevant evidence that one wonders if there is no respect for juridical principles in Denmark anymore. Either the evidence should be rejected as not having with the case to do as videos from other countries or should be commented upon as useless as in Finland. The Danish police have created a hysterical atmosphere by misleading mass media claiming that 5000 to 10000 violent activists should turn up in Copenhagen.

When this false rumor never materialized they now try to claim that it anyway was correct by counting black dots on air photos. They claim that they have found 1 250 black such dots close to were the mass arrests took place, thus providing what they see as evidence that there was a necessity to mass arrest 918 persons to stop the black dots from destroying the city. Earlier in the same trials they had claimed that the black bloc only were some 200 to 400 people, people that was guided by the police away from their plan to go to a protest in the city center against a climate business event and instead into the main demonstration. This was followed by some minor smashing of windows at the stock exchange and the foreign ministry without the police interfering against those who committed the acts then or later. The mass arrest took place in another section of the demonstration in another district of the town 40 minutes later than the smashing of many windows. In this section there were also people dressed in black as the syndicalist youth in Sweden, who had permit to go in the demonstration and fully accepted the rules set by the demonstration organizers. Together with members of Attac, environmentalists, Hare Krishna and others. In the paranoid world of the Danish police any black dressed person is a potential member of the collective force of 5000 to 10000 violent activists they claimed should come to Copenhagen.

Political theater with the help of omnipresent Italians

It is now becoming more and more clear that the symbiosis between politicians, media and the police have turned the courts into political theater. The summits produce more and more photo sessions for the media and less and less results. To give some importance to these photo opportunities for the press the politicians constantly widen the right to use almost any means for the police, make anything a crime and puts enormous resources into ever growing intelligence units competing with each other. These intelligence units more rightly called units for distributing fantastic somewhat too creative false rumors causing complete disorder in proportionate basis for decisions are the tool for producing an atmosphere of importance surrounding the photo session. After all must something important happen when so much security is need against such enormous threats outside consisting of countless of violent, and as we shall see always Italian phantoms.

The peace and conflict researcher Hans Abrahamsson have shown how half a dousin different US intelligence units during the EU Summit in Gothenburg together with their Swedish equivalents were able to compete with each other and plant a rumor that 400 Italian white overall activists would push themselves into the hotel of president Bush. This paranoid idea was not taken serious by the Swedish security police which one could see as the appropriate authority for assessing threats of this magnitude and balancing the national security interests of Sweden and the US. Instead the head of the police operation that had been educated several times in the US decided against the will of the security police. They were well informed by many of their security agents inside the school were the white overalls were supposed to prepare for the attack against Bush. The whole thing ended by the police storming the school with almost 500 people inside including the 30 or so white overalls who mainly were Finnish and some brought to trial in Helsinki. The intelligence services and the police in Sweden as well as Denmark have been turned into mad houses producing false rumors with the politicians as the main driving force behind the media circus.

This is repeated in Denmark. In the trials a police observer, in a report described how the core participants in the black bloc looked like: “If not all, so far mostly Italian-looking people all dressed in black clothes, black hood jackets, with the hood pulled up over your head and down the forehead and a black scarf pulled up to the eyes. Several had backpacks (…) and all had a big cobblestone in each hand, ca. 12 x 12 x 12 cm.“

The Emperor is naked

It is about time to wake up and see that the emperor is naked. The ever growing misuse of both the police and the courts for political Summit theater purposes have reached a tragicomical climax in Copenhagen. There is no way that the juridical system can regain any defensible rational core without rejecting the claims made by the police in both the trials on the mass arrests and against the spokes persons for non-violent civil disobedience. Concerned citizens and Danish representative organizations must stand up for defensible juridical principles and protect democratic rights That is the only way to calim that they can have respect when inviting people from the rest of the world to come and use freedom of expression at a summit.

Tord Björk

The Danish daily Information summarizes the trials on the mass arrests:

The trial on damages in the wake of Denmark history’s greatest mass arrests during the summit is about the limits on police use of force, but has come also to act on cynicism and humiliation of detainees citizens. Information gør status efter 12 retsmøder Information takes stock after 12 court hearings

The daily Politiken on the mass arrest trials:

Modkraft on the mass arrest trials:

The Whole World on Trial

Back ground with links to many articles and sources on the repression and the lack of response from Danish organizations:

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Space for Movement? Reflections from Bolivia on climate justice, social movements and the state.

Space for Movement?

Space for Movement?

Reflections from Bolivia on climate justice, social movements and the state

In the wake of the failed COP-15 in Copenhagen last December, Bolivia’s first indigenous president called for a World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth (CMPCC). Was this the necessary space for social movements to respond where governments and the UN have failed? Was it an attempt to co-opt radical demands? Following the CMPCC in Cochabamba, April 2010, this booklet reflects on the lessons from Bolivia and the role of movements in the fight for climate justice.

Download a copy of the book here!

To get a hard copy of the book, for a suggested donation of £2.50 (€3) email us at buildingclimatejustice (at)


Edited by the Building Bridges Collective- an ad-hoc group made up of 8 people that came together through our shared interest in the CMPCC, put in touch with each other through friends and contacts.

As individuals we are involved with various autonomous political groups and networks including Rising Tide, No Borders, Climate Justice Action, Camp for Climate Action, Carbon Trade Watch, Somos Sur, Trapese Popular Education Collective, and EYFA.

However, the thoughts, analyses and perspectives in this booklet are ours and do
not, of course, represent the views of these groups or networks.

This booklet would not have been possible without the generous and thoughtful contributions of all the people we talked to and interviewed whilst in Bolivia.

We wrote, distributed an open letter to the participants of the conference and have used this as a basis of the interviews and the sections in this booklet, read it here.

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, Copenhagen/COP-15, Independent Media, Indigenous Peoples

Call for Solidarity actions with the accused COP15 activists

Two of the most recent additions to Global Justice Ecology Project’s New Voices on Climate Change program, Stine Gry Jonassen and Tannie Nyboe were arrested preemptively during the UN climate conference in Copenhagen last December (COP15) and were detained for up to a month. Stine and Tannie are accused of charges including planning violence against police, systematic vandalism and serious disturbance of public peace and order. Some of these charges are drawn from the Danish terror package and the penalties are strenghtened by the new Danish anti-protester laws introduced just prior to the COP15. The charges they face are unfounded, but can still potentially result in years in prison.  Additionally Stine was officially accredited to the UN climate conference by Global Justice Ecology Project.

Please spread in all your networks:

Call for Solidarity actions with the accused COP15 activists

On the 18th of August there will be a solidarity demonstration in Copenhagen to mark the trial of the first two people accused of ‘organizing’ the protests around the COP 15. We urge everyone to spend the day or the following days on demonstrations and statements of support and solidarity – demonstration and manifestations outside Danish embassies, press work and articles – all are welcome and appreciated.

During the climate summit in Copenhagen, around 2000 people were arrested preventively and held in custody while they were trying to get their voices heard. These people along with thousands of other activists from around the world were trying to set a different and more just political agenda in the climate debate.

Approximately 20 people were detained for up to a month, out of which four people are faced with trials this autumn.* These people are accused of charges including planning violence against police, systematic vandalism and serious disturbance of public peace and order. Some of these charges are drawn from the Danish terror package and the penalties are strenghtened by the new Danish anti-protester laws introduced just prior to the COP 15. The charges they face are unfounded, but can still potentially result in years in prison.

During COP15 thousands of people from around the world gathered in Copenhagen to challenge the farcical political negotiations at the Bella Center and demand just solutions to the climate crises. We demonstrated for solutions that are not only favouring the rich western world. We protested for real solutions which are challenging the capitalist system, because this system has a  constant focus on growth and profit that is obviously not able to solve the  climate problems.

This dawning climate justice movement was met with antipathy and arrogance of power from the Danish government, which was reflected in the form of a massive police repression. During 2009 the Danish government and the Danish police carried out an intense scare campaign
in the media to demonize protesters and activists. Police were given extra power and economic resources for the COP 15. This led to thousands of preventive arrests, month-long surveillance of telephone and raids of private homes and accommodations, and grotesque and unnecessary detentions.

The police actions were completely out of proportion and a clear violation of our democratic rights. Their actions attempted criminalization of our right to organize ourselves politically. It was made clear that any movement that dares to challenge existing power structures and demand political changes are not welcome in Denmark today. Instead of listening to the massive criticism of the negotiations, the Danish government revealed a hypocritical lack of
interest in solving the climate problems. And now the Danish state is trying to make four individuals responsible for a whole movement’s collective decision-making and collective protests.

In our view – the right to protest and everyone’s right to be heard, is an essential element in a democracy – even if you are speaking against the existing capitalist system. We therefore call on everyone to show solidarity with the accused and make the criticism of the ongoing
processes visible.

We would like to receive information and documentation of any actions you take to collect on our website.

The coming trials is not just about the fact that innocent people might be convicted, but about everybody’s fundamental right to demonstrate, protest, take action and organize politically. It is important that we do not sign away these rights, but continue the fight.

In Solidarity – The Climate Collective or

* The four accused are: Natasha Verco, Noah Weiss, Stine Gry Jonassen and Tannie Nyboe. Natasha and Noah’s trials are on the 24th, 25th and 31th of August, and Stine and Tannie’s trials  are on the 6th, 27th and 28th of October. The prosecution case against the Danish state about the preventive arrests are on the 23th and 30th of August and the 1st of September.

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, Copenhagen/COP-15, Independent Media, Media