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Q&A with Patrick Bond: COP18, another ‘Conference of Polluters’

Note: Most people who are paying attention have pretty meager hopes for success in Doha.  In the interview below, Patrick Bond explains why Doha will certainly be one of many failures in the history of the UNFCCC ‘Conference of Polluters’.  From corporate influence to bribery and bullying by the US and World Bank, the odds are stacked against anyone hoping for real climate solutions this time around.  As Bond-a longtime friend and colleague of GJEP-alludes to in the interview, real solutions are going to come from the ability of social movements to overcome corporate tyranny.

-The GJEP Team

By Busani Bafana, November 27, 2012.  Source: Inter Press Service

Professor Patrick Bond

There is no political will among rich nations to find funding for developing countries experiencing the brunt of changes in global weather patterns, and the current climate change conference will fail to do so, according to Professor Patrick Bond, a leading thinker and analyst on climate change issues.

“The elites continue to discredit themselves at every opportunity. The only solution is to turn away from these destructive conferences and avoid giving the elites any legitimacy, and instead, to analyse and build the world climate justice movement and its alternatives,” Bond, a political economist and also the director of the Centre for Civil Society at the University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa, told IPS.

As the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) began in Doha, Qatar on Monday Nov. 26, Bond described past COPs as “conferences of polluters”. He believes COP18 will be no different.

“Qatar is an entirely appropriate host country for the next failed climate conference. On grounds of gender, race, class and social equity, environment, civil society voice and democracy, it’s a feudal zone, and the Arab world’s best mass media, Doha-based Al Jazeera, can’t tell the truth at home,” said the professor and author of the book, “Politics of Climate Justice”.
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Filed under Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, UNFCCC, World Bank

Occupy movement comes to Cop 17–News from UN climate convention in Durban

Inspired by the Occupy Wall St. movement, protesters calling for “climate justice” are set to gather at the opening of UN climate talks in Durban organisers say.

Note:  GJEP is on the ground in Durban, South Africa and, as you can see from some of our previous posts, we have started reportage of what is happening so far.  We will continue to do so through the next two weeks. Recently we posted Climate change: vulnerable countries consider ‘occupying’ Durban talks by The Guardian’s John Vidal. Well, the Occupy movement seems to be really on its way here.  Before the next article, our colleague and friend, Patrick Bond posted on one of the listservs here, “…the Durban police will smile and stand idly by, it has been confirmed – they’re  not savages like in NY and California.”  -The GJEP Team

Sapa-AFP | 27 November, 2011 10:57

“A meeting at the ‘Speaker’s Corner’ will be called, an assembly,” Patrick Bond, a professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, told AFP, referring to a spot near the venue of the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

“Negotiations have begun with the city on an authorised protest space,” said Bond, who is associated with the largely youth-driven initiative.

A website dedicated to “Occupy COP17” echoed the frustration of many poorer nations already facing climate impacts with the slow pace and low ambition of the talks.

“Inside their assembly and inside their declarations the needs of the 99 percent are not being heard,” reads a declaration on a the site.

“Private corporations are occupying our seats in the UN climate talks and governments corrupted by corporate influence are claiming to represent our needs.”

On Friday, South Africa’s police minister said his country would deploy 2,500 officers to the UN climate talks starting this week.

“Police will not tolerate criminal acts that are disguised as demonstrations, which in some cases include destruction of property and intimidations,” said Nathi Mthethwa.

The government has given the nod to a civil society march next Saturday, but the minister made no mention of the Occupy event.

The possibility of an “Occupy COP17” protest was raised earlier this month by former Costa Rican president Jose Maria Figueres at the Climate Vulnerable Forum in Bangladesh.

“With respect to climate maybe we need an Occupy Durban,” he told OneWorld TV.

Such a action could take the form of “a sit-in by the delegations of those countries that are most affected by climate change,” he said.

Some climate-vulnerable states have slammed recent proposals from wealthy nations that a legally-binding climate pact can wait until the end of this decade.

Such proposals are “both environmentally reckless and politically irresponsible,” Joseph Gilbert, Grenada’s environment minister, said several weeks ago on behalf of the 42-nation Association of Small Island States (AOSIS).

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, UNFCCC

Video: Patrick Bond, Raises Concerns About Upcoming COP 17 Conference in Durban, South Africa

Note: Global Justice Ecology Project will be blogging daily from the UN Climate Conference (COP-17) in Durban, South Africa from November 28th through December 10th.

Patrick Bond, co-author of Climate Change, Carbon Trading and Civil Society, has already expressed skepticism about COP 17, a climate change “cop out”, pretending to be a climate “change” conference when in fact its main use is to serve and protect the interests of carbon traders and those who profit from exploiting the environment. The conference is set to take place in Durban between November 28th & December 9th.

In the following video, Bond argues that these conferences are really just a way for big business to negotiate on the price it will cost for them to pollute the environment. The interest in the conference has more to do with commodifying nature, and less to do with protecting its resources.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, UNFCCC