Wednesday, December 09, 2009

coping with copenhagen

The Copenhagen climate talks are underway, and there's going to be a hell of lot going on to keep track of. Not only the twists and turns of the inevitably bad deal discussed among delegates, but what's happening outside too.

I'll be there, but even if I can find interweb access I may well have other priorities than blogging, so here's a few pointers to keep you tuned in.

At the start of this year Danny Chivers wrote a round-up of what's on the table at Copenhagen that covers the basics.

The BBC's Richard Black is already several posts in to his series covering the details of what's going on inside the negotiations.

As if the process weren't already slanted by the disproportionate power of the high-emitter countries and the vast armies of corporate lobbyists, it turns out there's been a behind-closed-doors deal that would leave citizens of wealthy nations with double the 2050 carbon allowance of poor people.

So let's be clear. We owe a carbon debt. Our wealth has largely been accrued by activities that are unjust and/or high carbon. This is not just about cutting emissions. This is about justice.

There's an array of action going off during the talks under the umbrella of Climate Justice Action whose declaration explains:

On the 16th of December, at the start of the high-level ‘ministerial’ phase of the two-week summit, we, the movements for global justice, will take over the conference for one day and transform it into a People’s Summit for Climate Justice.

Using only the force of our bodies to achieve our goal, our Reclaim Power! march will push into the conference area and enter the building, disrupt the sessions and use the space to talk about our agenda, an agenda from below, an agenda of climate justice, of real solutions against their false ones.

Our action is one of civil disobedience: we will overcome any physical barriers that stand in our way – but we will not respond with violence if the police try to escalate the situation.

Our goal is not to shut down the entire summit. But this day will be ours, it will be the day we speak for ourselves and set the agenda: climate justice now! We cannot trust the market with our future, nor put our faith in unsafe, unproven and unsustainable technologies. We know that on a finite planet, it is impossible to have infinite growth – ‘green’ or otherwise.

Instead of trying to fix a destructive system, we are advancing alternatives that provide real and just solutions to the climate crisis: leaving fossil fuels in the ground; reasserting peoples’ and community control over resources; relocalising food production; reducing overconsumption, particularly in the North; recognising the ecological and climate debt owed to the peoples of the South and making reparations; and respecting indigenous and forest peoples’ rights.

The Climate Justice Chronicle is being published every other day during the Copenhagen climate talks. The first issue has an editorial on what's at stake, something from Tom Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network, an article on the problems of the population and climate discourse, a piece from one of the Bolivian delegates to the talks and a short summary of recent climate activism in the UK and South Africa. Download it from here.

New Internationalist's editor Jess Worth will be blogging from Copenhagen too. The current issue of NI focuses on Copenhagen, and the article In Our Hands talks of the real promise of the talks; the meeting and binding of those of us outside into a coherent force.

The governments have known what's going on better than us for longer than us, yet still they refuse to bend to the demands of the science, let alone of justice. Copenhagen is where they prove once more their utter ineptitude, their complete inability to act as the situation requires.

As the urgency intensifies, we need a stronger network of grassroots action to create change. Copenhagen will be host to thousands of activists from around the world; it promises to be the birth of the truly global climate movement.

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