Climate Justice Now: 2011 COP17 Succumbs to Climate Apartheid!

Antidote is Cochabamba Peoples’ Agreement!

CJN! Press release, 10 December,  Durban, S. Africa

Cross-posted from Climate Justice Now!

(Photo: Robert van Waarden, Project Survival Media)

Decisions resulting from the UN COP17 climate summit in Durban constitute a crime against humanity, according to Climate Justice Now! a broad coalition of social movements and civil society. Here in South Africa, where the world was inspired by the liberation struggle of the country’s black majority, the richest nations have cynically created a new regime of climate apartheid

“Delaying real action until 2020 is a crime of global proportions,” said Nnimmo Bassey, Chair of Friends of the Earth International. “An increase in global temperatures of 4 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%.”

According to Pablo Solón, former lead negotiator for the Plurinational State of Bolivia, “It is false to say that a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol has been adopted in Durban. The actual decision has merely been postponed to the next COP, with no commitments for emission reductions from rich countries. This means that the Kyoto Protocol will be on life support until it is replaced by a new agreement that will be even weaker.”

The world’s polluters have blocked real action and have once again chosen to bail out investors and banks by expanding the now-crashing carbon markets – which like all financial market activities these days, appear to mainly enrich a select few.

“What some see as inaction is in fact a demonstration of the palpable failure of our current economic system to address economic, social or environmental crises,” said Janet Redman, of the Washington- based Institute for Policy Studies. “Banks that caused the financial crisis are now making bonanza profits speculating on our planet’s future. The financial sector, driven into a corner, is seeking a way out by developing ever newer commodities to prop up a failing system.”

Despite talk of a “roadmap” offered up by the EU, the failure in Durban shows that this is a cul-de-sac, a road to nowhere. Spokespeople for Climate Justice Now! call on the world community to remember that a real climate program, based on planetary needs identified by scientists as well as by a mandate of popular movements, emerged at the World People’s Summit on Climate Change and Mother Earth in Bolivia in 2010. The Cochabamba People’s Agreement, brought before the UN but erased from the negotiating text, offers a just and effective way forward that is desperately needed.

For more information, contact: Mike Dorsey – mkdorsey@professordorsey.com, or call+27 (0)79 863 8756 or +1-734-945-6424 Nick Buxton – nick@tni.org or call +27(0)81 589 8564 or +1 530 902 3772 ADDITIONAL

BACKGROUND

On technology

“The technology discussions have been hijacked by industrialized countries speaking on behalf of their transnational corporations,” said Silvia Ribeiro from the international organization ETC Group. Critique of monopoly patents on technologies, and the environmental, social and cultural evaluation of technologies have been taken out of the Durban outcome. Without addressing these fundamental concerns, the new technology mechanism will merely be a global marketing arm to increase the profit of transnational corporations by selling dangerous technologies to countries of the South, such as nanotechnology, synthetic biology or geoengineering technologies.”

On agriculture

“The only way forward for agriculture is to support agro-ecological solutions, and to keep agriculture out of the carbon market,” said Alberto Gomez, North American Coordinator for La Via Campesina, the world’s largest movement of peasant farmers. “Corporate Agribusiness, through its social, economic, and cultural model of production, is one of the principal causes of climate change and increased hunger. We therefore reject Free Trade Agreements, Association Agreements, and all forms of the application of Intellectual Property Rights to life, current technological packages (agrochemicals, genetic modification) and those that offer false solutions (biofuels, nanotechnology, and climate smart agriculture) that only exacerbate the current crisis.”

On REDD + and forest carbon projects

“REDD+ threatens the survival of Indigenous Peoples and forest-dependent communities. Mounting evidence shows that Indigenous Peoples are being subjected to violations of their rights as a result of the implementation of REDD+-type programs and policies,” declared The Global Alliance of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities against REDD and for Life. Their statement, released during the first week of COP17, declares that “REDD+ and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) promote the privatization and commodification of forests, trees and air through carbon markets and offsets from forests, soils, agriculture and could even include the oceans. We denounce carbon markets as a hypocrisy that will not stop global warming.”

On the World Bank and the Global Climate Fund

“The World Bank is a villain of the failed neoliberal economy,” says Teresa Almaguer of Grassroots Global Justice Alliance in the U.S. “We need a climate fund managed by participatory governance, not by an anti-democratic institution that is responsible for much of the climate disruption and poverty in the world.” “The Green Climate Fund has been turned into the Greedy Corporate Fund,” said Lidy Nacpil, of Jubilee South. “The fund has been hijacked by the rich countries, on their terms, and set up to provide more profits to the private sector”

On the Green Economy

We need a climate fund that provides finance for peoples of developing countries that is fully independent from undemocratic institutions like the World Bank. The Bank has a long track record of financing projects that exacerbate climate disruption and poverty” said Lidy Nacpil, of Jubilee South. “The fund is being hijacked by the rich countries, setting up the World Bank as interim trustee and providing direct access to money meant for developing countries to the private sector.  It should be called the Greedy Corporate Fund!”

Climate policy is making a radical shift towards the so-called “green economy,” dangerously reducing ethical commitments and historical responsibility to an economic calculation on cost-effectiveness, trade and investment opportunities. Mitigation and adaption should not be treated as a business nor have its financing conditioned by private sector and profit-oriented logic. Life is not for sale.

On climate debt

Industrialized northern countries are morally and legally obligated to repay their climate debt,” said Janet Redman, Co-director of the Sustainable Energy & Economy Network at the Institute for Policy Studies. “Developed countries grew rich at the expense of the planet and the future all people by exploiting cheap coal and oil. They must pay for the resulting loss and damages, dramatically reduce emissions now, and financially support developing countries to shift to clean energy pathways.”

Developed countries, in assuming their historical responsibility, must honor their climate debt in all its dimensions as the basis for a just, effective, and scientific solution. The focus must not be only on financial compensation, but also on restorative justice, understood as the restitution of integrity to our Mother Earth and all its beings. We call on developed countries to commit themselves to action. Only this could perhaps rebuild the trust that has been broken and enable the process to move forward.

On real solutions

The only real solution to climate change is to leave the oil in the soil, coal in the hole and tar sands in the land. “ Ivonne Yanez, Acción Ecologica, Ecuador

For more information, contact:

Mike Dorsey – mkdorsey@professordorsey.com, or call+27 (0)79 863 8756 or +1-734-945-6424

Nick Buxton – nick@tni.orgor call +27(0)81 589 8564 or +1 530 902 3772

UN: Durban conference delivers breakthrough in international community’s response to climate change

UN: Durban conference delivers breakthrough in international community’s response to climate change

(Photo: Jan Golinski, UNFCCC)

Cross-posted from United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

(Durban, 11 December 2011) – Countries meeting in Durban, South Africa, have delivered a breakthrough on the future of the international community’s response to climate change, whilst recognizing the urgent need to raise their collective level of ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to keep the average global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius.

“We have taken crucial steps forward for the common good and the global citizenry today. I believe that what we have achieved in Durban will play a central role in saving tomorrow, today,” said Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation and President of the Durban UN Climate Change Conference (COP17/CMP7).

“I salute the countries who made this agreement. They have all laid aside some cherished objectives of their own to meet a common purpose – a long-term solution to climate change. I sincerely thank the South African Presidency who steered through a long and intense conference to a historic agreement that has met all major issues,” said Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

In Durban, governments decided to adopt a universal legal agreement on climate change as soon as possible, but not later than 2015. Work will begin on this immediately under a new group called the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action.

Governments, including 38 industrialised countries, agreed a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol from January 1, 2013. To achieve rapid clarity, Parties to this second period will turn their economy-wide targets into quantified emission limitation or reduction objectives and submit them for review by May 1, 2012.

“This is highly significant because the Kyoto Protocol’s accounting rules, mechanisms and markets all remain in action as effective tools to leverage global climate action and as models to inform future agreements,” Ms. Figueres said.

A significantly advanced framework for the reporting of emission reductions for both developed and developing countries was also agreed, taking into consideration the common but differentiated responsibilities  of different countries.

In addition to charting the way forward on reducing greenhouse gases in the global context, governments meeting in South Africa agreed the full implementation of the package to support developing nations, agreed last year in Cancun, Mexico.

“This means that urgent support for the developing world, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable to adapt to climate change, will also be launched on time,” said Ms Figueres.

The package includes the Green Climate Fund, an Adaptation Committee designed to improve the coordination of adaptation actions on a global scale, and a Technology Mechanism, which are to become fully operational in 2012 (see below for details).

Whilst pledging to make progress in a number of areas, governments acknowledged the urgent concern that the current sum of pledges to cut emissions both from developed and developing countries is not high enough to keep the global average temperature rise below two degrees Celsius.

They therefore decided that the UN Climate Change process shall increase ambition to act and will be led by the climate science in the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report and the global Review from 2013-2015.

“While it is clear that these deadlines must be met, countries, citizens and businesses who have been behind the rising global wave of climate action can now push ahead confidently, knowing that Durban has lit up a broader highway to a low-emission, climate resilient future,” said the UNFCCC Executive Secretary.

The next major UNFCCC Climate Change Conference, COP 18/ CMP 8, is to take place 26 November to 7 December 2012 in Qatar, in close cooperation with the Republic of Korea.

Details of key decisions that emerged from COP17 in Durban

Green Climate Fund

•       Countries have already started to pledge to contribute to start-up costs of the fund, meaning it can be made ready in 2012, and at the same time can help developing countries get ready to access the fund, boosting their efforts to establish their own clean energy futures and adapt to existing        climate change.

• A Standing Committee is to keep an overview of climate finance in the context of the UNFCCC and to assist the Conference of the Parties. It will comprise 20 members, represented equally between the developed and developing world.

•       A focussed work programme on long-term finance was agreed, which will contribute to the scaling up of climate change finance going forward   and will analyse options for the mobilisation of resources from a variety of sources.

Adaptation

•       The  Adaptation Committee, composed of 16 members, will report to the COP on its efforts to improve the coordination of adaptation actions at a global scale.

•       The adaptive capacities above all of the poorest and most vulnerable countries are to be strengthened. National Adaptation Plans will allow developing countries to assess and reduce their vulnerability to climate change.

•       The most vulnerable are to receive better protection against loss and damage caused by extreme weather events related to climate change.

Technology

•       The Technology Mechanism will become fully operational in 2012.

•       The full terms of reference for the operational arm of the Mechanism – the Climate Technology Centre and Network – are agreed, along with a clear procedure to select the host. The UNFCCC secretariat will issue a call for proposals for hosts on 16 January 2012.

Support of developing country action

•       Governments agreed a registry to record developing country mitigation actions that seek financial support and to match these with support. The registry will be a flexible, dynamic, web-based platform.

Other key decisions

•       A forum and work programme on unintended consequences of climate change actions and policies were established.

•       Under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism, governments adopted procedures to allow carbon-capture and storage projects.        These guidelines will be reviewed every five years to ensure environmental integrity.

•       Governments agreed to develop a new market-based mechanism to assist developed countries in meeting part of their targets or commitments under the Convention. Details of this will be taken forward in 2012.

About the UNFCCC

With 195 Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol has been ratified by 193 of the UNFCCC Parties. Under the Protocol, 37 States, consisting of highly industrialized countries and countries undergoing the process of transition to a market economy, have legally binding emission limitation and reduction commitments. The ultimate objective of both treaties is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.

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Powerful Youth Intervention Followed by Mic Check

December 9, 2011.

Durban, South Africa.

Power Youth Intervention given by Anjali Appadurai followed by a Mic-Check during Plenary.

See the full text of Anjali’s intervention:

I speak for more than half the world’s population.

We are the silent majority. You’ve given us a seat in this hall, but our interests are not on the table.

What does it take to get a stake in this game? Lobbyists? Corporate influence? Money?

You have been negotiating all of my life. In that time, you’ve failed to meet pledges, you’ve missed targets, and you’ve broken promises.

But you’ve heard this all before.

We’re in Africa, home to communities on the frontline of climate change. The world’s poorest countries need funding for adaptation NOW. The Horn of Africa, and those nearby in KwaMashu needed it yesterday.

But as 2012 dawns, our Green Climate Fund remains empty.

The IEA tells us that we have 5 years until the window to avoid irreversible climate change closes.

The science tells us that we have 5 years, MAXIMUM. You’re saying: give us 10.

The most stark betrayal of your generation’s responsibility to ours is that you call this AMBITION.

Where is the courage in this room? Now is not the time for incremental action. In the long-run, these will be seen as the defining moments of an era in which narrow self-interest prevailed over science, reason, and common compassion.

There is real ambition in this room but it’s been dismissed as radical, deemed not “politically possible”.
Long-term thinking is not radical. What’s radical is to completely alter the planet’s climate, to betray the future of my generation and to condemn millions to death by climate change.

What’s radical is to write off the fact that change is within our reach.
Stand with Africa.

2011 was the year in which the silent majority found their voice, the year when the bottom shook the top, 2011 was the year when the radical became reality.

Common but differentiated and historical responsibility are NOT up for debate. Respect the foundational principles of this Convention. Respect the integral values of humanity. Respect the future of your descendants.

Mandela said “it always seems impossible, until it’s done”.

So, distinguished delegates and governments of the developed world – deep cuts now. Get it done.

UN Security Ejects Delegate Dressed as “Uncle Sam” clown. Security Tells Reporters to Delete Photos

 

photo by Orin Langelle

December 8, 2011.
Durban, South Africa

At 12:15pm today, after a press conference hosted by Global Justice Ecology Project, a GJEP panelist dressed as a clown was de-badged and removed from the UNFCCC negotiations.
“Uncle Sam,” identified as Kevin Buckland, art ambassador for 350.org, was stopped in the middle of an interview immediately following the press conference and was escorted out of the building by security. Buckland has been appearing as “Uncle Sam,” the ringleader of a band of corporate clowns, at several outside rallies and events over the past two weeks of the UN climate talks here in Durban, South Africa.

Buckland was informed by UN security that he was breaking the NGO code of conduct, despite repeated affirmations that he was merely giving an interview, and not participating in an action.  This is only the latest in a string of incidences here at COP17 where civil society has been muzzled by “code of conduct” rules arbitrarily imposed by UN security.

Journalist Orin Langelle of Z Magazine and Global Justice Ecology Project was told by UNFCCC Security Guards to stop taking photos and had his camera smashed in his face. Two civil society observers had their cameras taken by security while filming the expulsion process.

Global Justice Ecology Project’s press release promised “…a strong denouncement of the Green Economy, and an end with a band of clowns blowing bubbles and highlighting the absurdity of the whole UNFCCC process.” Buckland, who has organized and performed numerous pieces of political street theatre, was invited to the press conference to provide a satirical view of the corporate capture of the UN climate process, and of the market schemes being advanced under the guise of the new “Green Economy.”

Other panelists during the press conference, including Desmond D’Sa of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance,  Anne Petermann of Global Justice Ecology Project, Kandi Mosset of the Indigenous Environmental Network, and Ricardo Nevarro of Friends of the Earth El Salvador, the former President of FOE International, were not bothered after the press conference. Buckland was the only panelist to appear in clown regalia.

 

 

U.S. YOUTH EJECTED FROM CLIMATE TALKS WHILE CALLING FOR NECESSARY CLIMATE PROGRESS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
8 DECEMBER 2011:

Click here for photos from Project Survival Media

U.S. YOUTH EJECTED FROM CLIMATE TALKS WHILE CALLING FOR NECESSARY CLIMATE PROGRESS

Durban, South Africa — After nearly two weeks of stalled progress by the United States at the international climate talks, U.S. Youth spoke out for a real science based climate treaty. Abigail Borah, a New Jersey resident, delivered a passionate speech calling for an urgent path towards a fair and binding climate treaty and admonishing members of Congress for impeding global climate progress to internationl ministers and high level negotiators at the closing plenary of the Durban climate change negotiations. Borah’s speech was met with an eruption of applause while she was ejected from the talks shortly following her entreaty.

Borah, a student at Middlebury College, spoke on behalf of U.S. negotiators because, “they cannot speak on behalf of the United States of America,” highlighting that “the obstructionist Congress has shackled a just and delayed ambition for far too long.”

Since before the climate talks, the United States has held off on the necessary emissions reductions targets until the year 2020. Studies from the International Energy Agency, the UNEP, and countless other peer-reviewed scientific papers show that waiting until 2020 to begin aggressive emissions reduction would cause irreversible climate change, including heightened tropical storms, worsening droughts, and devastation affecting communities and businesses from Africa to America. Nevertheless, the United States has held strong to its woefully inadequate and voluntary commitments made in the Copenhagen Accord and Cancun Agreement.

“2020 is too late to wait,” urged Borah. “We need an urgent path towards a fair, ambitious, and legally binding treaty.”

The U.S. continues to negotiate on time borrowed from future generations and with every step of inaction, forces young people to solve the quickly exacerbating climate challenges that previous generations have been unable and unwilling to address.