tagged w/ carbon trading schemes
In this extract from his book, To Cook A Continent, Nnimmo Bassey argues that climate negotiations, from Durban in late 2011 onwards, will increasingly confront the issue of climate justice.
The atmosphere is a common space, a global commons. Industrialised nations pumped a disproportionate amount of emissions into the atmosphere and they have cornered a disproportionate amount of global resources, largely by exploiting nations that are on the other side of the coin. Climate impacts are already being felt in a severe way in Africa as well as in other regions of the global South. Centuries of exploitation have weakened the resilience of these regions and in tackling climate change these historical facts must be addressed. One way of addressing this is by the payment of climate debt to make the needed financial and technological resources available to these vulnerable regions.
The Conference of Parties at Copenhagen and the following one at Cancun did not generate outcomes consistent with scientific warnings that the world faces a severe climate crisis. Copenhagen ended with an accord spearheaded by President Barack Obama of the United States with the backing of the BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) concocted in a 'Green Room' dreamed up by Denmark's conservative ruling party. In that room, Patrick Bond recalled, were 26 countries 'cherry-picked to represent the world. When even that small group deadlocked, allegedly due to Chinese intransigence and the overall weak parameters set by the US, the five leaders (Obama, Lula da Silva, Jacob Zuma, Manmohan Singh, and Wen Jiabao) attempted a face-saving last gasp at planetary hygiene.'12
The demand of climate justice is that those who created the climate problem must be the ones to mitigate it, and in the process must transform their economies and societies.13 There are two ways to go about making this happen. First, rich nations must reduce rapacious consumption patterns and address the climate crisis with real solutions and not ones that have been seen to be false. Second, the rich nations have to support the poor nations who are being forced to adapt to a situation they did not create. One practical way of making that happen is through support for sustainable, green development paths.
Among governments, the Bolivians have made the clearest call for climate justice while India and China have used related arguments to defend their growth paths. At a time when the world has been calling for a curtailment of polluting industrial establishments, China has been building new coal-fired power plants at a prodigious rate.14 It is interesting to note that while China is massively expanding its coal-powered plants, it is also quickly assuming leadership in the utilisation of wind power. The discourse on how much both China and India must do in tackling global warming must not overlook the fact that vast numbers of people in both India and China still require electricity supply and that meeting that gap requires huge financial outlays.
Following the catastrophic outcome of the United Nations climate negotiations held in Copenhagen in December 2009, President Evo Morales of Bolivia announced that the world would meet in Bolivia for a thorough and inclusive discussion on this vital issue.
The summit, held in Cochabamba in April 2010, attracted 35,000 participants from 140 countries. The summit stood in sharp contrast to the Copenhagen event in many ways. First, this was an assembly of governments and peoples. In Copenhagen no effort was spared in keeping civil society out of the conference: the conference was marked by lockouts of civil society, detentions of climate activists and outright brutality towards non-violent protesters on the streets. In Cochabamba the police were offering assistance and were also participants. Whereas Copenhagen showed a disdain for the voices of the people, Cochabamba was about raising the voices of the people. The only similarity between the events is that they were both held in cities whose names start with letter 'C' followed by nine letters.
The key outcome of the Cochabamba conference was the People's Agreement. This agreement demanded that countries cut their emissions by at least 50 per cent at source in the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2013–17), without recourse to offsets and other carbon trading schemes. In terms of finance, the People's Agreement demands that developed countries commit 6 per cent of their GDP to finance adaptation and mitigation needs. The financial suggestions of the Copenhagen Accord are a drop in the ocean compared to what is needed to secure vulnerable peoples and nations. The peoples of the world also affirmed that there is a climate debt that must be recognised and paid. The payment is not all about finance but principally about decolonising the atmospheric space and redistributing the meagre space left. Developed countries already occupy 80 per cent of the space.
The climate debt is also about taking actions needed to restore the natural cycles of Mother Earth and one clear way of achieving this will be through the proclamation of a Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth, with clear obligations for humans. Bolivia is in the forefront of promoting the adoption of this declaration at the United Nations. The People's Agreement recognises that the causes of climate change are systemic and that systemic changes are needed to tackle them. On this note, the model of civilisation that is hinged on uncontrolled development can only compound the crisis. The world needs to move towards living well and not continue on the path of domination of others and of conspicuous and wasteful consumption.
An area glossed over in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations is the role of industrial agriculture in climate change. The People's Conference debated this key sector and reached the agreement that the way to a sustainable future is through the enthronement of food sovereignty based on agro-ecological agricultural systems. The issue of access to water being a human right was also affirmed by the people and later on in the year by the United Nations.
In all, the People's Agreement recognises that real strategies to tackle climate change must be based on the principles of equity and justice in dealing with the structural causes. Without climate justice it will also clearly be impossible to achieve the much talked about Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Cochabamba resonated with calls for urgently securing the rights of Mother Earth as a means of reconfiguring our relationship with the earth and with each other – in a way that respects the past, today and the future. All these will be a pipe dream unless peoples' sovereignty is supported, restored or built across the world. Cochabamba was a turning point in the march to transform our world from the path of conflict, competition, exploitation and domination to a path of solidarity and dignity. It held a ray of hope for Africa.
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I posted this excerpt from this article because it hits the nail on the head about the mechanisms involved in the schemes being put forth by industrialized nations, the World Bank and corporations (industrial agriculture especially) looking to use this planetary emergency as a way to profit from it without really doing anything to address it. And that includes our seeds and water. Our voices now can make a dfference and they must be heard.In this extract from his book, To Cook A Continent, Nnimmo Bassey argues that climate... more
We are socio-environmental organizations and movements, male and female workers in family and peasant agriculture, agroextractivists, members of Quilombola (descendants of runaway slaves) communities, women's organizations, urban grassroots organizations, fishermen and women, students, traditional peoples and communities, and native peoples sharing the struggle against deforestation and for environmental justice in the Amazon and in Brazil at large. We gathered at the seminar "Climate and Forest - REDD and market-based mechanisms as a solution for the Amazon?," held in Belém, state of Pará, Brazil, on October 2-3, 2009, to analyze proposals for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) for the region in the light of our experiences with policies and programs implemented in the region in recent decades. In this letter, we are publicly calling on the Brazilian Government to reject the idea of using REDD as a carbon market-based mechanism and of accepting it as a means to compensate the emissions from Northern countries.
We reject the use of market-based mechanisms as tools to reduce carbon emissions based on the firm conviction that the market cannot be expected to take responsibility for life on the planet. The Conference of the Parties (COP) and its ensuing results showed that governments are not willing to take on consistent public commitments and that they tend to transfer the practical responsibility for achieving (notoriously insufficient) targets to the private initiative. As a result, public investments in and control of compliance with targets falter, while the expansion of a global CO2 market is legitimized as a new form of financial capital investment and a means to ensure the survival of a failed production and consumption model.
The REDD proposals under discussion do not make any distinction between native forests and large-scale tree monoculture, and they allow economic actors - which have historically destroyed ecosystems and expelled populations from them - to resort to standing forest appreciation mechanisms to preserve and strengthen their economic and political power to the detriment of those populations. In addition, we run the risk of allowing industrialized countries not to reduce their fossil-fuel emissions drastically and to maintain an unsustainable production and consumption model. We need agreements to force Northern countries to recognize their climate debt and to assume the commitment to pay it off.
For Brazil, international climate negotiations should not be focused on discussing REDD and other market-based mechanisms, but rather on the transition to a new production, distribution and consumption model based on agroecology, on a solidarity-based economic approach, and on a diversified and decentralized energy matrix capable of ensuring food security and sovereignty.
The main challenge for addressing deforestation in the Amazon and in other biomes in Brazil lies in solving the serious land ownership problems facing the country, which are at the roots of its socio-environmental conflicts.
Deforestation - resulting from the advance of monoculture and of policies that favor agribusiness and a development model based on the predatory exploitation and export of natural resources - can only be avoided if the land issue is appropriately addressed through a Land Reform and sustainable territorial reorganization measures, and if territories occupied by traditional peoples and communities and by native peoples are legally recognized.
We have a different vision on what territory, development and economics are all about, which we are building over time, based on the sustainable use of forests and free use of biodiversity. A set of public policies is necessary for ensuring recognition of and appreciation for traditional practices, on the basis of a balanced relationship between production and environmental preservation.
We are committed to keep on fighting for what we believe in the light of this vision and to make sure that any mechanism for reducing deforestation is based on a comprehensive set of public policies and public and voluntary funds that can ensure our rights and life in the Amazon and on the planet.We are socio-environmental organizations and movements, male and female workers in... more