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climate change

Australia: Tax billionaire companies to fund rapid transition to renewable energy

By Dick Nichols

May 24, 2010 -- Even as the Australian federal Labor government sticks its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme [carbon trading scheme] into the freezer the climate change crisis intensifies, demanding a response adequate to its enormity. The goal dictated by climate science is annual emissions reductions of 5% from now to 2020 -- the critical "transition decade".

Policies such as a carbon tax and feed-in tariffs have a role to play in reaching that target, but there is no way it will be remotely achieved without a vast increase in public investment in programs that strip back carbon emissions in the key problem sectors -- energy generation, transport, land use, buildings and carbon-intensive industry.

Public investment, planning and oversight is the irreplaceable centrepiece of adequate climate action.

Evo Morales: United, the developing countries can save Mother Earth

“The response to global warming is global democracy for life and for the Mother Earth.… we have two paths: to save capitalism, or to save life and Mother Earth.” — Speech by Evo Morales, president of  Bolivia, to the G77 + China at the United Nations, May 7, 2010.

By Evo Morales, president of Bolivia

[Text from Climate and Capitalism.]

May 7, 2010 -- I have come here to share the conclusions of the First World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, held last April 20 to 22 in Cochabamba, Bolivia. I convened this conference because in Copenhagen the voice of the peoples of the world was not listened to or attended to, nor were established procedures respected by all states.

The conference attracted 35,352 participants, and of those, 9254 were foreign delegates, representing movements and social organisations from 140 countries and five continents. The event also benefited from the participation of delegations from 56 governments.

Climate debt owed to Africa: What to demand and how to collect?

By Patrick Bond

May 5, 2010 -- The “climate debt” that the industries and over-consumers of the global North owe Africans and other victims of climate change not responsible for causing the problem has accrued by virtue of the North’s excessive dumping of greenhouse gas emissions into the collective environmental space. Damage is being accounted for, including the more constrained space the South has for emissions. This historical injustice – and “debt” -- is now nearly universally acknowledged (aside from Washington holdouts), and reparations plus adaptation finance are being widely demanded.

In Copenhagen, the 2009 United Nations summit on climate change witnessed a great deal of theatre over conceptual problems, including, who should make emissions cuts and to what degree; should markets be the main mechanism; who owes a climate debt; how much is owed; and how the debt should be collected. The willingness of African heads of state to raise the matter publicly beginning in mid-2009 was notable, but their inability to ensure political solidarity led to the imposition of the Copenhagen Accord on December 18, in a manner that sets back the cause.

Bolivia submits Cochabamba Conference outcome to UNFCCC

Geneva, April 28, 2010  -- The Bolivian government forwarded a submission on April 26 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat containing the outcome of the "World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth" held in Cochabamba, Bolivia, from 19-22 April. [Read the full document at http://www.scribd.com/doc/30720894/null.]

The Cochabamba conference was convened by Bolivia's President Evo Morales and was attended by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and other Latin American political leaders.

According to the Bolivian submission to the UNFCCC, more than 35,000 delegates from social movements and organisations from 140 countries had participated in the conference.

The Bolivian submission incorporates the main content of the "People's Agreement" and the draft proposal for a "Universal Declaration of Mother Earth's Rights" that were adopted at the Cochabamba conference to facilitate the inclusion of proposals for the draft negotiating text to be prepared by the chair of the Ad-hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) for the working group's next session in June.

Distorted account of Morales speech distracts from fundamental issue of climate change

MEDIA ADVISORY

April 23, 2010 -- CMPCC -- A few national and international media outlets, instead of carrying out analysis and reports on the fundamental challenge of climate change, decided to distract the public with a distorted and inaccurate account of a speech by President Morales.

Various media reports are misinforming the public, saying that Morales has linked eating chicken with homosexuality. In his exact words, Morales said that “chicken that we are eating is full of feminine hormones, which is why men who eat this chicken have changes in their being as men. I have read some information that isn’t from me, asking about a daughter of one and a half years who already had breasts..”

(Updated May 12) Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, and texts from the People's Conference on Climate Change

The following documents were also adopted by the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth on April 22, 2010, in Bolivia. The Bolivian government will submit them to the United Nations for consideration. The main document, the People's Agreement, is available HERE.

For more coverage of the historic conference, click HERE.

They are: 1. The Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth; 2. Shared Visions document; 3. Structural causes; 4. Referendum on climate change; 5. Document of the Working Group on Agriculture and Food Sovereignty; 6. Document of the Working Group on Climate Debt; 7. Document of the Working Group on Climate Finance; 8. Indigenous Peoples' Declaration; 9. International Tribunal of Climate and Environmental Justice working group; 10. Dangers of the carbon market; 11. Working Group No. 10 on the Kyoto Protocol and greenhouse gas emissions reduction; 12. Working Group 13: Intercultural dialogue knowledge sharing, knowledge and technology; 13. Final conclusions of Working Group 2: Harmony with Nature to Live Well; 14. Working Group 6: Climate Change and Migration; 15. Working Group 14: Forests; 16. Working Group 11: Adaptation -- Confronting Climate Change; 17. Strategies of Action; NEW: 18. Declaration of the "unofficial" "Working Group 18. [More will be posted as they become available.]

Evo Morales: `Combating climate change -- lessons from the world’s Indigenous peoples'


Bolivia's President Evo Morales interviewed on Democracy Now!, April 23, 2010. Full transcript below.

By Evo Morales, president of the Plurinational Republic of Bolivia.

Bolivia: Australian participants report on World People's Conference on Climate Change

April 23, 2010 -- Several representatives from Australia's climate justice movement attended the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth held in Bolivia, April 19-22, 2010. They included activists from Beyond Zero Emissions, Rising Tide, Socialist Alliance, Climate Emergency Action Network of South Australia and inner city climate action groups Yarra Climate Action Now (Melbourne) and Climate Action Newtown (Sydney). Below Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal collects some of their accounts.

Bolivia people's climate summit: An S.O.S. from Tiquipaya

Cochabamba people's conference. Photo by Reuben McCreanor, Upside Down World.

By Nidia Diaz, translated by Granma International

It would not be exaggerated to state that Tiquipaya, a small locality in unredeemed Cochabamba, is making history. More than 20,000 people, clinging to the final hope of saving the planet, or Mother Earth, are meeting there.

Five heads of state and two Nobel Peace laureates are accompanying them on this noble crusade in which the very existence of today’s world is at stake.

(Updated April 24) Bolivia: Historic people's climate conference winds up -- first reports on outcomes


Democracy Now! -- April 22, 2010. Cormac Cullinan, South African environmental lawyer and an anti-apartheid activist, is co-president of the people's conference Rights of Mother Earth Working Group. He reports on its findings (full transcript of interview below).

[For more coverage of the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, click HERE.]

People’s summit adopts ‘Cochabamba Protocols’

By Brenda Norrell, Cochabamba

(See the end of this article for a link to the People’s Agreement text in Spanish.)

April 23, 2010 — Censored News via Capitalism and Climate — The World Peoples Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth culminated Thursday and released the final declaration, the Agreement of the Peoples, calling for the establishment of an International Climate Court to prosecute polluters, condemning REDD and holding polluters responsible for their climate debt.

Voices from Bolivia people's conference: The `most important event in the struggle against climate change'

Nnimmo Bassey interviewed by Democracy Now! (Transcript below).

April 21, 2010 -- Democracy Now!

AMY GOODMAN: Among those who spoke at the opening ceremony for the World Peoples’ Climate Conference was Nnimmo Bassey. He’s the prominent Nigerian environmentalist and chair of Friends of the Earth International. By contrast, at the UN climate summit in Copenhagen in December, his group, along with several other mainstream environmental organisations, was barred from the talks.

Democracy Now! producer Sharif Abdel Kouddous spoke with Nnimmo Bassey outside the conference gates here in Tiquipaya. He began by asking to talk about the significance of the Bolivian summit.

NZ socialists endorse Bolivia's call for a world referendum on climate change

Socialist Worker-New Zealand statement to the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, in Bolivia April 19-22, 2010

April 19, 2010 -- Socialist Worker-New Zealand agrees with the statement made by Bolivia's President Evo Morales in his invitation to the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth that “climate change is a product of the capitalist system”.

The pursuit of growth and profit is hard-wired into capitalism. Corporations and politicians wedded to capitalism cannot bring about the urgent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions we need to avert catastrophic climate change.

Therefore the transition to societies living in harmony with nature requires fundamental system change. The way we use resources, the way we produce things, the way we live has to change. This is the challenge that climate change, peak oil and other looming global crises place on the shoulders of all of us living today. Yet too many of our leaders are shirking their responsibilities, not only to those they claim to represent, but to future generations.

(Updated April 22) Bolivia: `Capitalism is the main enemy of the Earth', Evo Morales tells people's climate conference


Video report from Democracy Now! (Full transcript of report below)
[For more coverage of the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, click HERE.]

Prensa Latina

April 20, 2010 -- Cochabamba, Bolivia -- Bolivia's President Evo Morales Ayma condemned the capitalist system in the opening session of the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth today.

Morales, speaking at the April 20 conference inauguration, started his speech with a slogan, "Planet or death, we shall overcome". He said that harmony with nature could not exist while 1 per cent of the world's population concentrates more than 50 per cent of the world's riches. Capitalism is the main enemy of the Earth, only looking for profits, to the detriment of nature, and capitalism is a bridge for social  inequality.

Can capitalism fix climate change?

By Simon Butler

April 14, 2010 -- Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. It has taken capitalism about 250 years to generate enough waste and pollution to press dangerously against nature’s limits. With such a damning record, there should be no grounds to expect a different outcome in the future.

Yet the mainstream discussion about how to tackle the climate crisis still assumes that, this time around, capitalism can be made sustainable.

In an April 3 Sydney Morning Herald piece arguing for capitalists to take a leading role in resolving the climate crisis, Paddy Manning said it “was an article of faith for this column” that a free market could respond effectively to the challenge of climate change. But, struggling to come up with Australian capitalists responding positively to the challenge, he was forced to admit: “Faith is needed, because climate change is proof of colossal market failure.”

Photo essay: `Stop the coal rush!' -- people's blockade halts exports from world's biggest coal port

Ship movements cancelled at the world's biggest coal port, Newcastle (Australia) -- March 28, 2010 from jagath dheerasekara on Vimeo.

Photo essay and story by Jagath Dheerasekara

March 28, 2010 -- Newcastle, Australia -- A mass community protest at the biggest coal port in the world, Newcastle, succeeded in preventing coal ship movements all day. Hundreds of peaceful protesters occupied the harbour from 10 am.

South Africa's poor to pay for dirty World Bank loan

By Patrick Bond, Durban

April 14, 2010 -- Just how dangerous is the World Bank and its neo-conservative president Robert Zoellick to South Africa and the global climate? Notwithstanding South Africa's existing US$75 billion foreign debt, on April 8 the bank added a $3.75 billion loan to South Africa's electricty utility Eskom for the primary purpose of building the world's fourth-largest coal-fired power plant, at Medupi. It will spew 25 million tons of the climate pollutant carbon dioxide into the air each year. [For more background go to http://links.org.au/node/1570.]

South Africa's finance minister Pravin Gordhan has repeatedly said that this is theWorld Bank's "first" post-apartheid loan, yet the bank's 1999 and 2008 Country Assistance Strategy documents show conclusively that Medupi is the 15th credit since 1994.

Capitalism and food: Let them eat junk

An interview with Rob Albritton

March 2010 -- Rob Albritton’s Let Them Eat Junk: How Capitalism Creates Hunger and Obesity (2009), published by Arbeiter Ring Press in Canada and Pluto Press in the UK, offers a welcome and urgently needed analysis of “how the profit fixation of capital has led us deeply into a dangerously unsustainable system of food provision, a system that totally fails when it comes to distributive justice and to human and environmental health” (p. 201). His analysis takes us inside capitalism and shows how its “deep structures” manage our agricultural and food systems in irrational ways.

Socialist Project’s Relay magazine recently asked John Simoulidis to interview Robert Albritton about his book and current global struggles to address the failures of our agriculture/food system. Posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.

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