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climate change

Fidel Castro on who really was to blame for the failure in Copenhagen

Protest in Copenhagen, December 12, 2009.

By Fidel Castro Ruz

December 26, 2009 -- Climate change is already causing enormous damage and hundreds of millions of poor people are enduring the consequences.

The most advanced research centres have claimed that there is little time to avoid an irreversible catastrophe. James Hansen, from the NASA Goddard Institute, has said that a proportion of 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is still tolerable; however, the figure today is 390 ppm and growing at a pace of 2 ppm every year. Each one of the past two decades has been the warmest since the first records were taken, while carbon dioxide increased 80 ppm in the past 150 years.

The melting of ice in the Artic Sea and of the huge two-kilometre thick ice cap covering Greenland, of the South American glaciers feeding its main fresh water sources and the enormous volume of ice covering Antarctica; of the remaining ice on Mt Kilimanjaro and the Himalayas, and the large frozen area of Siberia are visible. Outstanding scientists fear abrupt quantitative changes in these natural phenomena that bring about the change.

Copenhagen: Morales and Chavez a `smashing success' -- an insider's report from the ALBA delegation

Evo Morales.

[See the ALBA countries' declaration on the Copenhagen talks below.]

By Ron Ridenour

December 23, 2009 -- “Nobel War Prize winner walked in and out of a secret door, and that is the way capitalism and the United States Empire will end up leaving the planet, through a secret back door.” So spoke Venezuela President Hugo Chavez from the plenary podium on the last afternoon, December 18, of the 12-day long Copenhagen climate conference (COP15).

“While the conference was a failure, it, at least, led to more consciousness of what the problem is for all of us. Now starts a new stage of the struggle for the salvation of humanity, and this is through socialism. Our problem is not just about climate, but about poverty, misery, unnecessary child deaths, discrimination and racism—all related to capitalism”, Chavez said at the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Latin America (ALBA) press conference held at the Bella Centre immediately following Chavez’ last remarks at the plenary.

Bolivia's President Evo Morales followed Chavez’ remarks by saying:

CPI (ML): `Shameful betrayal' at Copenhagen -- India and China sign undemocratic US-scripted accord

By Radhika Krishnan

December 24, 2009 -- Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation -- The 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) has finally ended in Copenhagen, and it is now time to officially write the obituary. This week-long conference, where 110 countries got together to try and evolve a blueprint to handle the climate change crisis, has quite predictably and most unfortunately ended in failure. Predictable, because for a long time now there have been indications that the US would continue to hold the rest of the world to ransom by refusing to accept responsibility for its role in creating the climate crisis.

Climate Justice Now! statement: Call for `System change not climate change' unites global movement

Copenhagen, December 12, 2009. Photo by Lauren Carroll Harris.

Corrupt Copenhagen "accord" exposes gulf between peoples' demands and elite political interests

By the Climate Justice Now! coalition

December 22, 2009 -- Climate Justice Now! -- The highly anticipated UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP15) ended with a fraudulent agreement, engineered by the United States and dropped into the conference at the last moment. The "agreement" was not adopted. Instead, it was "noted" in an absurd parliamentary invention designed to accommodate the United States and permit UN secretary generla Ban Ki-moon to utter the ridiculous pronouncement, "We have a deal", in a spectacular disrespect for the multilateralism that should be the basis of the United Nations.

How to cure the post-Copenhagen hangover

Protesters in Newcastle,December 20, 2009. Photo by Rising Tide.

By Patrick Bond, Durban

December 23, 2009 -- In Copenhagen, the world’s richest leaders continued their fiery fossil fuel party last Friday night, December 18, ignoring requests of global village neighbours to please chill out. Instead of halting the hedonism, US President Barack Obama and the Euro elites cracked open the mansion door to add a few nouveau riche guests: South Africa’s Jacob Zuma, China’s Jiabao Wen (reportedly the most obnoxious of the lot), Brazil’s Lula Inacio da Silva and India’s Manmohan Singh. By Saturday morning, still drunk with their power over the planet, these wild and crazy party animals had stumbled back onto their jets and headed home.

The rest of us now have a killer hangover, because on behalf mainly of white capitalists (who are having the most fun of all), the world’s rulers stuck the poor and future generations with the vast clean-up charges – and worse: certain death for millions.

Excellent news from Copenhagen: Capitalist politicians exposed, foundations laid for mass movement

By Daniel Tanuro 

December 19, 2009 -- International Viewpoint -- We knew the United Nations summit in Copenhagen would not conclude with a new international treaty but a simple statement of intent – just one more. But the text adopted at the end of the meeting is worse than anything we could imagine: no quantified objectives for carbon-emissions reduction, no reference year for measuring them, no deadlines, no date!

The text included a vague promise of US$100 million yearly for adaptation in developing countries, but the formulas used and various comments lead us to fear that these will be loans administered by major financial institutions rather than true reparations paid by those responsible for the mess.

Democracy Now! interview: Hugo Chavez on how to tackle climate change: `We must go from capitalism to socialism'

December 21, 2009 -- Democracy Now! -- We speak with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez about climate change, the Copenhagen summit and President Obama. Chavez calls the COP15 summit undemocratic and accuses world leaders of only seeking a face-saving agreement. “We must reduce all the emissions that are destroying the planet,” Chavez says. “That requires a change in the economic model: we must go from capitalism to socialism.”

AMY GOODMAN: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez spared no criticism of the climate conference in Copenhagen. At a joint news conference he held with the Bolivian president Evo Morales on Friday afternoon—this was before President Obama announced the accord—Chavez called the proceedings undemocratic and accused world leaders of only seeking a face-saving agreement. He described President Obama as having won the “Nobel war prize” and said the world still smelled of sulfur, referring to his comments about President Bush at the United Nations last year.

Well, shortly after the news conference, I caught up with President Chavez for a few minutes.

Hugo Chávez: `La Batalla de Copenhague'

Foto: Prensa Presidencial.
por Hugo Chávez Frías
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Caracas, 20 Dic. ABN -- Copenhague fue el escenario de una batalla histórica en el marco de la XV Conferencia del Convenio Marco de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climático. Mejor dicho: en la bella y nevada capital de Dinamarca, comenzó una batalla que no concluyó el viernes 18 de diciembre de 2009. Quiero reiterarlo: Copenhague fue apenas el comienzo de la batalla decisiva por la salvación del planeta. Batalla en el terreno de las ideas y en el de la praxis.

Fidel Castro: The truth about what happened at Copenhagen

Copenhagen, December 12, 2009. Photo by Lauren Carroll Harris.

By Fidel Castro Ruz

December 19, 2009 -- Until very recently, the discussion revolved around the kind of society we would have. Today, the discussion centres on whether human society will survive. These are not dramatic phrases. We must get used to the true facts. Hope is the last thing human beings can relinquish. With truthful arguments, men and women of all ages, especially young people, have waged an exemplary battle at the Copengahen COP15 summit and taught the world a great lesson.

It is important now that Cuba and the world come to know as much as possible of what happened in Copenhagen. The truth can be stronger than the influenced and often misinformed minds of those holding in their hands the destiny of the world.

Hugo Chávez writes on `The battle of Copenhagen'

By Hugo Chávez Frías, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, translated by Kiraz Janicke for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

December 20, 2009

``I will not tire of repeating to the four winds: the only possible and viable alternative is socialism. I said it in each of my speeches to all the world representatives gathered in Copenhagen, the world's most important event in the last two hundred years: there is no other way if we want to stop this heartless and debased competition that promises only total annihilation." – Hugo Chávez

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Copenhagen: `Imperial' climate deal rejected by poor-country delegates

Hugo Chavez denounces Obama's ``imperial'' deal. Photo COP15.

December 18, 2009 -- Speaking on behalf of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela took the floor at the plenary of the COP15 climate talks in Copenhagen to denounce the final ``deal'' that was soon to emerge and be imposed on the majority poor-country delegates, and which would fall far short of their demands.

Chavez accused US President Barack Obama of behaving like an emperor “who comes in during the middle of the night … and cooks up a document that we will not accept, we will never accept”.

Chávez declared that “all countries are equal”. He would not accept that some countries had prepared a text for a climate deal and just “slipped [it] under the door” to be signed by the others. He accused them of “a real lack of transparency”.

“We can’t wait any longer, we are leaving … We are leaving, knowing that it wasn’t possible getting a deal,” he said. 

Beyond Copenhagen: left alternatives to capitalism

Copenhagen, December 12, 2009. Photo by Lauren Carroll Harris.

By Lauren Carroll Harris, Copenhagen

"Can a finite Earth support an infinite project? The thesis of capitalism, infinite development, is a destructive pattern, let’s face it. How long are we going to tolerate the current international economic order and prevailing market mechanisms? How long are we going to allow huge epidemics like HIV/AIDS to ravage entire populations? How long are we going to allow the hungry to not eat or to be able to feed their own children? How long are we going to allow millions of children to die from curable diseases? How long will we allow armed conflicts to massacre millions of innocent human beings in order for the powerful to seize the resources of other peoples?"

-- Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, speaking at COP15, December 16, 2009

Copenhagen: Democracy Now! interview with Evo Morales -- `We cannot end global warming without ending capitalism'

December 17, 2009 -- Democracy Now! -- Bolivia's President Evo Morales joins us in Copenhagen to talk about the UN climate talks, capitalism, climate debt and much more. “Policies of unlimited industrialisation are what destroys the environment”, Morales said. “And that irrational industrialisation is capitalism.”

AMY GOODMAN: This is Climate Countdown. It’s Democracy Now!, democracynow.org. I’m Amy Goodman. We’re broadcasting from inside the Bella Center [in Copenhagen].

It’s just one day before the COP15 UN climate summit comes to a close. The summit has been described as the biggest gathering on climate change in history. And now, ten days after it started, are the talks on the brink of collapse?

Copenhagen: ALBA (Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela) representatives at COP15 speak


Joint press conference of the ALBA (Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela) representatives at COP15, December 10, 2009.

Countering the critics of Annie Leonard's `The Story of Cap and Trade'

By Patrick Bond

December 16, 2009 -- Eight million people viewed Annie Leonard's The Story of Stuff video since December 2007 and her new nine-minute Story of Cap and Trade has received 400,000 hits in the two weeks since its December 1 launch.

The film, produced by Free Range Studios, was developed in collaboration with the Durban Group for Climate Justice and Climate Justice Now! networks, which joined Climate Justice Action and other networks to put tens of thousands of activists on the streets of Copenhagen, London and dozens of other cities in recent days, demanding large carbon emissions cuts, the payment of ecological debt to climate victims and the decommissioning of carbon markets.

But critics abound, so what trends can we discern from the sometimes venomous feedback to Story of Cap and Trade, and what do these tell us about US and global climate politics? Let's consider three categories of critics:

  • libertarian climate change denialists;
  • Big Green groups and other carbon trading supporters; and
  • self-interested green capitalists.

To start, right-wing extremists are easiest to dismiss because they deny that climate change is a product of human/economic activity -- but there's a schizophrenic double agenda. For although they're pro-business, libertarians like Fox TV's Glenn Beck oppose market-based cap-and-trade schemes.

Copenhagen: Full speech -- Chavez salutes protesters, calls for system change to save planet

Hugo Chavez speaking to the Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen. Photo from Telesur.

By Kiraz Janicke, Caracas

December 16, 2009 – Venezuelanalysis.com – During his speech to the 15th United Nations Climate Change Summit (COP15) in Copenhagen, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez slammed the “lack of political will” of the most powerful nations to take serious action to avert climate change, and called for systemic change to save the planet.

Lumumba Di-Aping: Third World hero of Copenhagen

Lumumba Di-Aping. Photo by Jens Norgaard Larsen/Reuters.

By Derek Barry

December 16, 2009 -- Woolly Days -- Lumumba Di-Aping has made the brave call that no Australian politician has been game to make, callin Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd a climate sceptic. The key negotiator at Copenhagen on behalf of the G77-China group told the ABC (also see below) that Rudd’s message to his own people was a fabrication which “does not relate to the facts because his actions are climate change scepticism in action”. Di-Aping was pointing the disparity between Rudd’s sayings and actions on climate change. “It's puzzling in the sense that here is a Prime Minister who actually won the elections because of his commitment to climate change”, Di-Aping said. “And within a very short period of time he changes his mind, changes his position, he start acting as if he has been converted into climate change scepticism.”

Evo Morales at Copenhagen: `Shameful' for West to spend trillions on war and just $10 billion for climate change

December 16, 2009 -- Democracy Now! -- In a press conference on December 16, Bolivia's President Evo Morales said, “The budget of the United States is US$687 billion for defence. And for climate change, to save life, to save humanity, they only put up $10 billion. This is shameful.”

AMY GOODMAN: As we wrap up today's broadcast with a leader from another side of the world, from Latin America, we’re going to turn right now to Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, who, just a few minutes ago, finished a speech in the next room. He just recently arrived here in Copenhagen. The Bolivian President Morales.

    PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] And if we don’t—and I repeat this—we’re going to end our lives, all of us. So, as with the last country and with our black and indigenous brothers who were treated as slaves, and their rights were not recognised, now, today, too, our Mother Earth, she is treated as if she were a thing without life, as if she didn’t have rights.

Copenhagen: Venezuela accuses -- `Thirty industrialised countries are destroying the world'

By Telesur, translated by Kiraz Janicke

December 15, 2009 -- Venezuelanalysis.com -- The Venezuelan delegation to the Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, denounced today the attitude of developed countries in the world meeting for not committing to reduce emissions of polluting gases because this would presumably affect their economies. The delegation said that developing nations “will not let them get away with it” because it is unacceptable that they do not take into account that they are responsible for the future of the planet.

In an interview with Telesur, Claudia Salerno, director of the Venezuelan environment ministry’s Office of International Cooperation, explained that the 30 industrialised countries have the potential to “change the destiny of the world, but today they are telling us that it is too expensive and they are unwilling to let the GDP of their economies be impacted by the response measures to climate change.”

“That is unacceptable, I not only point out to them, but I accuse them… not only are they going to be responsible for climate change but they will be responsible for the future of this planet”, said the official.

Copenhagen: People's summit develops a people-powered response to the climate crisis

By Lauren Carroll Harris, Copenhagen

December 15, 2009 -- Green Left Weekly -- Just over a week into the December 7-18 United Nations climate change negotiations in Copenhagen (COP15) , thousands of ordinary people from around the world have already participated in what is being billed as the “people’s climate summit”, Klimaforum09, also taking place in the Danish capital. The difference between the two forums could not be more stark.

Outside Copenhagen’s Bella Centre, where COP15 is being held, has a circus-like quality, with delegates battling their way through a gauntlet of protesters and lobbyists. One group carries a banner emblazoned with the slogan “EU: pay your climate debt” and chants “The world is watching”. Inside, registered delegates, government diplomats and NGO members make their way through airport-style security checks to participate in what is increasingly seen as a redundant talkshop.

By contrast, the Klimaforum is open, free and a genuine meeting of different groups, activists, scientists, farmers and artists to discuss a democratic, people-powered response to the climate crisis.

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