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climate change

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.

`The main issue for us is Mother Earth' -- Bolivia's delegation to Copenhagen climate talks

`Repay the climate debt!'

December 9, 2009 -- Democracy Now!

ANJALI KAMAT: Angelica, maybe we can start with you. Talk about the Danish text and your reaction.

ANGELICA NAVARRO, chief climate negotiator for Bolivia: Well, I have to say that everybody was taken a little bit by surprise, but I also want to congratulate the very good work that the press has been doing, because we have learned it from the press, actually. And the reaction has been quite straightforward from the G77, and in two accounts: on process and on the content.

And on the process, I have to say that we are quite surprised, because this is not what we were expecting. One hundred and ninety-two countries are united here to try to come to a deal. And there is this pallid process that basically seems to be untransparent, undemocratic, nonparticipatory, top down, that it seems to be imposing itself on what we are trying to achieve with 192 countries. We think that we have to come back to the real track, and that is a track with participation, inclusiveness and democracy. That is for the process.

Copenhagen: System change -- not climate change: the Klimaforum09 Declaration


December 8, 2009 -- Democracy Now! -- Nigerian environmentalist Nnimmo Bassey: ``The global North owes a climate debt to Africa.'' Click HERE for transcript.

A people's declaration from Klimaforum09, Copenhagen, December 10, 2009

Summary

There are solutions to the climate crisis. What people and the planet need is a just and sustainable transition of our societies to a form that will ensure the rights of life and dignity of all peoples and deliver a more fertile planet and more fulfilling lives to future generations.

50,000 protesters in London demand a real deal at Copenhagen

Text and photos by Lauren Carroll Harris, London

December 5, 2009 -- As one homemade banner said, "The tides are rising, so are we". London's streets were awash with a sea of blue as more than 50 000 people joined together, filling the city with noise and colour and encircling parliament to demand immediate government action on global warming ahead of the COP15 UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen, which began on December 7.

The ``Wave'' was called to urge a deal at Copenhagen which cuts carbon emissions while allowing Third World countries to continue to develop with the aid of the First World. A diversity of protesters -- young, old, families, students, cycling blocks, community contingents and drumming circles -- urged the British government to quit coal, act fair and fast, and protect the poorest in its response to the biggest single threat to the planet and its people.

John Bellamy Foster: `We can't shop our way out of the ecological crisis'

John Bellamy Foster Interviewed by Max van Lingen

[This article first appeared at MRZine. A shorter version of this interview appeared in the December issue of the Dutch newspaper The Socialist. The entire interview appears in Dutch at the website of The Socialist. It has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission. To read more by John Bellamy Foster, click HERE.]

Max van Lingen: Consciousness about climate change has increased enormously; however, it also seems as if there is a lack of criticism of business and government actions. Instead it appears as if people are thinking: it doesn't really matter why people act, as long as they act.

A lesson from Seattle for Copenhagen: Vigorous activism can defeat the denialists

Protest in Seattle, 1999.

By Patrick Bond

December 1, 2009 -- Preparations for the December 7-18 Copenhagen climate summit are going as expected, including a rare sighting of the African elites' stiffened spines. That's a great development (maybe decisive), more about that below.

While activists help raise the temperature on the streets outside the Bella Centre on December 12, 13 and 16, inside we will see global North elites defensively armed with pathetic non-binding carbon emissions cuts (US President Barack Obama's promise is a mere 4% below 1990 levels) and carbon trading, but without offering the money to repay the North's ecological debt to the global South.

The first and third of these are lamentable enough, the second is the most serious diversion from the crucial work of cutting greenhouse gas emissions. A nine-minute film launched on the internet on December 1, The Story of Cap and Trade, gives all the ammunition climate activists need to understand and critique emissions trading, and to seek genuine solutions.

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