By Evo Morales Ayma, president of Bolivia
November 28, 2008 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Sisters and brothers, today our Mother Earth is ill. From the beginning of the 21st
century we have lived the hottest years of the last thousand years.
Global warming is generating abrupt changes in the weather: the retreat
of glaciers and the decrease of the polar ice caps; the increase of the
sea level and the flooding of coastal areas, where approximately 60% of
the world population live; the increase in the processes of
desertification and the decrease of fresh water sources; a higher
frequency in natural disasters that the communities of the earth
suffer; the extinction of animal and plant species; and the spread
of diseases in areas that before were free from those diseases.
One of the most tragic consequences of the climate change is that
some nations and territories are the condemned to disappear by the
increase of the sea level.
Everything began with the industrial revolution in 1750, which gave
birth to the capitalist system. In two and a half centuries, the so
called “developed” countries have consumed a large part of the fossil
fuels created over five million centuries.
Competition and the thirst for profit without limits of the
capitalist system are destroying the planet. Under Capitalism we are
not human beings but consumers. Under Capitalism Mother Earth does not
exist, instead there are raw materials. Capitalism is the source of the
asymmetries and imbalances in the world. It generates luxury,
ostentation and waste for a few, while millions in the world die from
hunger in the world. In the hands of capitalism everything becomes a
commodity: the water, the soil, the human genome, the ancestral
cultures, justice, ethics, death … and life itself. Everything,
absolutely everything, can be bought and sold and under capitalism. And
even “climate change” itself has become a business.
“Climate change” has placed all humankind before a great choice: to
continue in the ways of capitalism and death, or to start down the path
of harmony with nature and respect for life.
In the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the developed countries and economies
in transition committed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by at
least 5% below the 1990 levels, through the implementation of different
mechanisms among which market mechanisms predominate.
Until 2006, greenhouse effect gases, far from being reduced, have
increased by 9.1% in relation to the 1990 levels, demonstrating also in
this way the breach of commitments by the developed countries.
The market mechanisms applied in the developing countries have
not accomplished a significant reduction of greenhouse effect gas
Just as well as the market is incapable of regulating global
financial and productive system, the market is unable to regulate
greenhouse effect gas emissions and will only generate a big business
for financial agents and major corporations.
The Earth is much more important than the stock exchanges of Wall Street and the world
While the United States and the European Union allocate $4100
billion to save the bankers from a financial crisis that they
themselves have caused, programs on climate change get 313 times less,
that is to say, only $13 billion.
The resources for climate change are unfairly distributed. More
resources are directed to reduce emissions (mitigation) and less to
reduce the effects of climate change that all the countries suffer
(adaptation). The vast majority of resources flow to those countries
that have contaminated the most, and not to the countries where we have
preserved the environment most. Around 80% of the Clean Development
Mechanism projects are concentrated in four emerging countries.
Capitalist logic promotes a paradox in which the sectors that have
contributed the most to deterioration of the environment are those that
benefit the most from climate change programs.
At the same time, technology transfer and the financing for clean
and sustainable development of the countries of the South have remained
The next summit on climate change in Copenhagen must allow us to
make a leap forward if we want to save Mother Earth and humanity. For
that purpose the following proposals for the process from Poznan to
Attack the structural causes of climate change
1) Debate the structural causes of climate change. As long as we
do not change the capitalist system for a system based in
complementarity, solidarity and harmony between the people and nature,
the measures that we adopt will be palliatives that will limited and
precarious in character. For us, what has failed is the model of
“living better”, of unlimited development, industrialisation without
frontiers, of modernity that deprecates history, of increasing
accumulation of goods at the expense of others and nature. For that
reason we promote the idea of Living Well, in harmony with other human
beings and with our Mother Earth.
2) Developed countries need to control their patterns of
consumption -- of luxury and waste -- especially the excessive
consumption of fossil fuels. Subsidies of fossil fuel, that reach
$150-250 billion, must be progressively eliminated. It is
fundamental to develop alternative forms of power, such as solar,
geothermal, wind and hydroelectric both at small and medium scales.
3) Agrofuels are not an alternative, because they put the
production of foodstuffs for transport before the production of food
for human beings. Agrofuels expand the agricultural frontier destroying
forests and biodiversity, generate monocropping, promote land
concentration, deteriorate soils, exhaust water sources, contribute to
rises in food prices and, in many cases, result in more consumption of
more energy than is produced.
Substantial commitments to emissions reduction that are met
4) Strict fulfilment by 2012 of the commitments of the
developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least by
5% below the 1990 levels. It is unacceptable that the countries that
polluted the planet throughout the course of history make statements
about larger reductions in the future while not complying with their
5) Establish new minimum commitments for the developed countries
of greenhouse gas emission reduction of 40% by 2020 and 90% by for
2050, taking as a starting point 1990 emission levels. These minimum
commitments must be met internally in developed countries and not
through flexible market mechanisms that allow for the purchase of
certified emissions reduction certificates to continue polluting in
their own country. Likewise, monitoring mechanisms must be established
for the measuring, reporting and verifying that are transparent and
accessible to the public, to guarantee the compliance of commitments.
6) Developing countries not responsible for the historical
pollution must preserve the necessary space to implement an alternative
and sustainable form of development that does not repeat the mistakes
of savage industrialisation that has brought us to the current
situation. To ensure this process, developing countries need, as a
prerequisite, finance and technology transfer.
Address ecological debt
7) Acknowledging the historical ecological debt that they owe
to the planet, developed countries must create an Integral Financial
Mechanism to support developing countries in: implementation of their
plans and programs for adaptation to and mitigation of climate
change; the innovation, development and transfer of technology; in the
preservation and improvement of the sinks and reservoirs; response
actions to the serious natural disasters caused by climate change; and
the carrying out of sustainable and eco-friendly development plans.
8) This Integral Financial Mechanism, in order to be effective,
must count on a contribution of at least 1% of the GDP in developed
countries and other contributions from taxes on oil and gas,
financial transactions, sea and air transport, and the profits of
9) Contributions from developed countries must be additional to
Official Development Assistance (ODA), bilateral aid or aid channelled
through organisms not part of the United Nations. Any finance outside
the UNFCCC cannot be considered as the fulfilment of developed
country’s commitments under the convention.
10) Finance has to be directed to the plans or national
programs of the different states and not to projects that follow
11) Financing must not be concentrated just in some
developed countries but has to give priority to the countries that have
contributed less to greenhouse gas emissions, those that preserve
nature and are suffering the impact of climate change.
12) The Integral Financial Mechanism must be under the
coverage of the United Nations, not under the Global Environment
Facility (GEF) and other intermediaries such as the World Bank and
regional development banks; its management must be collective,
transparent and non-bureaucratic. Its decisions must be made by all
member countries, especially by developing countries, and not by the
donors or bureaucratic administrators.
Technology transfer to developing countries
13) Innovation and technology related to climate changes
must be within the public domain, not under any private monopolistic
patent regime that obstructs and makes technology transfer more
expensive to developing countries.
14) Products that are the fruit of public financing for
technology innovation and development of have to be placed within the
public domain and not under a private regime of patents, so that
they can be freely accessed by developing countries.
15) Encourage and improve the system of voluntary and
compulsory licenses so that all countries can access products already
patented quickly and free of cost. Developed countries cannot treat
patents and intellectual property rights as something “sacred” that has
to be preserved at any cost. The regime of flexibilities available for
the intellectual property rights in the cases of serious problems for
public health has to be adapted and substantially enlarged to heal
16) Recover and promote indigenous peoples' practices in
harmony with nature which have proven to be sustainable through
Adaptation and mitigation with the participation of all the people
17) Promote mitigation actions, programs and plans with the
participation of local communities and indigenous people in the
framework of full respect for and implementation of the United Nations
Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The best mechanism to
confront the challenge of climate change are not market mechanisms, but
conscious, motivated and well organised human beings endowed with an
identity of their own.
18) The reduction of the emissions from deforestation and
forest degradation must be based on a mechanism of direct compensation
from developed to developing countries, through a sovereign
implementation that ensures broad participation of local communities,
and a mechanism for monitoring, reporting and verifying that is
transparent and public.
A UN for the environment and climate change
19) We need a World Environment and Climate Change
Organisation to which multilateral trade and financial organisations
are subordinated, so as to promote a different model of development
that environmentally friendly and resolves the profound problems of
impoverishment. This organisation must have effective follow-up,
verification and sanctioning mechanisms to ensure that the present and
future agreements are complied with.
20) It is fundamental to structurally transform the World
Trade Organiation, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and
the international economic system as a whole, in order to guarantee
fair and complementary trade, as well as financing without conditions
for sustainable development that avoids the waste of natural resources
and fossil fuels in the production processes, trade and product
In this negotiation process towards Copenhagen, it is fundamental
to guarantee the participation of our people as active stakeholders at
a national, regional and worldwide level, especially taking into
account those sectors most affected, such as indigenous peoples who
have always promoted the defense of Mother Earth.
Humankind is capable of saving the Earth if we recover the
principles of solidarity, complementarity and harmony with nature in
contraposition to the reign of competition, profits and rampant
consumption of natural resources.
 Due to the “Niña” phenomenon, that becomes more frequent as a
result of the climate change, Bolivia has lost 4% of its GDP in 2007.
 Known as the Clean Development Mechanism
 At the present there is only one adaptation fund with
approximately $500 million for more than 150 developing
countries. According to the UNFCCC secretary, $171 billion is
required for adaptation and $380 billionis required for
 Stern report
 Kyoto Protocol, Art. 3.
 The Stern Review has suggested one percent of global GDP, which represents less than $700 billion per year.
 According to UNCTAD (1998), public financing in developing
countries contributes with 40% of the resources for innovation and
development of technology.