Thursday 1 October 2009

Copenhagen summit: ‘Seattle’-style protests needed

Ten years ago the ‘Battle of Seattle’ protests against the World Trade Organisation sparked a global anti-capitalist movement. In the US the protests raised hopes of a ‘Teamster-turtle alliance’ against neo-liberal economics. The Teamsters being traditional trade unionists such as the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the ‘turtles’ being environmental and social justice activists, such as costumed protesters above.
by Patrick Bond, Durban
From Green Left Weekly Here’s a fairly simple choice: the global North would pay the hard-hit global South to deal with the climate crisis, either through the complicated and corrupt “Clean Development Mechanism” (CDM), whose projects have plenty of damaging side-effects to communities, or instead pay through other mechanisms that provide financing quickly, transparently and decisively to achieve genuine income compensation plus renewable energy to the masses. The Copenhagen climate summit in December is all about the first choice. Europe and the US have put carbon trading at the core of their emissions reduction strategy, while the two largest emitters of carbon in the Third World, China and India, are the main beneficiaries of CDM financing. Problems caused when then-vice president Al Gore’s US delegation brought pro-corporate compromises to Kyoto in 1997 — promising a US sign-on to Kyoto in exchange for carbon trading — are going to now amplify, and haunt us for a very long time, unless serious reforms are achieved in Copenhagen. They won’t be. Nor will any substantive agreement emerge, hinted the new UN Development Programme director and New Zealand’s neoliberal former prime minister Helen Clark this week: “The success of the Copenhagen summit on climate change in December will not depend on a final international deal being sealed there.” In other words, prepare for a stalemate by a coalition of selfish, fossil-fuel addicted powers.

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