- Created: Tuesday, 16 February 2010 17:52
- Written by David Hetfield
FRFI 213 February / March 2010
ALBA leads anti-imperialist call to save environment
‘If the climate was a bank, they would have saved it already.’ Graffiti in
Days before the UN Conference on Climate Change in
In a foretaste of what was to come, following a visit by Hillary Clinton, the Philippine government dropped its lead negotiator, Bernarditas Muller. She is a veteran of the
The first week of the conference saw the emergence of the ‘Danish Text’, a secret draft agreement worked on by a few countries including
Outside the conference centre, Danish police reacted brutally to any form of protest, using baton charges and water canon and making preventative arrests; over a thousand people were handcuffed and forced to sit on the freezing ground for hours before being bussed to a prepared detention facility, filled with cages. They were not told what they had been arrested for, nor how long they were to be detained, and were denied access to a telephone call or toilet facilities, and attacked with pepper spray if they complained. Most people were held for around 12 hours before being released without charge. Nine protesters were only released in the middle of January 2010, and two are still in jail at the time of going to press. Democratic rights were suspended both inside and outside the conference.
By the second week the poor nations hadn’t bowed down before the imperialist agenda, so off to
‘We don’t yet know what Zenawi got in exchange for so radically changing his tune or how, exactly, you go from a position calling for $400bn a year in financing [the Africa group’s
position] to a mere $10bn’. Labour has since admitted that
contribution will be taken from the existing Overseas Development Aid budget, and would not be new money as earlier promised.
When Obama arrived, the Danish hosts helped turn the event into a
After waiting five hours without explanation, the majority of delegates were informed that the deal had been done and were given one hour to read the document and respond to it. The subsequent debate was to be limited to points of order, but even then some countries had to bang their name plates to get noticed. Ed Miliband made sure everyone understood that the paragraphs on financing would only come into operation if countries signed up to the accord. The
The ALBA nations were united in their condemnation of the accord. Delegates from
Bolivian President Evo Morales and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had already denounced the hijacking of the conference and pointed out that capitalism is to blame for climate change. Evo Morales contrasted the two cultures offered, the culture of death ‘which is capitalism ... exploiting others, plundering their natural resources, assaulting Mother Earth, privatising basic services’ and the culture of life – ‘living in solidarity, in equality’. He ridiculed the paltry sums of money offered for adaptation to climate change: ‘The budget of the
? Do you agree to re-establish a harmonious relationship with Nature, recognising the rights of Mother Earth?
? Are you in agreement with changing this system of excessive consumerism and waste, that is, the capitalist system?
? Do you agree that the developed countries should reduce and reabsorb their greenhouse gas emissions?
? Do you agree on transferring everything that is spent on wars to create a budget higher than the defence budget to tackle the problem of climate change?
Hugo Chavez also spoke on the undemocratic nature of the conference: ‘Can we hope for something democratic, inclusive from the current world system? What we are experiencing on this planet is an imperial dictatorship ... Down with the imperial dictatorship and long live people’s democracy and equality on this planet!’ He went on to expose the reality of this imperial dictatorship, ‘The 500 million richest people, 7% of the world population, are responsible for 50% of contaminating emissions, while the poorest 50% are responsible for just 7% of contaminating emissions ... The total income of the 500 richest individuals on the planet is greater than the income of the 416 million poorest people. The 2.8 billion people who live in poverty, earning less than one dollar a day, and who represent 40% of the global population, receive just 5% of the global income ... there are 1.1 billion people who do not have access to clean potable water; 2.6 billion without health services; more than 800 million illiterate individuals and 1.02 billion starving people. This is the global scenario’. Chavez ended by showing the way forward: ‘Stop the aggression and the wars. No more imperial military bases or coup d’états. Let us build a more just and equitable social and economic order. Let us eradicate poverty. Let us bring an immediate end to high levels of emissions; let us halt environmental destruction and prevent climate change catastrophe. Let us join together in the noble objective of being more free and driven by solidarity! ... History is calling us to unite and fight. If capitalism resists, we are forced to fight a battle against capitalism and open the way for the salvation of the human species.’
The conference ended with the delegates noting, rather than accepting, the ‘Copenhagen Accord’. Immediately the imperialists, led by Ed Miliband, started blaming China, Sudan and the nations of ALBA for a deal not being agreed, and called for ‘major reform’ of the UN Framework Convention on Climate change and the way negotiations are conducted. Then they carried on as if the accord was a deal, giving the deadline of 31 January for nations to sign up.
The accord itself states that increases in temperature should be kept below 2°C, but the pledges of emission cuts are estimated to set the world on track to warming between 3 and 3.5°C. According to the World Wildlife Fund, the rich world promises to make cuts of 15-19% in collective emissions by 2020 on 1990 levels, however, once the loopholes are taken into account this could result in an actual increase of 4-10%. Loopholes include carbon trading, carbon offsetting, that airlines and shipping fuel aren’t included in any nation’s emissions and flaws in the forestry management plan.
In January, a group of 450 investors controlling $13trn of assets met at the UN in
Leading the alternative, Evo Morales announced the First World Conference of the People on Climate Change will take place in April in the Bolivian city of