COP 17 - Occupy Durban!

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M. Spector M. Spector's picture
COP 17 - Occupy Durban!

After COP 15 in Copenhagen and COP 16 in Cancun comes COP 17 in Durban, starting November 28, 2011.

[IMG]http://i44.tinypic.com/2rn9aft.jpg[/IMG]

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

 

[url=http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/11/22/occupy-durban/]Patrick Bond[/url] writes:

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There they fell during 2011, one after the other in past-their-prime domino descent: Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from Tunis, Hosni Mubarak from Cairo, Dominique Strauss-Kahn from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Muammar Gaddafi from Tripoli, Georgios Papandreou from Athens, Silvio Berlusconi from Rome, US football guru and sex-crime cover-upper Joe Paterno from Penn State University — with media baron Rupert Murdoch, soccer supremo Sepp Blatter, Syrian tyrant Bashar al-Assad and Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh looking decidedly shaky, too.

However, let's be frank: in many cases the courageous push by the 99% against these 1% personalities only dislodged the venal creatures, not the system, so replacements crawled right back in.

...

And outside Durban's International Convention Centre, in the broader society, is there a potential for a Climate Spring like the Arab Spring?

...

That crisis is surely upon us, with more than 300,000 people dying annually because of climate change, according to demographers. Might the UNFCCC live up to global-governance potential — last realised in the 1987 Montreal Protocol that banned CFCs to save the ozone hole - or instead will Durban be known as the Conference of Polluters, the place the Kyoto Protocol's mechanism for binding emissions-cut commitments died, while carbon trading remained the vehicle the 1% chooses for its climate gambling?

...

One response...is to "Occupy COP17", and a website (www.occupycop17.com), Facebook page (www.facebook.com/occupyCOP17) and Twitter feed (www.twitter.com/OccupyCOP17 and #occupycop17) are already operational. The Occupy movement considers the UNFCCC to be "United Nations Fools, Clowns and Carbon Criminals" and it's hard to argue against that based on 16 past performances.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url=http://boliviarising.blogspot.com/2011/11/alba-nations-prepare-to-fight-... nations prepare to fight for humanity at Durban climate summit[/url]

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Representatives from the Latin American and Caribbean governments that comprise the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA) met in Bolivia on November 17-18 to coordinate their battle plan ahead of the international climate change summit scheduled to start in Durban later this month.

ALBA – which includes Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Venezuela – was at the forefront of scuttling attempts at the 2009 Copenhagen summit by rich nations to impose their anti-environmental plans that would set the world on a course towards catastrophic climate change.

This year’s summit will focus on attempts to reach agreement on the commitments for the second period of the Kyoto Protocol, set to begin in 2013.

Rejecting the idea of “voluntary emissions reductions” being proposed by rich nations, which would destroy the Kyoto Protocol and see catastrophic global temperatures rises of more than 5°C, ALBA is proposing the “continuation, preservation and strengthening of the Kyoto Protocol” as the only legally binding international framework in place today.

The conclusions reached at Durban, reads the summit’s final declaration, must be “ambitious, balanced and based on scientific recommendations and evidence, on equity and the rule of law.”

This would require compliance with the principles of the United Nations (UN) convention on climate change, “particularly, the principles of equality and of common but differentiated responsibilities.” Developed nations, the primarily culprits for the current climate crisis, must be the ones to take on the greatest share of the burden in order to reverse current trends.

According to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, this would require, as a minimum, rich nations implementing carbon emissions reductions of 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80-95% below 1990 levels by 2050 if temperature rises are to be kept at 2°C.

Canada is now at 20% above 1990 GHG emissions levels. The Harper government has officially renounced the very conservative Kyoto targets.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

And just in time for Durban comes [url=http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2011/11/22/climategate-2-..."Climategate 2.0"[/url] to set the stage for another refusal by the developed world to come to grips with climate change.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url=http://www.wdm.org.uk/climate-justice/end-game-durban-how-developed-coun... end game in Durban? How developed countries bullied and bribed to try to kill Kyoto[/url]

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Bullying and bribery are tried and tested techniques often employed by powerful countries in international trade negotiations, where short term economic interests tend to be the order of the day. It is disturbing to see that these same motivations and tactics have now been brought into the climate change negotiations, even though governments are supposed to be working collectively to bring the planet back from the brink of disaster.

Bullying tactics include overt threats, to remove financial aid flows for example, but can also be more subtle and hidden. In general, experienced intergovernmental negotiators, especially those adept at deploying the nuances of the English language, tend to be skilled in using and abusing procedural rules and linguistic niceties to advance their national priorities. But if necessary, some are clearly prepared to resort to outright deception to achieve their goals, as this report shows.

Tactics include the use of exclusive ‘green room’ type negotiations, more typically deployed in cut throat trade negotiations in the World Trade Organization (WTO). They often take place outside the parameters of the formal negotiations, with carefully selected groups of countries likely to reach agreement and create momentum behind particular proposals. Negotiations can be conducted in the corridors, in ad hoc meetings that not every country knows about, in alternative country ‘groupings’ or simply in alternative forums, also known as ‘forum shopping’. Informal meetings also tend to be conducted in English, often without translation, putting those who do not speak English.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

BBC News wrote:

Canada will not make further cuts in its greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, and may begin formally withdrawing next month.

Though not a surprise, the news will anger poor countries that say the rich are reneging on pledges made 14 years ago when the protocol was signed. They see the protocol as the only way to make emission cuts legally binding.

Also on the first day of the UN climate summit in South Africa, the UK was criticised over support for tar sands....

Canada declared four years ago that it did not intend to meet its existing Kyoto Protocol commitment - to bring annual emissions in the period 2008-12 down by 6% from their 1990 level.

They have in fact risen by about one-third since 1990.

And just a few hours after talks began in the Durban conference hall, Canadian environment minister Peter Kent was confirming to reporters in the capital Ottawa that its involvement with Kyoto was over.

"We will not make a second commitment to Kyoto," he said. "We don't need a binding convention."

Syncrude tar sands development in Alberta Tar sands exploitation comes at a heavy environmental cost, locally as well as globally...

The UK, meanwhile, received one of the unwanted "Fossil of the Day" awards from a coalition of campaign groups. They were angered by reports, deriving from a Freedom of Information (FoI) request by the Co-operative, that the UK has been lobbying to weaken EU rules on oil from Canadian tar sands.

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture
M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url=http://www.climatenetwork.org/fossil-of-the-day/canada-earns-1st-place-a... Action Network[/url]

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Durban, South Africa – Canada again earned the first place Fossil of the Day on Tuesday for a complete mismatch between what it knows the world needs, and what it is willing to do....

"Canada is awarded the first place Fossil of the Day for proposing ‘eventual solutions’ for ‘urgent problems’

Canadian environment Minister, Peter Kent, said yesterday to media that: "There is an urgency to this. We don't need a binding convention, what we need is action and a mandate to work on an eventual binding convention."

What can we say. He nailed the first half of the sentence!

The second half needs some work: In order to address an urgent problem, we need a mandate to work on an eventual solution?

Like Canada’s plans to address its GHG emissions – this just doesn’t add up! (Canada has made many empty promises over recent years, and continues to have no plan that comes close to achieving our weak targets.)

Canada has agreed to keeping global warming below 2 degrees in Copenhagen, they have said they understand the need to close the gigatonne gap as soon as possible, and they claim to take the climate crises seriously. *** But action is for everyone else! ***

To quote a panelist at today’s CAN international press conference: “Canada is quickly becoming a bad joke at these negotiations.” So please Canada – we need you to urgently work on an urgent solution to solve an urgent problem."

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

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Canada has received a public scolding for its climate-change policy from several prominent South Africans, including anti-apartheid hero Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The group urges Canada to once again play a constructive role in global affairs, as it did in the 1980s when it imposed sanctions on the apartheid regime....

"Canada, you were once considered a leader on global issues like human rights and environmental protection. Today, you're home to polluting tar sands oil, speeding the dangerous effects of climate change," says the letter, signed by Tutu, a half-dozen South African activists and African environmental groups.

"For us in Africa, climate change is a life and death issue. By dramatically increasing Canada's global warming pollution, tar sands mining and drilling makes the problem worse, and exposes million of Africans to more devastating drought and famine today and in the years to come."

The group took out a full-page Canadian newspaper ad Wednesday with its message condemning the federal government. It is also supported by Canadian environmental groups, including Environmental Defence, Equiterre and Greenpeace Canada.

An image of the Maple Leaf, divided in two by a dotted line, is featured prominently in the ad. One half resembles the red leaf on the Canadian flag, while the other side shows a blackened leaf, dripping with oil.

[url=http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/breakingnews/desmond-tutu-other-... Press[/url]

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url=http://socialistworker.org/2011/11/28/another-climate-summit-failure]Ano... Climate Summit Failure in the Making[/url]

Chris Williams wrote:
THE REAL question we have to ask is: Why are government leaders so committed to doing nothing about climate change? Or put another way, to quote John Vidal, the Guardian's environmental correspondent:

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If treasuries can find trillions to bail out dodgy banks, if financiers can be paid hundreds of millions in bonuses and the politics of Europe can be redrawn in just a few weeks, then why can't the rich and big-emitting countries make a deal to try to avert what could be the greatest problem the planet has faced? In short, why are world leaders gambling with the fate of the planet?

Why indeed. Secondly, what political strategies should we pursue so that we can change this pathetic and appalling state of affairs? In other words, how can we raise the temperature of the movement, not the planet?

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

 

PRESS RELEASE: CANADIAN YOUTH EJECTED FROM COP17

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Members of the Canadian Youth Delegation were ejected from COP17 today as Canada’s Environment Minister Peter Kent delivered his opening address at the United Nations climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa. Just as Kent began his speech, six youth stood and turned away from the Minister revealing the message “Turn your back on Canada” prominently displayed on their shirts.

“Our so-called Environment Minister entered these talks by going on record that he would be defending the tar sands. I have yet to hear him say that he’s here to defend my future,” said James Hutt, one of the youth delegates who participated in the action.

The six youth, including Brigette DePape (the “Rogue Page”) received an ovation from the crowd watching the Minister’s address. They were escorted out of the International Convention Center’s plenary hall and removed from the premises at 12:30 p.m local time. Their accreditation was revoked upon their removal.

“This extraction-happy government hasn’t limited their reckless behaviour the climate talks here in Durban,” said Tasha Peters. “Canada has been called out for lobbying to lower EU fuel quality regulations to allow the expansion of  world’s largest and most destructive mega-project – the Alberta tar sands.”

 

Gaian

We must take action like Brigette, in every community. Overcome the stunned state of the nation, the hijacked and suppressed media.

Unionist

Wow, what a great action! Go forth and multiply!

 

Unionist

[url=http://www.democracynow.org/2011/12/6/indigenous_activists_from_canada_p... Activists from Canada Protest Tar Sands Oil at Durban Climate Change Summit[/url]

Video and text from Democracy Now!

Unionist

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2011/12/10/climate-talks-saturday.htm... reached at Durban[/url]

Hopefully I'll wake up tomorrow and someone will have explained what the deal is and who agreed to it.

 

Gaian

Only the fact that there's a Democratic president made possible any kind of agreement. You will note that the CBC story (gosh thos public ptogrammers again save the day) tell it like it is - there's no hope that the nutbars of the GOP would support ANY resolution. God would not want them to. And of course the onetime Canadian news anchor from the world of private media, continues to obfuscate and lie, just as he performed for Canadian TV audiences for many years.

Unionist

[url=http://www.cyberpresse.ca/environnement/201112/10/01-4476703-des-manifes...'s demo in Montréal[/url] - about 200 people, speakers from Greenpeace etc., demanding the Canadian government stick to Kyoto. This was before last night's deal obviously. Stéphane Dion also spoke there, accompanied by his dog... Kyoto.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url=http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=27049]"The United Nations climate talks in Durban, South Africa, have ended. Evil has been done on a scale that is hard to grasp."[/url]

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Climate Justice Now
Press release, 10 December, Durban, S. Africa

[url=http://www.climate-justice-now.org/2011-cop17-succumbs-to-climate-aparth... Succumbs to Climate Apartheid[/url]

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Decisions resulting from the UN COP17 climate summit in Durban constitute a crime against humanity, according to Climate Justice Now! a broad coalition of social movements and civil society. Here in South Africa, where the world was inspired by the liberation struggle of the country's black majority, the richest nations have cynically created a new regime of climate apartheid

"Delaying real action until 2020 is a crime of global proportions," said Nnimmo Bassey, Chair of [url=http://www.foei.org/en/media/archive/2011/climate-disastrous-durban-pack... of the Earth International[/url]. "An increase in global temperatures of 4 degrees Celsius, permitted under this plan, is a death sentence for Africa, Small Island States, and the poor and vulnerable worldwide. This summit has amplified climate apartheid, whereby the richest 1% of the world have decided that it is acceptable to sacrifice the 99%."

According to Pablo Solón, former lead negotiator for the Plurinational State of Bolivia, "It is false to say that a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol has been adopted in Durban. The actual decision has merely been postponed to the next COP, with no commitments for emission reductions from rich countries. This means that the Kyoto Protocol will be on life support until it is replaced by a new agreement that will be even weaker."

The world's polluters have blocked real action and have once again chosen to bail out investors and banks by expanding the now-crashing carbon markets - which like all financial market activities these days, appear to mainly enrich a select few.

"What some see as inaction is in fact a demonstration of the palpable failure of our current economic system to address economic, social or environmental crises," said Janet Redman, of the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies. "Banks that caused the financial crisis are now making bonanza profits speculating on our planet's future. The financial sector, driven into a corner, is seeking a way out by developing ever newer commodities to prop up a failing system."

Despite talk of a "roadmap" offered up by the EU, the failure in Durban shows that this is a cul-de-sac, a road to nowhere. Spokespeople for Climate Justice Now! call on the world community to remember that a real climate program, based on planetary needs identified by scientists as well as by a mandate of popular movements, emerged at the World People's Summit on Climate Change and Mother Earth in Bolivia in 2010. The Cochabamba People's Agreement, brought before the UN but erased from the negotiating text, offers a just and effective way forward that is desperately needed.

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Quote:

The official package deal of Durban consisted of 4 main documents, apart of several other decisions, most of them less critical, that have been adopted:

  1. A decision on the second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol 
  2. The LCA outcome: the partial implementation of the Bali Action Plan and the Cancun Agreements
  3. A Durban Platform for Enhanced Action: the decision to work towards a new “agreed outcome with legal force, applicable to all”
  4. The green climate fund

The package was officially sold to the world as a success, but having a closer look, it’s easy to see it doesn’t do what it is suposed to do, and it does what it shouldn’t do.

Rather than having a look decision by decision, let’s have an overall look on what the “package” implies:

[url=http://www.nelemarien.info/durban_not_success/]Read on...[/url]

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Derrick O'Keefe wrote:

Ironically Peter Kent, years ago when he was a respected CBC TV journalist, had narrated and helped produce a groundbreaking documentary on global warming way back in 1984

From 1984 to 2011 -- that's 27 lost years. Twenty-seven years of failure to do what must be done. In 1984, Kent's documentary inquired about a potential ban on fossil fuels, or a 300 per cent tax on carbon dioxide emissions.

But nothing like this type of serious, drastic action ever happened. And that's because the past three decades of the climate crisis have coincided with three decades of neo-liberal politics and economics. The market came before society; money came before science, the environment, reason and even morality.

The result of the 2011 Durban climate talks is that the big polluters have given themselves a few more years to fiddle while the world burns. They spin this by telling us that at Durban they agreed to a "roadmap" to a future agreement.

But the map of the road agreed to at Durban leads only one place for humanity -- off the cliff....

I'm tempted to suggest that the 1984 Peter Kent would tell the present-day Peter Kent to go to hell. But maybe Kent's just been a vacuous opportunist all along and only the words on the teleprompter have changed. And, secondly, this is much, much bigger than Mr. Kent and the rest of the sock-puppets and salesmen for the tar sands and the rest of Big Oil. 

This is now about political power. Forget speaking truth to power. We are going to need to take power, and transform power. It's an almost unbelievable challenge in front of us, especially the younger generations.

Those of us who grew up in the neo-liberal years were told again and again that politics was the art of the possible, but now we face a situation where we must do the impossible. 

Walter Benjamin once wrote: "Perhaps revolutions are not the train ride, but the human race grabbing for the emergency brake." Pulling that emergency brake today will require a global movement like we have never seen before.

We are going to need a revolution. An energy revolution.  A social revolution. And a revolution in international relations -- waging war on climate change, instead of war on countries with the misfortunate of sitting on top of oil and other coveted resources.

[url=http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/derrick/2011/12/after-durban-we-must-pul...

Social democrats, of course, disagree profoundly with this analysis.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url=http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/12/20/after-durban/]Creating a Climate Zombie[/url]

Patrick Bond wrote:

In our new book, Durban's Climate Gamble: Trading Carbon, Betting the Earth, critical researchers show why emissions markets are as comatose as the Kyoto Protocol. Only a Suncoast Casino drunkard would put money - much less the planet - on the odds of a death-bed resurrection.

Bolivia's former UN ambassador Pablo Solon scolded the hosts for turning Kyoto into a "Zombie, a soulless undead." The 1997 treaty's soul was a commitment that emissions cuts would be binding, but several of the richest polluting countries - the US, Canada, Japan, Russia, Australia and New Zealand - won't sign on the second commitment period. To sabotage Kyoto, Washington continues its voluntary ‘pledge and review' policy pantomime.

Kyoto's original brain contained a species survival mechanism: a pledge to keep the earth's temperature at a livable level. Now, the Durban Platform contains "less than half of the necessary cuts to keep the temperature increase below 2°C," says Solon. "This will be known as the lost decade in the fight against climate change."