Rap battle: Al Gore vs. Lord Monckton

30 11 2009

This is really great. Listen and watch to the end, its worth it.

Prelude to COP15: Climate Justice actions sweep the US before Copenhagen talks

30 11 2009

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Crossposted from Grist.

Today in the U.S., climate justice activists turned up the street heat to corporations in the financial and energy sectors most responsible for the climate crisis.  Initiated by the Mobilization for Climate Justice and the Climate Pledge of Resistance, the day of action came a week before social movements converge in Copenhagen at the U.N. climate talks on Dec. 7 and on the tenth anniversary of the World Trade Organization (WTO) protests in Seattle in 1999.  Major demonstrations, teach-ins, civil disobedience actions anchored the day of action in nine U.S. cities, supplimented by other smaller actions blooming around the country.

Civil disobedience also took place at the Chicago Climate Exchange, the first and largest carbon trading institution in North America.

Renowned climate scientist Dr. James Hansen joined protestors in New York in calling for an end to cap and trade and instead implement a simple carbon tax.  Dr. Hansen wrote in his book Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity, “The picture has become clear. Our planet, with its remarkable array of life, is in imminent danger of crashing… But we should not give up on the democratic system—quite the contrary. We must fight for the principle of equal justice. Civil resistance may be our best hope.”

Already across the globe in the past month, activists have upped the ante on the climate in the U.K. Australia, Canada and at the U.N. talks in Barcelona where the African delegation walked out and nearly a hundred activists blocked the exits, with the message “Without DRASTIC cuts, there is no EXIT”).  Now U.S. activists are joining this growing global resistance by voting with their feet and putting their bodies on the line.  In recent months, millions of people around the world have been taking action to protect their communities and the global climate. Shutting down coal power plants and mining sites, blockading oil refineries and marching on the streets of their cities, an increasing number of people are speaking out against climate pollution and calling for urgent action.

The U.S. is home to some of the world’s most egregious corporate climate polluters such as Chevron, British Petroleum (BP) and American Electric Power, along with their financiers, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Chase. The false solutions promoted by these corporations, like “clean coal”, nuclear energy, bio-fuels and carbon markets will delay urgent emissions reductions, threaten ecosystems and subsidize the construction of more toxic industries in the backyards of the poor.  Furthermore, the world’s poor, the working class, indigenous peoples and communities of color are systematically excluded from the U.N. process, yet are the hardest hit by the effects of climate change.

Just as a directly democratic anti-corporate global justice movement emerged from the Seattle protests in 1999 larger and stronger than ever before, now the post-Copenhagen mobilization will see the emergence of an anti-corporate climate justice movement that also incorporates a large coalition of groups, a diverse set of tactics, democratic values and developing world nations ready to bring new demands into the climate talks.

The Mobilization for Climate Justice is calling for:

  • Drastic emissions reductions guided by science, without carbon trading, offsetting or other corporate-driven solutions such as nuclear energy, biofuels, clean coal and incinerators.
  • Protection for the rights of those most impacted by polluting industries, climate change impacts and the transition to a clean energy economy.
  • Re-localization of production and consumption, favoring local markets, cooperative economies and community-controlled, renewable energy systems.
  • Rights-based resource conservation that enforces Indigenous land rights and ends corporate control over energy, forests, seeds, land and water.
  • An end to forest and biodiversity destruction, and international sanctions and tariffs supported by Indigenous peoples, peasants, fisher-folk and other frontline communities.
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VIDEO: Climate Justice and the Copenhagen Moment

19 11 2009

An inspiring new video from smartMeme with leaders from frontline communities and allies talking about the Copenhagen moment.

Geoengineering: Plan B for when Copenhagen fails? eek!

4 11 2009

Some scary prospects of where people are turning – geoengineering, the false solution that once seemed like science fiction, is actually being taken seriously. Seriously?

Diana Bronson, ETC Group

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. – Albert Einstein

As global climate negotiations in Barcelona enter into the last week of talks before December’s Copenhagen summit, there continues to be more aggravation than agreement amongst negotiators. Despite the litany of warnings about the devastation a failure in Copenhagen will cause – mass migrations, floods, worsening hunger and elimination of entire small island states – the most powerful countries in the world have failed to significantly reduce emissions, let alone commit to new targets or adequate funds to pay for adaptation. Unwilling to muster collective political will to dramatically reduce consumption, wealthy countries are looking for ways to continue business as usual.

The surprising announcement that the US Congressional Committee on Science and Technology will be holding hearings on geoengineering in Washington later this week has some participants in Barcelona wondering if the lack of collective political will on the part of industrialized countries has something to do with Plan B moving a whole lot faster than we thought. Plan B is geoengineering: the intentional, large-scale plans to modify the climate and related systems.
Geoengineering technologies include, for example, schemes to simulate a volcanic eruption by shooting sulphur particles into the stratosphere to reflect the sun’s rays back to outer space. Other technologies whiten clouds to make them more reflective. Some geoengineers propose dumping iron particles in the oceans to feed algae that might soak up CO2. Others want to change hurricane paths and rainfall patterns.
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Rich countries halt Barcelona climate talks with inaction – Africa walks out

3 11 2009

Cross posted from Grist

African negotiators at the U.N. climate talks in Barcelona just refused to continue formal discussions about all other issues until wealthy countries live up to their legal and moral responsibility to commit to deep emissions reductions. Rich countries (also called “Annex 1 countries”) have ground negotiations to a halt by failing to agree their new targets under the Kyoto Protocol (KP), driving developing countries to put their feet down. This walkout is significant and opens up political space – it means many of the countries in Africa just stopped one half of the UN climate negotiation process until rich countries say how much they will reduce their carbon.

We’re down to the wire: just four negotiating days left before the big agreement in Copenhagen is supposed to go down. Its day one, and we saw just a taste of the breakdowns to come. While rich countries continue to undermine commitments for the Kyoto Protocol (one of two negotiating tracks for Copenhagen which is supposed to be renewed for a second commitment period of Annex 1 targets), the spin has already taken hold: they’re blaming Africa for their own delay-mongering. Oy vey.

In response, movement and civil society organizations held a demonstration at the U.N. building in support of African delegates’ insistence that developed countries commit to new, strong binding targets. Delegates and observers were invited to join a human shield against the killing of Kyoto targets (complete with an Annex 1 grim reaper) and instead urged to promote at least 40% emission reductions with no offsets by 2020.

Kamese Geoffrey of NAPE/ Friends of the Earth Uganda warned, “Rich countries are attempting to dodge their legal and moral responsibilities to reduce emissions. Developing countries and communities have historically had practically no fault in the creation of climate change, yet they will be the first to face the devastating impacts of climate change.”

Many of us have longstanding criticisms of the Kyoto Protocol, particularly its market mechanisms. But here’s why Kyoto is important:

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