Notes from Lumumba’s speech at UN

12 12 2009

Here are some notes (from Karen Orenstein) from the most powerful and moving speech I have heard in the UN, from Abassador Lumumba, chair of the G77:

Most critical aspect for successful outcome:

Fundamental is issue of 1.5 degrees C and 350 ppm. Centrality of this is a deal that cannot save god, humanity and nature is not a deal we should entertain in the first place.

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Indigenous Peoples at Copenhagen Climate Talks Deliver Peace Prize Message to Obama at US Embassy: Procession, Prayer & Protests “Indigenous rights and knowledge are the foundation for addressing climate change”

11 12 2009

Indigenous Peoples from across North America and their allies from around the world gathered at the US Embassy in Copenhagen today to deliver a message to President Obama as he traveled to Oslo to accept his Nobel Prize. The delegation of Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and First Nations Peoples is in Denmark this week for the historic COP 15 Climate Talks, and is calling for a climate deal that includes a moratorium on all new exploration of oil, gas, coal and uranium as a first step towards the full phase-out of fossil fuels and a just solution to the climate crisis.
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Youth and Indigenous People escalate actions inside UN

10 12 2009

Echoing the words of Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed (We will not die quietly!) and the African negotiator Ambassador Lumumba, (No to climate colonialism!) hundreds of youth created a loud and energetic “climate storm” today inside the Copenhagen climate talks at the UN. It was the largest demonstration at COP15 yet – and was just a taste of the storm to come. Youth from every continent clapped, snapped, and pounded their feet to make the sounds of a rainstorm in a representation of the typhoons and hurricanes that have ravaged communities around the world this year.

“Negotiators are turning their backs on us and telling us to keep quiet. As a young person living in the Pacific, I know what it’s like to fear climate change,” said Subhashni Raj, a youth organizer from Fiji who spoke at the rally. “I’m here to say that we will not die quietly.”

Responding to growing calls from African, Island Nation and Developing Country delegates for real justice, today’s storm was an effort to link the plight of G77 countries to the debt they are owed by the global North. The over 1,000 youth participating in the talks – the largest youth delegation in COP history – have consistently refused talk of political compromises that amount to “suicide pacts” for many low-lying nations around the world that would be destroyed by unchecked climate change. Youth are specifically calling on developed countries to step up their emissions reductions commitments and to cease the secret, back-room dealing that has plagued the talks.

“Yesterday, in a meeting with African civil society groups, Ambassador Lumumba made it clear that African countries will refuse to sign a suicide pact here in Copenhagen,” said Landry Ninteretse, a youth organizer from Burundi. “European and American aid proposals look more like colonialism than an attempt to solve climate change. Our hopes and dreams can’t be bought off $10 billion dollars.”

Those of us in the North have colonized more than our share of the atmosphere, and it will be impossible to reach a deal without a serious commitment to repaying our climate debt.

Immediately afterward, Indigenous people inside the UN formed a human chain to demand much stronger safeguards for Indigenous Rights within the treaty. Today is human rights day, and it was a celebration in style. With youth support, Indigenous people led this spontaneous demonstration which became a march throughout the Bella Center. Chants such as “NO RIGHTS, NO REDD!” echoed throughout the building.

This is just a taste of what is to come in the weeks that are unfolding here in Copenhagen. The protests today signify just another escalation of international activists inside the Climate negotiations





African Civil Society Demand An End to Climate Colonialism With Spontaneous March Through Cop15 Bella Center

9 12 2009

Today African Civil Society groups met during the COP15 UN Climate Meetings to discuss the implications for Africa of the leaked “Danish text” also known as the ‘Copenhagen Agreement’.  It had been rumored for days that a secret text generated by the Danish Presidency, as Chair of the Conference, had been prepared.

Outraged by the content of the text and the fact that the Danish Presidency is abusing its role as Chair of the Conference, the Africans launched a spontaneous march and protest through the middle of the Climate Conference at the Bella Centre. Negotiations are still on-going at the Climate Change Conference, and the Danish text pre-judges their outcome. The “Danish text” includes provision to aim to limit the rise in global temperatures to two degrees, which would mean massive levels of harm to Africa.
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Copenhagen day one: Scandal! Bullying!

7 12 2009

Cross Posted from Grist.

Well it was opening day of the madness that is COP15: the meeting of the UNFCCC that is supposedly going to decide the fate of the entire world. And what better way to open it than with broad civil society outrage at the egregious lack of democracy in the process.

Here’s the inside scoop: the Danish presidency is desperate for a positive spin on any outcome of the climate negotiations here. That means forcing an outcome by bringing together the rich and powerful nations to broker a deal in private and then to announce it to the rest of the world. There is widespread concern of US-friendly text being “parachuted” into the negotiating documents, at the expense of G77 countries (everyone else).

We all know that international agreements involve quite a lot of back-room deals and often intimidation. We just usually don’t expect it to come from the facilitators. Obviously this is both antithetical to the UN process but also to the duties of the Danish Government in playing a neutral convening role at the Conference of Parties. It’s not just an attack on democracy, but it amounts to an attack on the rest of the world on behalf of a few powerful interests. It’s the sort of “green room” behavior one would expect from the World Trade Organization, not the United Nations, which has a consensus process designed to make global decisions.

The logic is this – the US needs to be on board to get any deal, so therefore let’s force a watering-down of the process to get the US to sign. Déjà vu? It’s errily like we’re replaying the Kyoto meeting in 1997. Remember how the world watered down the treaty (giving birth to the concept of offsets and the Clean Development Mechanism) so that the US would sign? …and the US never even signed anyway.

Will COP15 be a race to the bottom, hijacked to pander to the United States? Today Raman Mehta from Action Aid India said, “The global community trusted the Danish government to host a fair and transparent process but they have betrayed that trust. Most importantly, they are betraying those who are disproportionately impacted by climate change and whose voices are not being heard. This unfair behavior strikes a blow to all efforts to achieve justice and equity in the climate change negotiations process.”

Civil Society has brought foreward a number of specific concerns:

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Danish Government Slammed for Bias and Secrecy in Role As President of UN Climate Conference

7 12 2009

COPENHAGEN – As climate negotiations open in Copenhagen, civil society organizations around the world issued the following statement strongly criticizing the Danish government for acting in a biased, manipulative and nontransparent manner in its role as President of the Conference of the Parties:

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