Police standoff with OccupyCOP17 protestors and members of numerous climate justice movements and ngos as they convene in Dec. 3. Durban for Global Day of Action for Climate Justice. Photo from OccupyCOP17
The fight for survival is heating up at the UN Climate Talks in Durban. Today, the ambassadors of Grenada, Seychelles, and Nauru joined a big crowd outside the official negotiations to call for bold and immediate action to cut emissions and safeguard the survival of people across the planet. Jamie Henn reporting on Dec. 2 for 350.org from #OccupyCOP17 from Durban, SA
Tens of thousands of climate justice advocates are expected to rally tomorrow outside the official COP17 meeting following Friday's exceptionally huge turnout of climate justice advocates representing diverse sectors of civil society. Members of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), who joined the marchers yesterday, said their ability to survive is compromised by climate change. One representation said, "You are our conscious, and we will be your voice."
Reporting on the Friday march, OccupyCOP17 noted:
... hundreds of people from the Rural Womens Assembly arrived at Speakers Corner for a rally. They were then joined by hundreds more from One Million Climate Jobs, and then everyone took to the streets, signing, dancing and chanting for climate justice.
This was a taster for what will happen here tomorrow, when the Global Day of Action march takes place in Durban and around the world. 20,000 people will make their voices heard, going right past the ICC where delegates will not be able to ignore the calls of the people. OccupyCOP17
“World leaders are discussing the fate of our planet but they are far from reaching a solution to climate change," said C17 Global Day of Actioncommittee convenor Desmond D’sa. "If they fail to make progress we will see drought and hunger blight our country and continent even further. We call on all South African’s to march with us this Saturday and remind our leaders they must come to a fair climate change deal that avoids runaway climate change.”
The merging of numerous climate justice networks with Occupy COP17 signals yet another example of global unrest over social injustice; this time rallying groups and individuals represent the peoples, cultures and countries most seriously disenfranchised in the UNFCCC negotiating process. Talk prior to onset of negotiations regarding a decision by a group of developed countries (including the US and Canada) to reboot the climate negotiations with a 2020 treaty date has further outraged and incentivized the climate justice movement.
Yet the first signs of the huge significance of tomorrow's global day of action were first apparent last winter.
With the Arab Spring in its infancy, attendees at last February's World Social Forum in Senegal recognized the urgency of tapping into the awakening of a global consciousness to address the battle for climate justice, and it was at these meetings that the rallying call for a Climate Justice Protocol began to gain momentum. Reporting for Pambazuka News (and cross-posted here at Kos), Vishwas Satgar discussed the Battle for COP17.
The expressions of people’s power in these revolutions defied inherited formulaic understandings of 20th century revolutions. Instead of vanguards and armed uprisings, these revolutions organised without organisation through social media and the unstoppable mass surge of discontent. Egypt and Tunisia also fired an imagination for more: Could people’s power be harnessed to end the tenuous grip of neoliberal ideology on a world scale? Could the struggles in Latin America, the Maghreb, the Arab world, global climate change negotiations and beyond be connected to frame a new horizon for global transformation?
Progressive civil society was divided at Cancun. NGO technocrats, donor-driven agendas, big egos, celebrity intellectuals and hard-lined social movement agendas prevented a common voice and united agenda to prevail outside the negotiations in the streets.
A serious and ethical conversation of honest assessment, above petty nationalisms and narrow agendas, reveals a climate change process that is increasingly being led by an agenda that favours utilising the ecological crisis as a new outlet and fix for capitalist accumulation. Within the Cancun framework carbon trading, geo-engineering and adaptation are just some of the elements of a new green neoliberalism. The future of the delicate ecological web will be determined by financial returns, speculation and risky technologies. For the World Bank, finance and investment in climate change are the new horizon for green capitalism, a dangerous and false solution.
Currently, the United Nations has a democracy deficit. It is actually not the embodiment of global democracy and the liberal internationalism through which it claims its legitimacy is in crisis due to the weakening of national liberal democracies in the context of global capitalist restructuring. Most states sitting at the climate change negotiations table are there due to weaknesses in national democracies. In most instances, representative democracy has been hollowed out as states have been transnationalised as part of reproducing
Tomorrow's march begins with a rally at 9:00 am (1 AM EST, 10PM PST) with short speeches by Bishop Geoff Davies, Bandile Mdlalose, and C17’s Desmond D’sa, representing South Africa and international community.
The march passes the ICC, (site of UNFCCC negotiations) for a 1PM rally where participants will hand over statements to Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Speakers representing labour, youth, women, faith communities and Africa will address participants.
As the first week of the official talks concluded, Figueres, expressed hope that negotiators may yet succeed in clarifying a second phase of the Kyoto Protocol by the end of COP17 next Friday. Additionally, she believes progress is being made in work towards design and implementation of the Green Climate Fund, created to provide the most vulnerable and poorest developing countries access to global warming adaption tools and techniques.
Expectations are that an agreement on the second commitment to Kyoto, with "certain conditions" might be reached by Tuesday. The EU, which proposed new amendments, claims the changes will inspire the developed countries to tackle more ambitious plans to reduce global greenhouse gases (GHGs). UNFCCC gives thumbs up after week one of COP17Terraviva, Dec. 2
Climate Justice Activists outside COP17 December 2.
Photos from OccupyCOP17
Occupy COP17 (Twitter)
A handful of wealthy countries – including notably the United States – are now seeking to move the goalposts. They want to dismantle the rules for developed countries’ emissions reductions, shift the burden to developing countries and renege on the Bali Roadmap. In the process, they are trying to end the Kyoto Protocol, and even the Convention, and replace it with a weak, ineffective ‘pledge and review’ system that may take years to negotiate.