John summarises the outcome of the Copenhage Climate Conference
These are some personal thoughts on COP15 Copenhagen Climate Conference. Billed as the most important conference ever relating to the future of our species; an acknowledgement that Climate Change is a threat of immense proportions to our continued existence. Copenhagen was a stitch up by the US and their wealthy friends, us included. The problem is that any meaningful reduction in carbon emissions which means a reduction in the use of fossil fuels is a threat to economic growth. The neo-liberal mantra of a future of plenty is based on this dubious ideal. African nations and Island nations are thus condemned to extinction if the current meagre proposals stay in place. I followed the Conference via Democracy Now. Org the only daily news report from the Bella centre, home of the COP15 talks. (I believe this is still accessible via their website). On day 2, a document was leaked to the Guardian revealing a proposal by some wealthy nations (UK and Canada included) that would simply undermine the trajectory of the negotiations. By day 3, representatives from Pacific island nations called to suspend the conference, walked out and staged a protest demanding that a temperature rise of no more than 1.5 C. above pre industrial revolution levels is acceptable; otherwise they face catastrophic loss of human life. The leaked document from the day before was a much weaker proposal. On day ten, I watched an interview with the international director of Friends of the Earth as he was having his clearance permit to attend the conference withdrawn for 'Security reasons'. We are talking 'Friends of the Earth' my mum was a member.... They are hardly terrorists. On the same day The WWF were banned from handing out leaflets at the Conference. The opposition voices were being excluded from the debate whilst the vested interests of big business were still represented as lobbyists continued to stalk the corridors of the Bela Centre.
Outside the police handcuffed thousands of protesters laying them end to end on the freezing streets for up to two hours, not even allowing them to take a pee. Some pee'd their pants in sub zero temperatures. They were then held in buses for a further two hours before being released without charge. This is democracy in shambles. Barrack Obama's late arrival exposed an utterly cynical position from the U.S. to avoid making any commitment to reducing it's carbon emissions. Vested interests have overruled humanity and compassion. But there is hope. The Hundreds of thousands of people who converged on Copenhagen to campaign, protest and hold their (our) own conference, with the genuine intent of creating solutions to our many crises'. The Klima Forum conference was everything that COP15 wasn't. There is a wealth of creativity an imagination at work, coming from ordinary people, who wish to create a viable future for our species. Consumption and economic growth has not made us any happier, indeed the developed nations have the highest levels of depression and mental illness; indeed continuing in this direction is bringing about our demise. The conference at the Klima Forum was about creating a world where we can thrive and co-operate without the dictates of greed and the 'Free market'. Writer/ journalist Naomi Klein spoke at this event - I quote 'Over at the Bella Centre a particular model for dealing with climate change is dying. It is revealing itself before the world as a final scramble for the remaining resources of a planet in peril. That is what is happening at the Bella Centre; when you're there you can feel it and it feels ugly.' Much of this was not covered in the mainstream media (little surprise). But it is a mass movement of ordinary people. Those clinging to power are aware of this growing movement. Your own back garden is a place where you can start to 'Think Globally and Act locally" And our own communities can help us.
The key question will change from whether the economy produces an ever larger pile of stuff to whether it builds or undermines community- for community, it turns out, is the key to physical survival in our environmental predicament and also to human satisfaction. Bill McKibben Deep Economy - Economics as if the world mattered.