Due to an incredible acceleration in collective awareness even compared to a month ago, after London (climate camp), New York (climate summit), Pittsburgh (g20 summit and protest), Copenhagen (climate action), and now Bangkok (climate talks), the issue of climate justice has taken centerstage among world media and movements.
On the climate question, there are significant shifts at the top of the structure of global power, and more momentous leaps in the actions organized by global climate movements. The UNFCCC in Copenhagen (COP15) in December will see the two sides confront each other in a global clash of media forces. Will unbridled green capitalism and useless carbon trading win the day? Or will climate justice, North-South equity, carbon taxation, grassroots power prevail over corporations and technocrats?
Among major powers there are significant disputes about who will wear the mantle of green tech, the next and fourth industrial revolution. Hitherto Green Obama has been obscured by Hu Jintao at the UN Building, something that would have been unthinkable before the summer. China and the US, the two world’s largest emitters which didn’t sign Kyoto, are battling for green supremacy ahead of Copenhagen. On its part, the EU, via its commissioner, the neoliberal Barroso, just re-confirmed to its post despite having lost 3 referendums, is letting media know that Europe leads the world in climate remediation, with its 20% cut in CO2 emissions by 2020. Newly elected Hakatoyama has pushed Japan a bit to the left and has made the country subscribe to a 25% cut by the same date. The EU is now saying that the US is a biggest obstacle to a carbon trading deal at COP15, since Senate has blocked cap’n'trade bill passed by the House. Since the climate summit in NYC didn’t produce tangible results, talks are being held in Bangkok, and you bet our movement is also there putting the heat on the greenwashers.
Europe’s carbon trading scheme has already failed miserably, as climate justice activists point out in their search for alternative solutions that would tame runaway globalization, the actual root cause of planetary heating. Starting in July a wave of climate camps targeting fossil capitalism has swept across Europe and Australia, climaxing in London’s climate camp, where 5,000 activists, their tents, vegan kitchens, renewable power installations, compost toilets etc. have put climate justice on the political map once and for all. In ten days, the Great Climate Swoop vs E-on, Europe’s largest operator of coal-powered plants, will bring the climate camp mobilizations to a new height. In late September, in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Hazelwood, Australia, mass actions have brought two large coal power stations to a temporary halt. Danish and Australian activists had to face disproportionate police response, leading to beatings and arrests. Is green capitalism going to be as authoritarian as bushism? From the vantage point of the G20 protests in Pittsburgh on Sept 22-26, the answer cannot be but yes. Climate justice movements, students, anarchist activists were repeatedly charged with sound cannons and pepper gas by a fascistic riot police. In the latest twist, an activist in New York has been arrested for tweeting about police activity in Pittsburgh! All this clearly does not bode well for Copenhagen in December. We have to make sure that our right to demonstrate won’t be trampled upon as it has been in Pennsylvania.
Act for Climate Justice!