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Counter the G8 + 5 Climate Summit! October 3-4 in Mexico City: CLIMATE JUSTICE NOW!

by Rising Tide North America Monday, Jul. 24, 2006 at 5:33 PM
g8(AT)risingtidenorthamerica.org

On Tuesday, October 3 in Mexico City, the Energy and Environment Ministers from the "Group of Eight" (G8) industrialized countries are scheduled to begin negotiating a climate change deal to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. They will be joined by Energy and Environment Ministers from the five "emerging" countries of Brazil, India, China, South Africa and Mexico. All together, these "G8 + 5" countries represent 58% of the world's human population, 61% of oil consumption, 80% of coal consumption, and 73% of C02 emissions.

¡Enfrente la G8 + 5 Cumbre del Clima! Octubre 3-4 en Ciudad de México: ¡Justicia Climatica Ya!

Oppose fraudulent G8 climate negotiations!
Stop carbon trading, converge for climate justice!
A zero emissions world is possible! Make it real!

( traducciones en español - el venir pronto - visita www.rtc.revolt.org y Rising Tide North America )

Visit http://rtc.revolt.org/node/337 for article below with links!

********

On Tuesday, October 3 in Mexico City, the Energy and Environment Ministers from the "Group of Eight" (G8) industrialized countries are scheduled to begin negotiating a climate change deal to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. They will be joined by Energy and Environment Ministers from the five "emerging" countries of Brazil, India, China, South Africa and Mexico. All together, these "G8 + 5" countries represent 58% of the world's human population, 61% of oil consumption, 80% of coal consumption, and 73% of C02 emissions, the leading greenhouse gas causing climate change via industrial-scale burning of coal, oil and gas for energy. Yet rather than plan how to radically reduce their contribution to global warming, the substance of these G8 + 5 talks in Mexico City is set to be about how the Earth's largest economies can “maintain”, “encourage”, and “expand” their status quo of massive dependence on fossil fuels, while presenting a fraudulent face of "energy conservation", "sustainable development" and "market-based solutions" to citizens, climate activists and environmental refugees horrified by growing global evidence and personal experience of climate catastrophe.

The October 3-4 G8 + 5 Climate Summit in Mexico City will closely follow the course established by the July 15-17 2006 G8 Summit held in St. Petersburg, Russia, where leaders released their "Communique and Plan of Action on Global Energy Security". That document, roundly condemned by numerous international environmental networks and worldwide protests, committed the G8 to ensuring "trillions of U.S. dollars in investment through the entire energy chain by 2030." Most of that funding would be used to bulk up hydrocarbon production, processing and transportation capacity for energy demand "estimated to rise by more than 50% by the year 2030, approximately 80% of which would still be met by fossil fuels, which are limited resources," says the G8 Global Energy Security Plan. The G8 countries are the United States, Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia.

The G8 Communique's final paragraph points forward to the Mexico City round of negotiations, known officially as the "G8 + 5 Energy Ministers Meeting of the Gleneagles Dialogue on Climate Change." The document declares: "We look forward to the next Ministerial meeting in Mexico in October 2006, where we will continue to identify opportunities for greater collaboration to tackle climate change, while pursuing energy security and sustainable development through deployment of cleaner, more efficient and low-carbon energy technologies, finance and market mechanisms, including, as appropriate, Clean Development Mechanism, Joint Implementation, emissions trade, and adaptation."

While such language may sound deceptively "green" to those unfamiliar with the nuances of capitalist doublespeak, climate justice activists are not fooled! For years, the aspects of the Kyoto Protocol that have come most under fire from activists are "loopholes" that help corporations evade emissions cuts. These loopholes include the agreement's "Flexible Mechanisms," such as trading in carbon credits, as well as Joint Implementation and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Carbon markets and mechanisms like the CDM are funded by the industrialized North and enforced by multilateral development agencies including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

In April 2005, the non-profit monitoring group CDM Watch, based in Bali, Indonesia, published a report that exposed as false the World Bank's claims that carbon market modalities such as the CDM are consistent with its own stated objective of reducing poverty, promoting "sustainable development," and financing renewable energy and "sustainable forestry" projects. The report shows that these claims are untrue and that these goals and project types are not, in fact, being advanced by the carbon market; that the World Bank's ongoing financing of fossil fuels and unsustainable forestry projects works directly against the Bank's stated objectives in developing a carbon market; that despite its rhetoric, the Bank is in fact using carbon finance to support unsustainable technologies and practices such as industrial plantations and large dams; that many of the Bank's top finance recipients in recent years have been major fossil fuel companies, including many who were members of the openly anti-Kyoto Global Climate Coalition; that the Bank's funding for renewable energy is dwarfed by its continued investment in fossil fuel extraction projects; and that the carbon market is bypassing the poorest countries and communities, while investment is focused overwhelmingly on the richer developing countries (such as the five who are joining the G8 in Mexico City for the October 10-11 Climate Summit) and is not going to projects that alleviate poverty or deliver sustainable economic alternatives within these countries. Is this the "cleaner, more efficient, low-carbon" development that the G8 countries claim emissions trading will promote?

Other important analyses that reveal the environmental destructivness and social injustice of carbon trading schemes include reports by Carbon Trade Watch, Sinks Watch, the International Rivers Network, the World Rainforest Movement the Global Justice Ecology Project, Rising Tide UK and the Transnational Institute. Excellent essays include "Carbon Trading or Carbon Justice?" by Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero ( ¿Comercio de carbono o justicia climatica? in Spanish), "Trouble in the Air" by Patrick Bond and Rehana Dada, "Carbon Colonialism and Climate Fraud" by Heidi Bachram, and "Hoodwinked in the Hothouse: The G8, Climate Change and Free-Market Environmentalism."

However, with over 100 signatory groups from all continents, the landmark statement against slash-and-burn neo-colonialism masquerading as virtuous ecology remains the "Climate Justice Now! Durban Declaration on Carbon Trading." Drafted in October 2004 at a People's Summit in the coastal South African city of Durban, this declaration commits climate defense activists to "help build a global grassroots movement for climate justice, mobilize communities around the world and pledge our solidarity with people opposing carbon trading on the ground."

Climate Justice Now!
The Durban Declaration on Carbon Trading

As representatives of people’s movements and independent organisations, we reject the claim that carbon trading will halt the climate crisis. This crisis has been caused more than anything else by the mining of fossil fuels and the release of their carbon to the oceans, air, soil and living things. This excessive burning of fossil fuels is now jeopardising Earth’s ability to maintain a liveable climate.

Governments, export credit agencies, corporations and international financial institutions continue to support and finance fossil fuel exploration, extraction and other activities that worsen global warming, such as forest degradation and destruction on a massive scale, while dedicating only token sums to renewable energy. It is particularly disturbing that the World Bank has recently defied the recommendation of its own Extractive Industries Review which calls for the phasing out of World Bank financing for coal, oil and gas extraction.

We denounce the further delays in ending fossil fuel extraction that are being caused by corporate, government and United Nations’ attempts to construct a “carbon market”, including a market trading in “carbon sinks”.

History has seen attempts to commodify land, food, labour, forests, water, genes and ideas. Carbon trading follows in the footsteps of this history and turns the earth’s carbon-cycling capacity into property to be bought or sold in a global market. Through this process of creating a new commodity - carbon - the Earth’s ability and capacity to support a climate conducive to life and human societies is now passing into the same corporate hands that are destroying the climate.

People around the world need to be made aware of this commodification and privatization and actively intervene to ensure the protection of the Earth’s climate.

Carbon trading will not contribute to achieving this protection of the Earth’s climate. It is a false solution which entrenches and magnifies social inequalities in many ways:

• The carbon market creates transferable rights to dump carbon in the air, oceans, soil and vegetation far in excess of the capacity of these systems to hold it. Billions of dollars worth of these rights are to be awarded free of charge to the biggest corporate emitters of greenhouse gases in the electric power, iron and steel, cement, pulp and paper, and other sectors in industrialised nations who have caused the climate crisis and already exploit these systems the most. Costs of future reductions in fossil fuel use are likely to fall disproportionately on the public sector, communities, indigenous peoples and individual taxpayers.

• The Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), as well as many private sector trading schemes, encourage industrialised countries and their corporations to finance or create cheap carbon dumps such as large-scale tree plantations in the South as a lucrative alternative to reducing emissions in the North. Other CDM projects, such as hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) -reduction schemes, focus on end-of pipe technologies and thus do nothing to reduce the impact of fossil fuel industries’ impacts on local communities. In addition, these projects dwarf the tiny volume of renewable energy projects which constitute the CDM’s sustainable development window-dressing.

• Impacts from fossil-fuel industries and other greenhouse-gas producing industries such as displacement, pollution, or climate change, are already disproportionately felt by small island states, coastal peoples, indigenous peoples, local communities, fisherfolk, women, youth, poor people, elderly and marginalized communities. CDM projects intensify these impacts in several ways. First, they sanction continued exploration for, and extraction, refining and burning of fossil fuels. Second, by providing finance for private sector projects such as industrial tree plantations, they appropriate land, water and air already supporting the lives and livelihoods of local communities for new carbon dumps for Northern industries.

• The refusal to phase out the use of coal, oil and gas, which is further entrenched by carbon trading, is also causing more and more military conflicts around the world, magnifying social and environmental injustice. This in turn diverts vast resources to military budgets which could otherwise be utilized to support economies based on renewable energies and energy efficiency.

In addition to these injustices, the internal weaknesses and contradictions of carbon trading are in fact likely to make global warming worse rather than “mitigate” it. CDM projects, for instance, cannot be verified to be “neutralizing” any given quantity of fossil fuel extraction and burning. Their claim to be able to do so is increasingly dangerous because it creates the illusion that consumption and production patterns, particularly in the North, can be maintained without harming the climate.

In addition, because of the verification problem, as well as a lack of credible regulation, no one in the CDM market is likely to be sure what they are buying. Without a viable commodity to trade, the CDM market and similar private sector trading schemes are a total waste of time when the world has a critical climate crisis to address.

In an absurd contradiction the World Bank facilitates these false, market-based approaches to climate change through its Prototype Carbon Fund, the BioCarbon Fund and the Community Development Carbon Fund at the same time it is promoting, on a far greater scale, the continued exploration for, and extraction and burning of fossil fuels – many of which are to ensure increased emissions of the North.

In conclusion, ‘giving carbon a price’ will not prove to be any more effective, democratic, or conducive to human welfare, than giving genes, forests, biodiversity or clean rivers a price.

We reaffirm that drastic reductions in emissions from fossil fuel use are a pre-requisite if we are to avert the climate crisis. We affirm our responsibility to coming generations to seek real solutions that are viable and truly sustainable and that do not sacrifice marginalized communities.

We therefore commit ourselves to help build a global grassroots movement for climate justice, mobilize communities around the world and pledge our solidarity with people opposing carbon trading on the ground.

Signed 10 October 2004 Glenmore Centre, Durban, South Africa

In March 2006, tens of thousands of people gathered in Mexico City to demonstrate against the commodification and privatization of water at the Fourth World Water Forum. As the G8 Energy Ministers meet this October 3-4 to advance their criminal agenda auctioning off the air and atmosphere beneath the cynical banner of cleansing the climate, amid the global warming crisis that every day grows undeniably graver, dare our resistance be any less? Reclaim our fate! Resist the G8!

Join the mobilization! Contact: g8(AT)risingtidenorthamerica.org (English) OR justiciaclimatica06(AT)gmail.com (Español) NOW!

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