Climate Justice Now!| The Durban Declaration | Tuesday, November 23, 2004 |
Representatives from organizations and peoples movements from around the globe came together in Durban, South Africa October 4-7, 2004 to discuss realistic avenues for addressing climate change. The group emerged from the meeting with this call for a global grassroots movement against climate change.
At the beginning of October 2004 an international meeting was held in Durban (South Africa) attended by representatives of various organizations from around the world. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss real alternatives to climate change.
As a result, two declarations were prepared (enclosed below) aimed at promoting a world movement of the peoples of the North and of the South in defence of the planet's climate.
Climate Justice Now!
A call for peoples' action against climate change
Representatives from organizations and peoples' movements from around the globe came together in Durban, South Africa October 4-7, 2004 to discuss realistic avenues for addressing climate change. The group emerged from the meeting with this call for a global grassroots movement against climate change.
Twelve years ago governments took serious note of and agreed to address the issue of global warming. They signed and ratified the Convention on Climate Change. Five years later, they agreed on the Kyoto Protocol, which was to establish concrete commitments to reduce fossil fuel emissions from Northern countries. This Protocol has yet to come into effect. (The Kyoto Protocol is expected to enter into effect later this year).
The emission reductions that the Kyoto Protocol established for industrialized countries were only 5.2% below 1990 levels-which most scientists agree is completely inadequate to effectively address global warming.
Even these inadequate targets are being evaded through schemes such as carbon trading including the establishment of carbon "sinks" like monoculture tree plantations-mainly in the Global South. These schemes are being embraced by the very entities that are destroying the Earth.
Meanwhile destruction of true carbon reservoirs like native forests continues unabated, leading to yet more releases of greenhouse gases.
For this reason, the Durban Group calls on grassroots activists and organizations around the world to stand up for real action on climate change.
Communities disproportionately impacted by climate change and the false "solutions" put forward by the Kyoto Protocol (including carbon sink projects and continued fossil fuel exploration, extraction and burning) include small island states, whose very existence is threatened, as well as indigenous peoples, the poor and the marginalized, particularly women, children and the elderly around the world.
The refusal of governments and international financial institutions like the World Bank to force corporations to phase out use of fossil fuels, and which in fact encourage accelerated use of increasingly limited fossil fuel stocks, is causing more and more military conflicts around the world, magnifying social and environmental injustice.
Just as peoples' movements are rising up around the world against the privatization of water and biodiversity, so must we rise up against the privatization of the air, which is being promoted through the establishment of a massive "carbon market."
If we are to avert a climate crisis, drastic reductions in fossil fuel investment and use are inescapable, as is the protection of remaining native forests. The current flawed approach of international negotiations must be met by the active participation of a global movement of Northern and Southern peoples to take the climate back into their hands. We therefore call on activists, organizations and communities to sign on to the statement that emerged from the Durban meeting and join this growing global movement.
To sign on to the Climate Justice Now! statement please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.sinkswatch.org
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
Durban meeting signatories:
Indigenous Environmental Network
Carbon Trade Watch
Coecoceiba-Amigos de la Tierra, Costa Rica
CORE Centre for Organisation Research & Education, Manipur, India Delhi Forum, India
FERN FASE-ES, Brazil
Global Justice Ecology Project, USA
National Forum of Forest People And Forest workers (NFFPFW), India Patrick Bond, Professor, University of KwaZulu Natal School of Development Studies, South Africa
O Le Siosiomaga Society, Samoa
Sustainable Energy & Economy Network, USA
The Corner House, UK
World Rainforest Movement
The statement, including regularly updated signature lists can also be downloaded at: http://www.sinkswatch.org
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