||What is 'Climate Justice'?
|CJ is the fusion of social and environmental justice philosophies, political practices and projects aiming to both redefine and redistribute wealth and to transform socio-economic relations, grounded in a political-ecological praxis (analysis-activism) that seeks root causes and proposes and implements genuine solutions to the climate crisis.
See below for four of the core manifestos, which can be boiled down to these Cochabamba People's Agreement statements:
50% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2017 to stabilise temperature rises to 1C and 300 Parts Per Million
acknowledge climate debt owed by developed countries (6%of GDP/year).
Full respect for indigenous people’s Human Rights and the rights of Mother Earth.
Establish an International Court of Climate Justice.
Reject carbon markets and commodification of nature & forests through REDD.
Change consumption patterns of developed countries.
End intellectual property rights for technologies useful for mitigating climate change.
CJ manifestos from Durban, Bali,
Amsterdam and Cochabamba
The CJ manifestos that follow have the following features, which in chronological order illustrate the movement’s emergence and maturation. They begin with the Durban Group’s 2004 critique of the carbon market mechanism adopted in Kyoto, and demand for grassroots alternatives. More expansively, the Climate Justice Now! 2007 founding document reflects the desire to link a variety of issues and movements. The linkages become even more ambitious in Climate Justice Alliance’s February 2010 statement, in the wake of the Copenhagen fiasco. Finally, the most vibrant climate justice event, giving a mandate for years to come, was the Cochabamba meeting called by Evo Morales in April 2010. There have been dozens of other similar statements and the selection of these four is merely illustrative.
Durban Group for Climate Justice, Durban, October 2004
“The Durban Declaration on Carbon Trading”[i]
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 privatisation 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 marginalised 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 utilised 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 ‘neutralising’ 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 prerequisite 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 marginalised communities. We therefore commit ourselves to help build a global grassroots movement for climate justice, mobilise communities around the world and pledge our solidarity with people opposing carbon trading on the ground.
Climate Justice Now! Bali, 14 December 2007
Peoples from social organizations and movements from across the globe brought the fight for social, ecological and gender justice into the negotiating rooms and onto the streets during the UN climate summit in Bali. Inside and outside the convention centre, activists demanded alternative policies and practices that protect livelihoods and the environment.
In dozens of side events, reports, impromptu protests and press conferences, the false solutions to climate change – such as carbon offsetting, carbon trading for forests, agrofuels, trade liberalization and privatization pushed by governments, financial institutions and multinational corporations – have been exposed.
Affected communities, Indigenous Peoples, women and peasant farmers called for real solutions to the climate crisis, solutions which have failed to capture the attention of political leaders. These genuine solutions include:
Huge financial transfers from North to South based on historical responsibility and ecological debt for adaptation and mitigation costs paid for by redirecting military budgets, innovative taxes and debt cancellation.
Leaving fossil fuels in the ground and investing in appropriate energy-efficiency and safe, clean and community-led renewable energy.
Rights based resource conservation that enforces Indigenous land rights and promotes peoples’ sovereignty over energy, forests, land and water.
Sustainable family farming and peoples’ food sovereignty.
Inside the negotiations, the rich industrialized countries have put unjustifiable pressure on Southern governments to commit to emissions’ reductions.
At the same time, they have refused to live up to their own legal and moral obligations to radically cut emissions and support developing countries’ efforts to reduce emissions and adapt to climate impacts. Once again, the majority world is being forced to pay for the excesses of the minority.
Compared to the outcomes of the official negotiations, the major success of Bali is the momentum that has been built towards creating a diverse, global movement for climate justice. We will take our struggle forward not just in the talks, but on the ground and in the streets – Climate Justice Now!
Climate Justice Alliance, February 2010
“What does Climate Justice mean in Europe?”
This discussion paper was drafted by a working group at the Climate Justice Alliance meeting in Amsterdam in February 2010. Its purpose is to collectively explore the concept of climate justice in the context of Europe. Through providing this discussion paper as both incomplete and unending, we hope it will be useful as a tool in linking the diverse struggles throughout Europe and elsewhere, and strengthen the collective movement towards our visions of the future.
In choosing Europe as the terrain of this discussion, we are not separating ourselves from those struggling elsewhere in the world. On the contrary, through asking what the basis of climate justice is in on our own doorstep, and discovering how we go about implementing it, we are fighting for a better world for all.
The abject failure of governments to provide a political solution to the climate crisis in Copenhagen was unsurprising to those who, from the outset, understood the UN as an institution whose interests lie in extending the legitimacy of global capitalism and the nation-state. Those who placed their hope in the COP15, due either to naivety or necessity, left with a sense of disbelief. More and more are now coming to the realisation that it is social movements, not governments, that have the power to make the necessary changes to solve the climate crisis.
Linking with social struggle. The solutions to systematic repression, exploitation, and the climate crisis are the same. Climate Justice means linking all struggles together that reject neoliberal markets and working towards a world that puts autonomous decision making power in the hands of the communities. We look towards a society which recognises our historical responsibilities and seeks to protect the global commons, both in terms of the climate and life itself. Solidarity. From the shanty towns of the Americas to the precariats of Europe, the global south is all of those, whether resisting or not, who suffer the impacts of the relationships of capital and domination. It is important to recognise that the marginalised in the geographic south are also the front line of the struggle for climate justice. Solidarity is the realisation of the common struggle. It is realising that the geography which divides us is insignificant compared to the strength of the values that hold us together – our shared affirmation of life and liberty in the face of exploitation and oppression. Solidarity means fighting for our own autonomy at the same time as we struggle against corporations and the relationships of capital that exploit people everywhere.
The EU. Europe, including the EU, is historically responsible for climate change and social and environmental exploitation world wide. The EU as a political institution serves only to extend the interests of the wealthy and the powerful. Its Lisbon Agenda, and the more recent 2020 Agenda, looks to increase the dominance of European based corporations and extend the rule of capital into every sphere of our lives. Its pursuit of the Emissions Trading Scheme has pioneered a system that serves only to profit from our ecological crises, its Bologna process turns our universities into ‘sausage factories’, whilst the EU trade strategy looks to control access to natural resources and cheap labour for European corporations, continuing its historical legacy of colonialism through different methods. Overcoming institutions that override the autonomy of communities through tying us to capitalist growth is essential if we are to move towards an ecologically and socially just world.
Food and Agriculture. Climate Justice is closely linked to breaking the circle of industrialised agricultural production perpetuated through WTO and European policies. Speculation on food as an industrial commodity and the domination of long unsustainable production chains by international capital threatens the biosphere and the lives of billions of people. This attack on food sovereignty and the planet must be met with a social struggle for food production defined by the needs and rights of local communities. This means redefining, re-localising and re-appropriating the control of our food and agricultural systems through engaging and acting in solidarity with existing struggles.
Military. In Europe, as elsewhere, the military-industrial complex is one of the key actors in maintaining business as usual in the current dominant economic political system. Under the false promise of ensuring ‘security’ and in the ‘war against terror’, huge and ever increasing budgets are being spent on military and policing infrastructure. Often military ventures are thinly veiled attempts at securing access to foreign resources and ensuring vast profits for the arms industry. The real security threat we face cannot be addressed by armed force and social control. Social exclusion, poverty, loss of biodiversity, ecosystem collapse, and increasingly scarce resources leading to an escalation in conflicts and resource wars, are posing a far bigger threat than the ghost of terror, or any other imaginary foe created to mask the social conflicts that exists within and between our societies. The struggle for climate justice is about highlighting another concept of sustainable ‘human security’, which a military and policing force will never be able to guarantee. In practice by resisting changes in our global systems, the military and police apparatus is endangering security, not increasing it.
Migration. Climate change is exacerbating factors which force people to migrate; lack of access to land or livelihood, failing agriculture, conflict and lack of access to water. The tiny proportion of those displaced who attempt the expensive and dangerous journey, are met with militarised border controls if they reach ‘Fortress Europe.’ Labelled ‘illegals,’ they are denied basic human rights and struggle to live in dignity, whilst providing a neat scapegoat for a range of social problems. The historical development of capital accumulation, colonialism and carbon emissions, means that Europe has a unique responsibility to act in solidarity with those who are displaced. In our free market system only those with certain papers such as an EU passport and capital and commodities are free to move around the world. Those seeking a better life or moving to survive are increasingly denied this option. As well as fighting for the conditions for people to be able to stay in their homes and communities, we must also defend the principle of freedom of movement for all as one key aspect of climate justice.
Energy. The need for constant economic growth also means an ever increasing thirst for energy. While there is sufficient energy in Europe we see that despite producing more and more energy, due to inefficiency and inequality, millions of people in Europe do not have access to affordable energy and are unable to heat their homes. Moreover our energy policy within Europe directly results in huge amounts of dangerous waste (nuclear and other), and vast levels of emissions which are rapidly destabilising the global climate. We must ensure that everyone in Europe has access to sufficient levels of energy which is produced in a way that does not damage or endanger people or the environment. We need to radically transform our ways of producing, distributing and consuming energy. This means leaving fossil fuels in the ground, democratising means of production and changing our attitudes to energy consumption. Energy resources should be in the control of communities that use them, and this means challenging the power and ownership of energy companies.
Production and consumption. Europe has some of the highest concentrations of wealth in the world and consumes enormous amounts of resources, yet there are stark inequalities. Production and consumption should be based on values other than profit; this means changing the way we structure our social, economic and political relationships, and ensuring democratic control of the means of production. This will require expropriation and conversion not only of climate damaging companies and industries, but all spheres of life that operate according to the logic of capital. We need to challenge individualism in society and stop allowing ourselves to be defined as consumers, a de-humanising and restrictive identity. Social values must be based on human needs and not on ever increasing consumption, economic growth and competition.
Climate Justice in Europe. Climate justice means recognising that the capitalist growth paradigm, which leads to over extraction, overproduction and overconsumption stands in deep contrast to the biophysical limits of the planet and the struggle for social justice. The historical legacy of European expansion/colonialism is a root cause of the current geopolitical inequalities, in which the global North is consuming the global South. Climate justice means addressing the inequalities that exist between and within countries, and replacing the economic and political systems that uphold them. The status quo is maintained through unequal exchange via unjust trade policies and unequal access to technological capacity. On a global level Europe is a centre of capital accumulation and thus socio-ecological exploitation of the South, however, internally in Europe there are huge inequalities in terms of race, gender and class. These are crucial issues that need to be addressed in the struggle for climate justice on a European level.
We hope that this discussion paper has helped to explore the concept of climate justice in the context of Europe, and we invite your comments to further this discussion. Fundamentally, we believe that we cannot prevent further global warming without addressing the way our societies are organised – the fight for climate justice and the fight for social justice are one and the same.
World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, Cochabamba, April 2010
“People’s Agreement” Today, our Mother Earth is wounded and the future of humanity is in danger.
If global warming increases by more than 2 degrees Celsius, a situation that the “Copenhagen Accord” could lead to, there is a 50% probability that the damages caused to our Mother Earth will be completely irreversible. Between 20% and 30% of species would be in danger of disappearing. Large extensions of forest would be affected, droughts and floods would affect different regions of the planet, deserts would expand, and the melting of the polar ice caps and the glaciers in the Andes and Himalayas would worsen. Many island states would disappear, and Africa would suffer an increase in temperature of more than 3 degrees Celsius. Likewise, the production of food would diminish in the world, causing catastrophic impact on the survival of inhabitants from vast regions in the planet, and the number of people in the world suffering from hunger would increase dramatically, a figure that already exceeds 1.02 billion people.
The corporations and governments of the so-called “developed” countries, in complicity with a segment of the scientific community, have led us to discuss climate change as a problem limited to the rise in temperature without questioning the cause, which is the capitalist system.
We confront the terminal crisis of a civilizing model that is patriarchal and based on the submission and destruction of human beings and nature that accelerated since the industrial revolution.
The capitalist system has imposed on us a logic of competition, progress and limitless growth. This regime of production and consumption seeks profit without limits, separating human beings from nature and imposing a logic of domination upon nature, transforming everything into commodities: water, earth, the human genome, ancestral cultures, biodiversity, justice, ethics, the rights of peoples, and life itself.
Under capitalism, Mother Earth is converted into a source of raw materials, and human beings into consumers and a means of production, into people that are seen as valuable only for what they own, and not for what they are.
Capitalism requires a powerful military industry for its processes of accumulation and imposition of control over territories and natural resources, suppressing the resistance of the peoples. It is an imperialist system of colonization of the planet.
Humanity confronts a great dilemma: to continue on the path of capitalism, depredation, and death, or to choose the path of harmony with nature and respect for life.
It is imperative that we forge a new system that restores harmony with nature and among human beings. And in order for there to be balance with nature, there must first be equity among human beings. We propose to the peoples of the world the recovery, revalorization, and strengthening of the knowledge, wisdom, and ancestral practices of Indigenous Peoples, which are affirmed in the thought and practices of “Living Well,” recognizing Mother Earth as a living being with which we have an indivisible, interdependent, complementary and spiritual relationship. To face climate change, we must recognize Mother Earth as the source of life and forge a new system based on the principles of:
Harmony and balance among all and with all things;
Complementarity, solidarity, and equality;
Collective well-being and the satisfaction of the basic necessities of all;
People in harmony with nature;
Recognition of human beings for what they are, not what they own;
Elimination of all forms of colonialism, imperialism and interventionism;
Peace among the peoples and with Mother Earth.
The model we support is not a model of limitless and destructive development. All countries need to produce the goods and services necessary to satisfy the fundamental needs of their populations, but by no means can they continue to follow the path of development that has led the richest countries to have an ecological footprint five times bigger than what the planet is able to support. Currently, the regenerative capacity of the planet has been already exceeded by more than 30 percent. If this pace of over-exploitation of our Mother Earth continues, we will need two planets by the year 2030. In an interdependent system in which human beings are only one component, it is not possible to recognize rights only to the human part without provoking an imbalance in the system as a whole. To guarantee human rights and to restore harmony with nature, it is necessary to effectively recognize and apply the rights of Mother Earth. For this purpose, we propose the attached project for the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth, in which it’s recorded that:
The right to live and to exist;
The right to be respected;
The right to regenerate its bio-capacity and to continue it’s vital cycles and processes free of human alteration;
The right to maintain their identity and integrity as differentiated beings, self-regulated and interrelated;
The right to water as the source of life;
The right to clean air;
The right to comprehensive health;
The right to be free of contamination and pollution, free of toxic and radioactive waste;
The right to be free of alterations or modifications of it’s genetic structure in a manner that threatens it’s integrity or vital and healthy functioning;
The right to prompt and full restoration for violations to the rights acknowledged in this Declaration caused by human activities.
The “shared vision” seeks to stabilize the concentrations of greenhouse gases to make effective the Article 2 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which states that “the stabilization of greenhouse gases concentrations in the atmosphere to a level that prevents dangerous anthropogenic inferences for the climate system.” Our vision is based on the principle of historical common but differentiated responsibilities, to demand the developed countries to commit with quantifiable goals of emission reduction that will allow to return the concentrations of greenhouse gases to 300 ppm, therefore the increase in the average world temperature to a maximum of one degree Celsius.
Emphasizing the need for urgent action to achieve this vision, and with the support of peoples, movements and countries, developed countries should commit to ambitious targets for reducing emissions that permit the achievement of short-term objectives, while maintaining our vision in favor of balance in the Earth’s climate system, in agreement with the ultimate objective of the Convention.
The “shared vision for long-term cooperative action” in climate change negotiations should not be reduced to defining the limit on temperature increases and the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, but must also incorporate in a balanced and integral manner measures regarding capacity building, production and consumption patterns, and other essential factors such as the acknowledging of the Rights of Mother Earth to establish harmony with nature.
Developed countries, as the main cause of climate change, in assuming their historical responsibility, must recognize and honor their climate debt in all of its dimensions as the basis for a just, effective, and scientific solution to climate change. In this context, we demand that developed countries:
Restore to developing countries the atmospheric space that is occupied by their greenhouse gas emissions. This implies the decolonization of the atmosphere through the reduction and absorption of their emissions;
Assume the costs and technology transfer needs of developing countries arising from the loss of development opportunities due to living in a restricted atmospheric space;
Assume responsibility for the hundreds of millions of people that will be forced to migrate due to the climate change caused by these countries, and eliminate their restrictive immigration policies, offering migrants a decent life with full human rights guarantees in their countries;
Assume adaptation debt related to the impacts of climate change on developing countries by providing the means to prevent, minimize, and deal with damages arising from their excessive emissions;
Honor these debts as part of a broader debt to Mother Earth by adopting and implementing the United Nations Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth.
The focus must not be only on financial compensation, but also on restorative justice, understood as the restitution of integrity to our Mother Earth and all its beings.
We deplore attempts by countries to annul the Kyoto Protocol, which is the sole legally binding instrument specific to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by developed countries.
We inform the world that, despite their obligation to reduce emissions, developed countries have increased their emissions by 11.2% in the period from 1990 to 2007.
During that same period, due to unbridled consumption, the United States of America has increased its greenhouse gas emissions by 16.8%, reaching an average of 20 to 23 tons of CO2 per-person. This represents 9 times more than that of the average inhabitant of the “Third World,” and 20 times more than that of the average inhabitant of Sub-Saharan Africa.
We categorically reject the illegitimate “Copenhagen Accord” that allows developed countries to offer insufficient reductions in greenhouse gases based in voluntary and individual commitments, violating the environmental integrity of Mother Earth and leading us toward an increase in global temperatures of around 4°C.
The next Conference on Climate Change to be held at the end of 2010 in Mexico should approve an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol for the second commitment period from 2013 to 2017 under which developed countries must agree to significant domestic emissions reductions of at least 50% based on 1990 levels, excluding carbon markets or other offset mechanisms that mask the failure of actual reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
We require first of all the establishment of a goal for the group of developed countries to achieve the assignment of individual commitments for each developed country under the framework of complementary efforts among each one, maintaining in this way Kyoto Protocol as the route to emissions reductions.
The United States, as the only Annex 1 country on Earth that did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol, has a significant responsibility toward all peoples of the world to ratify this document and commit itself to respecting and complying with emissions reduction targets on a scale appropriate to the total size of its economy.
We the peoples have the equal right to be protected from the adverse effects of climate change and reject the notion of adaptation to climate change as understood as a resignation to impacts provoked by the historical emissions of developed countries, which themselves must adapt their modes of life and consumption in the face of this global emergency. We see it as imperative to confront the adverse effects of climate change, and consider adaptation to be a process rather than an imposition, as well as a tool that can serve to help offset those effects, demonstrating that it is possible to achieve harmony with nature under a different model for living.
It is necessary to construct an Adaptation Fund exclusively for addressing climate change as part of a financial mechanism that is managed in a sovereign, transparent, and equitable manner for all States. This Fund should assess the impacts and costs of climate change in developing countries and needs deriving from these impacts, and monitor support on the part of developed countries. It should also include a mechanism for compensation for current and future damages, loss of opportunities due to extreme and gradual climactic events, and additional costs that could present themselves if our planet surpasses ecological thresholds, such as those impacts that present obstacles to “Living Well.”
The “Copenhagen Accord” imposed on developing countries by a few States, beyond simply offering insufficient resources, attempts as well to divide and create confrontation between peoples and to extort developing countries by placing conditions on access to adaptation and mitigation resources. We also assert as unacceptable the attempt in processes of international negotiation to classify developing countries for their vulnerability to climate change, generating disputes, inequalities and segregation among them.
The immense challenge humanity faces of stopping global warming and cooling the planet can only be achieved through a profound shift in agricultural practices toward the sustainable model of production used by indigenous and rural farming peoples, as well as other ancestral models and practices that contribute to solving the problem of agriculture and food sovereignty. This is understood as the right of peoples to control their own seeds, lands, water, and food production, thereby guaranteeing, through forms of production that are in harmony with Mother Earth and appropriate to local cultural contexts, access to sufficient, varied and nutritious foods in complementarity with Mother Earth and deepening the autonomous (participatory, communal and shared) production of every nation and people.
Climate change is now producing profound impacts on agriculture and the ways of life of indigenous peoples and farmers throughout the world, and these impacts will worsen in the future.
Agribusiness, through its social, economic, and cultural model of global capitalist production and its logic of producing food for the market and not to fulfill the right to proper nutrition, is one of the principal causes of climate change. Its technological, commercial, and political approach only serves to deepen the climate change crisis and increase hunger in the world. For this reason, we reject Free Trade Agreements and Association Agreements and all forms of the application of Intellectual Property Rights to life, current technological packages (agrochemicals, genetic modification) and those that offer false solutions (biofuels, geo-engineering, nanotechnology, etc.) that only exacerbate the current crisis.
We similarly denounce the way in which the capitalist model imposes mega-infrastructure projects and invades territories with extractive projects, water privatization, and militarized territories, expelling indigenous peoples from their lands, inhibiting food sovereignty and deepening socio-environmental crisis.
We demand recognition of the right of all peoples, living beings, and Mother Earth to have access to water, and we support the proposal of the Government of Bolivia to recognize water as a Fundamental Human Right.
The definition of forests used in the negotiations of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which includes plantations, is unacceptable. Monoculture plantations are not forests. Therefore, we require a definition for negotiation purposes that recognizes the native forests, jungles and the diverse ecosystems on Earth.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples must be fully recognized, implemented and integrated in climate change negotiations. The best strategy and action to avoid deforestation and degradation and protect native forests and jungles is to recognize and guarantee collective rights to lands and territories, especially considering that most of the forests are located within the territories of indigenous peoples and nations and other traditional communities.
We condemn market mechanisms such as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and its versions + and + +, which are violating the sovereignty of peoples and their right to prior free and informed consent as well as the sovereignty of national States, the customs of Peoples, and the Rights of Nature.
Polluting countries have an obligation to carry out direct transfers of the economic and technological resources needed to pay for the restoration and maintenance of forests in favor of the peoples and indigenous ancestral organic structures. Compensation must be direct and in addition to the sources of funding promised by developed countries outside of the carbon market, and never serve as carbon offsets. We demand that countries stop actions on local forests based on market mechanisms and propose non-existent and conditional results. We call on governments to create a global program to restore native forests and jungles, managed and administered by the peoples, implementing forest seeds, fruit trees, and native flora. Governments should eliminate forest concessions and support the conservation of petroleum deposits in the ground and urgently stop the exploitation of hydrocarbons in forestlands.
We call upon States to recognize, respect and guarantee the effective implementation of international human rights standards and the rights of indigenous peoples, including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples under ILO Convention 169, among other relevant instruments in the negotiations, policies and measures used to meet the challenges posed by climate change. In particular, we call upon States to give legal recognition to claims over territories, lands and natural resources to enable and strengthen our traditional ways of life and contribute effectively to solving climate change.
We demand the full and effective implementation of the right to consultation, participation and prior, free and informed consent of indigenous peoples in all negotiation processes, and in the design and implementation of measures related to climate change.
Environmental degradation and climate change are currently reaching critical levels, and one of the main consequences of this is domestic and international migration. According to projections, there were already about 25 million climate migrants by 1995. Current estimates are around 50 million, and projections suggest that between 200 million and 1 billion people will become displaced by situations resulting from climate change by the year 2050.
Developed countries should assume responsibility for climate migrants, welcoming them into their territories and recognizing their fundamental rights through the signing of international conventions that provide for the definition of climate migrant and require all States to abide by abide by determinations.
Establish an International Tribunal of Conscience to denounce, make visible, document, judge and punish violations of the rights of migrants, refugees and displaced persons within countries of origin, transit and destination, clearly identifying the responsibilities of States, companies and other agents.
Current funding directed toward developing countries for climate change and the proposal of the Copenhagen Accord are insignificant. In addition to Official Development Assistance and public sources, developed countries must commit to a new annual funding of at least 6% of GDP to tackle climate change in developing countries. This is viable considering that a similar amount is spent on national defense, and that 5 times more have been put forth to rescue failing banks and speculators, which raises serious questions about global priorities and political will. This funding should be direct and free of conditions, and should not interfere with the national sovereignty or self-determination of the most affected communities and groups.
In view of the inefficiency of the current mechanism, a new funding mechanism should be established at the 2010 Climate Change Conference in Mexico, functioning under the authority of the Conference of the Parties (COP) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and held accountable to it, with significant representation of developing countries, to ensure compliance with the funding commitments of Annex 1 countries.
It has been stated that developed countries significantly increased their emissions in the period from 1990 to 2007, despite having stated that the reduction would be substantially supported by market mechanisms.
The carbon market has become a lucrative business, commodifying our Mother Earth. It is therefore not an alternative for tackle climate change, as it loots and ravages the land, water, and even life itself.
The recent financial crisis has demonstrated that the market is incapable of regulating the financial system, which is fragile and uncertain due to speculation and the emergence of intermediary brokers. Therefore, it would be totally irresponsible to leave in their hands the care and protection of human existence and of our Mother Earth.
We consider inadmissible that current negotiations propose the creation of new mechanisms that extend and promote the carbon market, for existing mechanisms have not resolved the problem of climate change nor led to real and direct actions to reduce greenhouse gases. It is necessary to demand fulfillment of the commitments assumed by developed countries under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change regarding development and technology transfer, and to reject the “technology showcase” proposed by developed countries that only markets technology. It is essential to establish guidelines in order to create a multilateral and multidisciplinary mechanism for participatory control, management, and evaluation of the exchange of technologies. These technologies must be useful, clean and socially sound. Likewise, it is fundamental to establish a fund for the financing and inventory of technologies that are appropriate and free of intellectual property rights. Patents, in particular, should move from the hands of private monopolies to the public domain in order to promote accessibility and low costs.
Knowledge is universal, and should for no reason be the object of private property or private use, nor should its application in the form of technology. Developed countries have a responsibility to share their technology with developing countries, to build research centers in developing countries for the creation of technologies and innovations, and defend and promote their development and application for “living well.” The world must recover and re-learn ancestral principles and approaches from native peoples to stop the destruction of the planet, as well as promote ancestral practices, knowledge and spirituality to recuperate the capacity for “living well” in harmony with Mother Earth.
Considering the lack of political will on the part of developed countries to effectively comply with commitments and obligations assumed under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, and given the lack of a legal international organism to guard against and sanction climate and environmental crimes that violate the Rights of Mother Earth and humanity, we demand the creation of an International Climate and Environmental Justice Tribunal that has the legal capacity to prevent, judge and penalize States, industries and people that by commission or omission contaminate and provoke climate change.
Supporting States that present claims at the International Climate and Environmental Justice Tribunal against developed countries that fail to comply with commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol including commitments to reduce greenhouse gases.
We urge peoples to propose and promote deep reform within the United Nations, so that all member States comply with the decisions of the International Climate and Environmental Justice Tribunal.
The future of humanity is in danger, and we cannot allow a group of leaders from developed countries to decide for all countries as they tried unsuccessfully to do at the Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen. This decision concerns us all. Thus, it is essential to carry out a global referendum or popular consultation on climate change in which all are consulted regarding the following issues; the level of emission reductions on the part of developed countries and transnational corporations, financing to be offered by developed countries, the creation of an International Climate Justice Tribunal, the need for a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, and the need to change the current capitalist system. The process of a global referendum or popular consultation will depend on process of preparation that ensures the successful development of the same.
In order to coordinate our international action and implement the results of this “Accord of the Peoples,” we call for the building of a Global People’s Movement for Mother Earth, which should be based on the principles of complementarity and respect for the diversity of origin and visions among its members, constituting a broad and democratic space for coordination and joint worldwide actions.
To this end, we adopt the attached global plan of action so that in Mexico, the developed countries listed in Annex 1 respect the existing legal framework and reduce their greenhouse gases emissions by 50%, and that the different proposals contained in this Agreement are adopted.
Finally, we agree to undertake a Second World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in 2011 as part of this process of building the Global People’s Movement for Mother Earth and reacting to the outcomes of the Climate Change Conference to be held at the end of this year in Cancún, Mexico
[i]. Durban Meeting Signatories: Carbon Trade Watch; Indigenous Environmental Network; Climate & Development Initiatives, Uganda; Coecoceiba-Amigos de la Tierra, Costa Rica; CORE Centre for Organisation Research & Education, Manipur, India; Delhi Forum, India; Earthlife Africa (ELA) eThekwini Branch, South Africa; FERN, EU; FASE-ES/Green Desert Network Brazil; Global Justice Ecology Project, USA; groundwork, South Africa; 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; South Durban Community Alliance (SDCEA), South Africa; Sustainable Energy & Economy Network, USA; The Corner House, UK; Timberwatch Coalition, South Africa; World Rainforest Movement, Uruguay.
Supporting organisational signatories: 50 Years Is Enough: U.S. Network for Global Economic Justice, USA; Aficafiles, Canada; Africa Groups of Sweden, Sweden; Alianza Verde, Honduras; Ambiente y Sociedad, Argentina; Angikar Bangladesh Foundation, Bangladesh; Anisa Colombia, Colombia; Asociacion Alternativa Ambiental, Spain; Asociacion Amigos Reserva Yaguaroundi, Argentina; Asociacion de Guardaparques Argentinos, Argentina; Asociación Ecologista Piuke, Argentina; Asociacion para la Defensa del Medio Ambiente del Noreste Santafesino, Argentina; Asociación San Francisco de Asís, Argentina; Association France Amerique Latine, France; Associacion Lihue San Carlos de Barloche / Rio Negro, Argentina; Association pour un contrat mondial de l’eau, Comité de Seine Saint Denis, France; Associação Caeté – Cultura e Natureza, Brasil; Athlone Park Residents Association, South Africa; Austerville Clinic Committee, South Africa; Australian Greens, Australia; Aukland Rising Tide, New Zealand; BanglaPraxis, Bangladesh; Benjamin E. Mays Center, USA; Bluff Ridge Conservancy (BRC), South Africa; BOA, Venezuela; Boulder Environmental Activists Resource, Rocky Mountain; Peace and Justice Center, USA; The Bread of Life Development Foundation, Nigeria; CENSAT-Friends of the Earth Colombia, Colombia; Center for Economic Justice, USA; Centre for Environmental Justice, Sri Lanka; Center for Environmental Law and Community Rights Inc./; Friends of the Earth (PNG), Papua New Guinea; Center for Urban Transformation, USA; Centro de Derecho Ambientaly Promoción para el Desarrollo (CEDAPRODE), Nicaragua; Centro de Investigacion Cientifica de Yucatan A.C., Mexico; Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, USA; Christ the King Church Group, South Africa; Clairwood Ratepayers Association (CRA), South Africa; Cold Mountain, Cold Rivers, USA; Colectivo de Proyectos Alternativos de México (COPAL), Mexico; Colectivo MadreSelva, Guatemala; Comité de Análisis ‘Ana Silvia Olán’ de Sonsonate – CANASO, El Salvador; Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, USA; Community Health Cell, Bangalore, India; Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), Netherlands; C.P.E.M. Nº29-Ciencias Ambientales, Argentina; Del Consejo de Organisaciones de Médicos y Parteras Indígenas Tradicionales de Chiapas, Mexico; Enda América Latina, Colombia; ECOGRAIN, Spain; Ecoisla, Puerto Rica; EarthLink e.V.-The People & Nature Network, Germany; Ecological Society of the Philippines, Philippines; Ecologistas en Acción, Spain; Ecoportal.net, Argentina; ECOTERRA International; El Centro de Ecología y Excursionismo de la Universidad de Carabobo, Venezuela; Els Verds – Alternativa Verda, Spain; Environment Desk of Images Asia, Thailand; FASE Gurupá, Brasil; Forest Peoples Programme, UK; Foundation for Grassroots Initiatives in Africa, Ghana; Friends of the Earth International; Friends of the Earth Australia, Australia; Friends of the Siberian Forests, Russia; FSC-Brasil, Brasil; Fundación Argentina de Etoecología (FAE), Argentina; Fundación Los de Tilquiza, proyecto AGUAVERDE, Argentina; Groupe d’Etudes et de Recherche sure les Energies Renouvelables et l’Environnement (GERERE), Morocco; Gruppo di Volontariato Civile (GVC-Italia), oficina de Nicaragua, Nicaragua; House of Worship, South Africa; Indigenous Peoples’ Biodiversity Network, Peru; InfoNature, Portugal; Infringement Festival, Canada; Iniciativa ArcoIris de Ecologia y Sociedad, Argentina; Iniciativa Radial, Argentina; Institute for Social Ecology Biotechnology Project, USA; Instituto Ecoar para Cidadania, Brasil; Instituto Igaré, Brasil; International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Belgium; International Indian Treaty Council; Isipingo Environmental Committee (IEC), South Africa; Isipingo Ratepayers Association, South Africa; Jeunesse Horizon, Camerun; JKPP /Indonesian Community Mapping Network, Indonesia; Joint Action Committee of Isipingo (JACI), South Africa; KVW Translations, Spain; LOKOJ, Bangladesh; London Rising Tide, UK; Malvarrosamedia, Spain; Mangrove Action Project (MAP), USA; Mano Verde, Colombia; Mercy International Justice Network, Kenya; Merebank Clinic Committee (MCC), South Africa; Movimiento por la Paz y el Ambiente, Argentina; Movimento por los Derechos y la Consulta Ciudadana, Chile; Nicaragua Center for Community Action, USA; Nicaragua Network (US), USA; Nicaragua-US Friendship Office, USA; NOAH-Friends of the Earth Denmark, Denmark; Núcleo Amigos da Terra, Brasil; Ogoni Rescue Patriotic Fund, Nigeria; Oilwatch International, Ecuador; Oilwatch Africa, Nigeria; Organisacion Fraternal Negra Honduirena, Honduras; Parque Provincial Ernesto Tornquist, Argentina; Pacific Indigenous Peoples Environment Coalition (PIPEC),Aotearoa/New Zealand; Pesticides Action Network Latin America, Uruguay; Piedad Espinoza Trópico Verde, Guatemala; PovoAção, Brasil; Prideaux Consulting, USA; Projeto tudo Sobre Plantas – Jornal SOS Verde, Brasil; Public Citizen, USA; Rainforest Action Network, USA; Rainy River First Nations, Canada; Reclaim the Commons, USA; Red de Agricultura Orgánica de Misiones, Argentina; REDES-Amigos de la Tierra, Uruguay; Red Verde, Spain; Rettet den Regenwald, Germany; Rising Tide, UK; Sahabat Alam Malaysia /FOE-Malaysia, Malaysia; San Francisco Bay Area Jubilee Debt Cancellation Coalition, USA; Scottish Education and Action for Development, UK; S.G.Fiber, Pakistan; Silverglen Civic Association (SCA), South Africa; Sisters of the Holy Cross – Congregation Justice Committee, USA; Sobrevivencia, Friends of the Earth Paraguay, Paraguay; Sociedad Civil, Mexico; SOLJUSPAX, Philippines; Tebtebba Foundation, Philippines; The Sawmill River Watershed Alliance, USA; TRAPESE – Take Radical Action Through Popular Education and Sustainable Everything, UK / Spain; Treasure Beach Environmental Forum (TBEF), South Africa; Uganda Coalition for Sustainable Development, Uganda; Ujamaa Community Resource Trust (UCRT), Tanzania; UNICA, Nicaragua; Union Chrétienne pour l’Education et Développement des Déshérités (UCEDD), Burundi; Union Mexicana de Emprendedores Inios, A. C., Mexico; VALL DE CAN MASDEU, Spain; Wentworth Development Forum (WDF), South Africa; Western Nebraska Resources Council, USA; World Bank Boycott/Center for Economic Justice, USA; worldforests, UK; World Peace Prayer Society, USA.
[ii]. Carbon Trade Watch, Transnational Institute; Center for Environmental Concerns; Focus on the Global South; Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines; Friends of the Earth International; Gendercc – Women for Climate Justice, Global Forest Coalition; Global Justice Ecology Project; International Forum on Globalization; Kalikasan-Peoples Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE); La Vía Campesina; members of the Durban Group for Climate Justice; Oilwatch; Pacific Indigenous Peoples Environment Coalition, Aotearoa/New Zealand; Sustainable Energy and Economy Network; The Indigenous Environmental Network; Third World Network; WALHI/ Friends of the Earth Indonesia; World Rainforest Movement.