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Climate Summit Day 10: Assembly of the Oppressed Declaration and analysis

December 7, 2011

There is a great deal of activity and resistance happening at the United Nations Climate Summit in Durban, South Africa.

A few days ago roughly 1,500 farmers and farmworkers marched in the streets of Durban to draw attention to how small farmers practice agriculture that actually cools the planet, while agribusiness is one of the major contributors to global warming.

Via Campensina was the main organizer of this event, which included the release of a major declaration from the Assembly of the Oppressed. The declaration reads in part as:

For all countries to stop trying to save capitalism and making the people, including small farmers, pay for their economic and financial crisis. We as La Via Campesina, demand the implementation of the people’s global agreement on climate agreed on in Cochabamba. And here in Durban and in a thousand Durbans, we strongly reiterate our solutions to the climate crisis.

– Further global warming must be limited to a rise of 1 degree Celsius only.

– Developed countries must make domestic emission reductions of at least 50% based on 1990 levels, without conditions and excluding carbon markets or other offset mechanisms.

– Developed countries must commit to payment of their climate debt and give funding from at least 6% of their GDP. All funds for this climate finance must be public and be free from the control of the World Bank and private corporations.

– All market mechanisms must be stopped, including REDD, REDD++ and the proposed carbon markets for agriculture.

We reiterate that there will be no solution to climate change and the predatory neo-liberal system that causes it, without the liberation of women, and rural women in particular, from age old patriarchy and sexist discrimination.

We also came across a good analysis article by long time activist and writer Patrick Bond. Bond fully expects that whatever agreement is reached by the international community, it will be imposed on them by the US and its international partners. Bond states:

The biggest problem is obvious: COP17 saboteurs from the US State Department joined by Canada, Russia and Japan, want to bury the legally-binding Kyoto Protocol treaty. Instead of relaxing intellectual property rules on climate technology and providing a fair flow of finance, Washington offers only a non-binding ‘pledge and review’ system. 

This is unenforceable and at current pledge rates – with Washington lagging everyone – is certain to raise world temperatures to four degrees centigrade, and in Africa much higher. Estimates of the resulting deaths of Africans this century are now in excess of 150 million. As former Bolivian Ambassador to the UN, Pablo Solon said at last week’s Wolpe Memorial Lecture, “The COP17 will be remembered as a place of premeditated genocide and ecocide.”

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