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Am I mad for bringing my baby here I ask? When I booked the tickets It felt too important not to come – I wanted to be able to say to Neru in years to come ‘we were there’, – now I don’t know! I’ll tell you on the 18 December whether it was the right decision or not.
For now I am caught up in the wet, fascinating, confusing and frenzied excitement that is Carbon-hagen. I am here to promote CAT’s groundbreaking project Zero Carbon Britain report. Which shows how we can rapidly decarbonise society to zero carbon by 2030 without nuclear energy! We are presenting the report on 10 and 15 December at the Klimaforum09. I am also here to give workshops with Trapese on popular education and its role in inspiring social change, and to take part in the myriad of events that are taking place due to COP15.
Carbonhagen has the potential to do something different and while it is highly unlikely that any climate deal will come out of it (and that’s probably a good thing), the new voices that the AOSIS (Alliance of Small Island States), Africa group and the ALBA group could make for a very interesting conference …
As COP15 opened, the AOSIS gave an amazing statement – ‘we are here to negotiate our survival and we are not going to compromise on that- because we can’t.’ AOSIS have already threatened to walk out if the climate deal does result in a far-reaching deal, which does not return atmospheric concentrations to below 350 CO2e. During pre-talks held in Barcelona in October, the Africa group walked out and called for negotiations to be suspended until there was substantial advancement on Annex 1 (rich countries) agreeing to a binding national emissions reduction targets.
The G77/China climate group of 130 countries, whose main position is that rich countries should accept their historical responsibility for climate change, gave considerable support for the Africa group. According to some sources, a lot of diplomatic pressure was put on African leaders to back down from their position. Unfortunately reflecting the nature of such conferences with rich countries using back door methods and every available channel to deliver outcomes in line with their interests. Sources expect that this type of behind the scenes lobbying will have a huge impact in Carbonhagen and weaken Africa group resolve. That does not mean that Africa won’t walk out again!
‘We are prepared to walk out of any negotiations that threaten to be another rape of the continent,’ said Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia.
The ALBA group is a coalition of Latin American and Caribbean countries,
representing 73 million people, have joined forces to call for climate justice and the defence of the rights of the Earth; calling on developed countries to recognise the ‘climate debt’ caused by their historical carbon emissions. Evo Morales, who has just been reelected as the Bolivian president is no stranger to upsetting international meetings of this kind and won’t think twice about walking out.
Cuba’s Fidel Castro also spelt out clearly that Copenhagen will not be just green wash and business as usual, ‘The capitalist system is not only oppressing and plundering our countries; the wealthiest industrial nations wish to impose to the rest of the world the bulk of the burden in the struggle on climate change. Who are they trying to fool with that? In Copenhagen, ALBA and the Third World countries will be struggling for the survival of the species.’
There is huge pressure on the COP to deliver solutions and so far the possible outcomes look something like this:
But it’s looking like no deal would be the best deal in Copenhagen. As Jim Hansen, the world’s pre-eminent climate scientist, said any agreement likely to emerge from the negotiations would be so deeply flawed that it would be better to start again from scratch. ‘I would rather it not happen if people accept that as being the right track because it’s a disaster track,’ said Hansen, who heads the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.
With the activists gearing up outside and developing countries in no mood for compromise – climate justice is definitely on the agenda this time round.
The Spanish state is seizing ballot papers and raiding meetings, write Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte – but it is being met with united resistance
The crunch executive meeting ahead of Labour conference agreed some welcome changes, writes Michael Calderbank, but there is still much further to go
Dipesh Pandya speaks to documentary film-maker Sanjay Kak, who for 30 years has been working outside the mainstream to tell a story rooted in the struggles of those excluded by India’s militarism and its narrative of neoliberal growth
Jeremy Gilbert on how radical Labour politics can be inspired by the utopianism of the counterculture
Disasters have unequal impacts – it's the poor and marginalised who suffer most. David Harvey writes on Hurricane Harvey
Survivors of the fire are still relying on thousands of community volunteers, writes Dan Renwick - but the failed council is plotting a comeback
What if it's not us who are sick, asks Rod Tweedy, but a system at odds with who we are as social beings?
The people could reach a democratic and non-violent solution if they were freed from US meddling, argues Boaventura de Sousa Santos
A decade after the start of the crash, economic power is in our hands – we must take it, writes Ann Pettifor
Flooding the cradle of civilisation: A 12,000 year old town in Kurdistan battles for survival
It’s one of the oldest continually inhabited places on earth, but a new dam has put Hasankeyf under threat, write Eliza Egret and Tom Anderson
New model activism: Putting Labour in office and the people in power
Hilary Wainwright examines how the ‘new politics’ needs to be about both winning electoral power and building transformative power
What is ‘free movement plus’?
A new report proposes an approach that can push back against the tide of anti-immigrant sentiment. Luke Cooper explains
The World Transformed: Red Pepper’s pick of the festival
Red Pepper is proud to be part of organising The World Transformed, in Brighton from 23-26 September. Here are our highlights from the programme
Working class theatre: Save Our Steel takes the stage
A new play inspired by Port Talbot’s ‘Save Our Steel’ campaign asks questions about the working class leaders of today. Adam Johannes talks to co-director Rhiannon White about the project, the people and the politics behind it
The dawn of commons politics
As supporters of the new 'commons politics' win office in a variety of European cities, Stacco Troncoso and Ann Marie Utratel chart where this movement came from – and where it may be going
A very social economist
Hilary Wainwright says the ideas of Robin Murray, who died in June, offer a practical alternative to neoliberalism
Art the Arms Fair: making art not war
Amy Corcoran on organising artistic resistance to the weapons dealers’ London showcase
Beware the automated landlord
Tenants of the automated landlord are effectively paying two rents: one in money, the other in information for data harvesting, writes Desiree Fields
Black Journalism Fund – Open Editorial Meeting
3-5pm Saturday 23rd September at The World Transformed in Brighton
Immigration detention: How the government is breaking its own rules
Detention is being used to punish ex-prisoners all over again, writes Annahita Moradi
A better way to regenerate a community
Gilbert Jassey describes a pioneering project that is bringing migrants and local people together to repopulate a village in rural Spain
Fast food workers stand up for themselves and #McStrike – we’re loving it!
McDonald's workers are striking for the first time ever in Britain, reports Michael Calderbank
Two years of broken promises: how the UK has failed refugees
Stefan Schmid investigates the ways Syrian refugees have been treated since the media spotlight faded
West Papua’s silent genocide
The brutal occupation of West Papua is under-reported - but UK and US corporations are profiting from the violence, write Eliza Egret and Tom Anderson
Activate, the new ‘Tory Momentum’, is 100% astroturf
The Conservatives’ effort at a grassroots youth movement is embarrassingly inept, writes Samantha Stevens
Peer-to-peer production and the partner state
Michel Bauwens and Vasilis Kostakis argue that we need to move to a commons-centric society – with a state fit for the digital age
Imagining a future free of oppression
Writer, artist and organiser Ama Josephine Budge says holding on to our imagination of tomorrow helps create a different understanding today
The ‘alt-right’ is an unstable coalition – with one thing holding it together
Mike Isaacson argues that efforts to define the alt-right are in danger of missing its central component: eugenics
Fighting for Peace: the battles that inspired generations of anti-war campaigners
Now the threat of nuclear war looms nearer again, we share the experience of eighty-year-old activist Ernest Rodker, whose work is displayed at The Imperial War Museum. With Jane Shallice and Jenny Nelson he discussed a recent history of the anti-war movement.
Put public purpose at the heart of government
Victoria Chick stresses the need to restore the public good to economic decision-making
Don’t let the world’s biggest arms fair turn 20
Eliza Egret talks to activists involved in almost two decades of protest against London’s DSEI arms show
The new municipalism is part of a proud radical history
Molly Conisbee reflects on the history of citizens taking collective control of local services
With the rise of Corbyn, is there still a place for the Green Party?
Former Green principal speaker Derek Wall says the party may struggle in the battle for votes, but can still be important in the battle of ideas
Fearless Cities: the new urban movements
A wave of new municipalist movements has been experimenting with how to take – and transform – power in cities large and small. Bertie Russell and Oscar Reyes report on the growing success of radical urban politics around the world
A musical fightback against school arts cuts
Elliot Clay on why his new musical turns the spotlight on the damage austerity has done to arts education, through the story of one school band's battle
Neoliberalism: the break-up tour
Sarah Woods and Andrew Simms ask why, given the trail of destruction it has left, we are still dancing to the neoliberal tune
Cat Smith MP: ‘Jeremy Corbyn has authenticity. You can’t fake that’
Cat Smith, shadow minister for voter engagement and youth affairs and one of the original parliamentary backers of Corbyn’s leadership, speaks to Ashish Ghadiali
To stop the BBC interviewing climate deniers, we need to make climate change less boring
To stop cranks like Lord Lawson getting airtime, we need to provoke more interesting debates around climate change than whether it's real or not, writes Leo Barasi
Tory Glastonbury? Money can’t buy you cultural relevance
Adam Peggs on why the left has more fun