Get Red Pepper's email newsletter. Enter your email address to receive our latest articles, updates and news.

×

Wonderful Wonderful Carbon Haven!

With the activists gearing up outside and developing countries in no mood for compromise - climate justice is definitely on the agenda this time round, reports Kim Bryan in Copenhagen

December 7, 2009
5 min read


Kim Bryan works for the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth, Wales.


  share     tweet  

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:

  • No agreement/ collapse
  • Greenwash ‘a decision to make a decision’
  • Political implementing agreement- that is not legally binding
  • A single new legally binding agreement ‘Copenhagen Protocol’
  • Breakthrough two protocols – one that improves on what has already been agreed and the other that is legally binding and takes us forward to a brighter future (most developing nations want this option)

    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.

    Kim Bryan is mother to Neru (7 months), activist, media officer at the Centre for Alternative Technology and works with the Trapese popular education collective.

  • Red Pepper is an independent, non-profit magazine that puts left politics and culture at the heart of its stories. We think publications should embrace the values of a movement that is unafraid to take a stand, radical yet not dogmatic, and focus on amplifying the voices of the people and activists that make up our movement. If you think so too, please support Red Pepper in continuing our work by becoming a subscriber today.
    Why not try our new pay as you feel subscription? You decide how much to pay.

    Kim Bryan works for the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth, Wales.


    Labour Party laws are being used to quash dissent
    Richard Kuper writes that Labour's authorities are more concerned with suppressing pro-Palestine activism than with actually tackling antisemitism

    Catalan independence is not just ‘nationalism’ – it’s a rebellion against nationalism
    Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte argue that Catalonia's independence movement is driven by solidarity – and resistance to far-right Spanish nationalists

    Tabloids do not represent the working class
    The tabloid press claims to be an authentic voice of the working class - but it's run by and for the elites, writes Matt Thompson

    As London City Airport turns 30, let’s imagine a world without it
    London City Airport has faced resistance for its entire lifetime, writes Ali Tamlit – and some day soon we will win

    The first world war sowed the seeds of the Russian revolution
    An excerpt from 'October', China Mieville's book revisiting the story of the Russian Revolution

    Academies run ‘on the basis of fear’
    Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) was described in a damning report as an organisation run 'on the basis of fear'. Jon Trickett MP examines an education system in crisis.

    ‘There is no turning back to a time when there wasn’t migration to Britain’
    David Renton reviews the Migration Museum's latest exhibition

    #MeToo is necessary – but I’m sick of having to prove my humanity
    Women are expected to reveal personal trauma to be taken seriously, writes Eleanor Penny

    Meet the digital feminists
    We're building new online tools to create a new feminist community and tackle sexism wherever we find it, writes Franziska Grobke

    The Marikana women’s fight for justice, five years on
    Marienna Pope-Weidemann meets Sikhala Sonke, a grassroots social justice group led by the women of Marikana

    Forget ‘Columbus Day’ – this is the Day of Indigenous Resistance
    By Leyli Horna, Marcela Terán and Sebastián Ordonez for Wretched of the Earth

    Uber and the corporate capture of e-petitions
    Steve Andrews looks at a profit-making petition platform's questionable relationship with the cab company

    You might be a centrist if…
    What does 'centrist' mean? Tom Walker identifies the key markers to help you spot centrism in the wild

    Black Journalism Fund Open Editorial Meeting in Leeds
    Friday 13th October, 5pm to 7pm, meeting inside the Laidlaw Library, Leeds University

    This leadership contest can transform Scottish Labour
    Martyn Cook argues that with a new left-wing leader the Scottish Labour Party can make a comeback

    Review: No Is Not Enough
    Samir Dathi reviews No Is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock Politics, by Naomi Klein

    Building Corbyn’s Labour from the ground up: How ‘the left’ won in Hackney South
    Heather Mendick has gone from phone-banker at Corbyn for Leader to Hackney Momentum organiser to secretary of her local party. Here, she shares her top tips on transforming Labour from the bottom up

    Five things to know about the independence movement in Catalonia
    James O'Nions looks at the underlying dynamics of the Catalan independence movement

    ‘This building will be a library!’ From referendum to general strike in Catalonia
    Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte report from the Catalan general strike, as the movements prepare to build a new republic

    Chlorine chickens are just the start: Liam Fox’s Brexit trade free-for-all
    A hard-right free marketer is now in charge of our trade policy. We urgently need to develop an alternative vision, writes Nick Dearden

    There is no ‘cult of Corbyn’ – this is a movement preparing for power
    The pundits still don’t understand that Labour’s new energy is about ‘we’ not ‘me’, writes Hilary Wainwright

    Debt relief for the hurricane-hit islands is the least we should do
    As the devastation from recent hurricanes in the Caribbean becomes clearer, the calls for debt relief for affected countries grow stronger, writes Tim Jones

    ‘Your credit score is not sufficient to enter this location’: the risks of the ‘smart city’
    Jathan Sadowski explains techno-political trends of exclusion and enforcement in our cities, and how to overcome this new type of digital oppression

    Why I’m standing with pregnant women and resisting NHS passport checks
    Dr Joanna Dobbin says the government is making migrant women afraid to seek healthcare, increasing their chances of complications or even death

    ‘Committees in Defence of the Referendum’: update from Catalonia
    Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte on developments as the Catalan people resist the Spanish state's crackdown on their independence referendum