Countdown to Copenhagen

The first international planning meeting was held last September for a large climate mobilisation for direct action against root causes of climate change at the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark in December 2009.

Towards climate action in Copenhagen

We stand at a crossroads in history. The facts are undeniable. Global climate change, caused by human activities, is happening. We all know that, world over, we’re facing a manifold and deepening crisis: of the climate, energy, food, livelihoods, and of political and human rights. Scientific, environmental, social and civil society movements from all over the world are calling for action against climate change.

Massive consumption of fossil fuel is one of the major causes of global warming, a problem that threatens the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world. Instead of leading the way, governments are prioritising economic growth and corporate interests while ignoring the speeding train of climate change hurtling towards the abyss. The corporate exploitation of the planet’s resources cannot be allowed to continue any longer. We have precious little time to react to this threat. We need action NOW to stop climate change, and if the so-called ‘leaders’ won’t lead the way, we must.

On the 30th November 2009, world leaders will come to Copenhagen for the UN Climate Conference (COP15). This will be the most important summit on climate change ever to have taken place, and it will determine how the countries of the world are going to respond to the climate threat. The decisions taken there will define the future for all the people of the world. The previous meetings give no indication that this meeting will produce anything more than empty rhetoric and a green washed blueprint for business-as-usual.

There is an alternative to the current course and it’s not some far-off dream. If we put reason before profit, we can live amazing lives without destroying our planet. But this will not happen by itself. We have to take direct action, both against the root causes of climate change and to help create a new, just and joyous world in the shell of the old. And so, we call on all responsible people of the planet to take direct action against the root causes of climate change during the COP15 summit in Copenhagen 2009.

The exact plans for our mobilisation are not yet finalised. We have time to collectively decide what our best course of action may be. We encourage everyone to start mobilising in your own countries. It is time to take the power back from the leaders not responsible enough to hold it. The power is in our hands!

In solidarity, Climate Network 09
The Copenhagen Activist Network for International Mobilization towards the COP15 Climate Summit 2009.

Proposals for political perspective for Copenhagen:

1) Attempt to close down summit, not lobby it.
2) Attempt to delegitimise Kyoto process rather than appeal to reform or improve it just so that it can continue in a new form.
3) Best solution to climate change is rapid transition to 100% renewable energy
4) Access to energy is a human right, not a privilege. As such it should be free or low cost.
5) Energy resources, infrastructures and technologies should be based on common/public ownership as a not-for-profit sector that is outside of the world market, regardless of which energy sources.
6) A rapid transition away from fossil fuels (and nuclear) will require common ownership of fossil fuels and nuclear energy themselves, and associated infrastructures and technologies. (Note: I am currently writing an article on this theme).
7) Workers within the fossil fuel and nuclear energy sectors can play an important part in assuring a “just transition” away from these energy sources.
8) Capital has to pay the cost of rising petrol prices, not ordinary people.
9) “Peak Oil” will not be allowed to become an excuse for imposed austerity in the face of high profits from oil (and other energy) multinationals.
10) Similarly, climate change must not become a justification for coercive policies that limit freedom of movement and association.
11) Support for the initiative to create an International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), ( 😉 and view it as the most progressive item on the “established” international agenda, but are also highly skeptical of its potential, since it is being established within the framework of the world market and capitalist relations.
12) A long term solution to the current energy and climate crisis is not possible within the framework of capitalist social relations.

Goals of mobilisation process:

1) Block the summit from happening.

2) Decentralised actions world wide during the event.

3) Generate world-wide debate and autonomous alliances based around the above political perspectives, especially amongst the following social sectors:
• The close to 2 billion people, mainly in rural areas, who lack access to electricity and other “modern” energy sources in their daily lives. This especially includes peasant and indigenous communities and their organisations, especially those involved in the Via Campesina network. This is important for a number of reasons: a solution to the energy crisis should seek to solve huge inequalities of access and this will only happen if these communities are able to appropriate the relevant technologies, trainings and capital to make this possible; these communities bear the brunt of the push for agro-fuels for the world market; the majority of renewable energy resources exist in rural areas, and this opens up possibilities for both autonomous non-commercial social relations, but also very ugly new forms of control over their territories (as is happening with agrofuels in particular,but also wind energy and others).

• The more than 20 million (waged) workers world-wide within the conventional energy sector, some of who are in labour unions with “just transition” policies, including the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions (ICEM), which represents 379 industrial trade unions in 123 countries. This is also important for a number of reasons: their experience and knowledge; fossil fuels will only be able to come under common/public ownership if the workers in these sectors are playing an important role; and, unless they are actively involved in a transition to renewable energy they are in great danger of losing their livelihoods.

• The renewable energy sector itself. Discussion aimed at differentiation between those who want renewable energy to be a market driven source of profit and capitalist accumulation and those who want it to be a non-profit common good for social needs. Forcing the sector to take a political stand and escape from the “technology” discourse that technology will solve what are fundamentally social, political and economic problems

Those who are for the market are likely to be increasingly part of the problem. Those who are against it, it will be increasingly necessary for movements to benefit from their skills, technologies and infrastructures….