Posts Tagged 'carbon market'

Reclaim The Power March in Copenhagen 16/12

more photos below

“And the riot squad they’re restless
They need somewhere to go”

– Bob Dylan in Desolation Row

A coalition of activists from around the world, absolutely fed up with the long drawn ‘negotiation’ on climate change for ages, decided to present their version. These activists are predominantly young, who have no faith or trust left with the elderly and ‘practical’ not so old politicians of the world, do not actually think that COP15 has anything to do with solving climate crisis. They see a sinister design of capitalism trying to reclaim the last of the commons left in the planet.

They categorically wanted to have a peaceful march, as they were worried about the safety and legality of comrades joining from the global South. They wanted to enter Bella Centre, a fortress by now as the global leaders start arriving to decide/sign a phoney deal, and hold a peoples’ negotiation inside. They had also worked out with several negotiators and delegates from the global South, who were to come out of Bella Centre and join the peaceful protest to lend their support.

The assembled group at Tarnby station managed to walk to the north east corner of Bella Centre, where they were greeted with stun-guns, pepper spray, tear gas, and an overwhelming number of police in riot suits. The group that assembled at a station next to Bella Centre tried their best to break the police cordon and most of them got arrested, handcuffed, and made to sit on a damp open field. When a TV journalist asked an activist why they were arrested, she screamed that she did not know, as she was only trying to go to a ‘shopping mall’. These activists have been consistently demanding that carbon trade be ended, and see Bella Centre as a new business centre.

It was surprising to see how much determined a north European government can be to handle a peaceful march of young activists, asking for a real climate deal. The police made no effort to be look civilised, even in the presence of a large band of international press. The marchers who tried to reach Bella Centre by scaling police’s riot vans, were beaten up, and arrested. A lot of bleeding activists were seen all around being attended by medicos, also part of the march. An overwhelming number of activists were seen stunned by pepper spray and attended by medicos with eyedrops and water.

At this hour, there is a stalemate. The activists are holding on to the road adjacent to Bella Centre, completely outnumbered by riot squads. Police with dogs are seen on the fields to handle any activists trying to reach Bella Centre through the fields. A helicopter keeps on hovering on top of them. Normally, climate change activists are taken as harmless lots. But for a change, in this rally, there was no one dressed up as penguin or polar bear. On the other hand, they talked about a change in the system, and called for an end to profit. The paranoid response of the state is pretty understandable.

And the delegates who wanted to come out and join the protesters were simply told to stay away, as the assembly was already notified as an illegal one and could face arrest. Some of the activists dressed as clowns were playing games with the cops, and chanting was heard: ‘you are sexy, you are cute, get out of your riot suit’!

with a cardboard wire cutter, a joke.

arrested activists

activists create barricade with their bicycles

first activist who went up the police van

stunned by pepper spray

police armoured cars break activists' barricade

tear gas

dogs and their cops guard Bella Centre

"you're sexy, you're cute / get out of your riot suit"

an activist lost his/her bread

confiscated truck of the activists

activists, still holding on, surrounded by riot squad. Bella Centre is on the left

take home message




cartoon by Rustam Vania

What Went Wrong

James Watt remains an under-celebrated revolutionary. He made zillions of wheels revolve by the same steam that was otherwise restricted to Turkish baths and making delicious dumplings.

The way climate change is negotiated, it seems that there is a complete amnesia over our history. Emission of greenhouse gases (GHG, from now on) is a function of political economy. Hence, climate change has to be seen in that matrix, and it cannot be wished away.

In the early days the 90s, the original climate culprits, who have been spewing stuff in the atmosphere since last 150 years, tried to divert world’s attention towards countries like India and China for the climate crime, pointing out the large emission these countries were responsible for. It was a smart try.

While the fortunate students in the South are fed a lot of western philosophy around ethics, Northern contemporary thinkers forgot everything about it while measuring climate crime. They conveniently picked up large countries with large population in the South to identify the criminals. It took some time for the fact that each individual in the globe has equal entitlement of our atmosphere to sink in. While calculating per capita share of climate crime, it turned out that each resident of industrialized world spew 10 times more than that of the developing world. The idea is well argued in a 1991 publication called ‘Global Warming In An Unequal World: A Case for Environmental Colonialism’ by CSE. So, per capita emission idea became the guiding principle for climate negotiation.

Based on the per capita emission principle, it was decided that industrialized rich countries of the world were to reduce emission considerably so that the developing poor countries get some head room to grow. Today, it has become fashionable for the Northern negotiators and think-tanks to point out that South’s position of not taking up any commitment on emission reduction is just posturing and cannot be tolerated as India and China are turning out to be large emerging economies with rising per capita emission.

It is a joke that a lot of ‘well-meaning’ smart environmentalists who print posters like ‘One World – Our World’ support this viewpoint. They fail to see that there is no One World.

My posturing Vs Your posturing

Please remember, rich industrialized economies did nothing to cut emission in the last decade, even when they knew about climate change and made commitments about drastic reduction. It seems they waited for a decade to see that certain developing countries grow and increase their per capita so that they can start a new blame game. If the South is posturing, it is nothing more than a counter to Northern posturing of being worried about climate change.

It is well documented that all environmental negotiations convened by the UN has got nothing to do with environment, they are just negotiations to secure future business space for the rich nations. The fight on climate change is the most severe as emission cut for the rich is related to giving up ever increasing consumption and luxury. There is a dubious attempt in the climate negotiation that seeks a status quo on luxury emission and want to curb Poor’s survival emission.

All these, when the atmosphere still holds the carbon emitted by the rich countries in the last hundred years. And do not forget, most of these countries grew rich amassing wealth from the Southern countries.

Buying and selling

It is amazing to see how the rich nations have gone back to what they are best at: buying and selling. It is the Market in the first place that has created the problem, a religion that needs more and more things to be produced and consumed, giving rise to emission. So, a mechanism was created to buy back a little bit of atmosphere that was not polluted by the poor in the South. But it was sold with a grand posturing of helping out the poor to grow. As usual that never happened.

The idea was to buy the space, so that the poor could grow in a cleaner manner. But the process has been made such corrupt and convoluted that money transfer is happening between the rich companies in the North and the their counterparts in the South. The process was given a rather simple name: CDM (there are various versions on what the C stands for).

Over a period, the business interests have cannibalized the climate change discussion. Business interests are fronted by immoral intellectuals in both hemispheres, who are trying to turn climate change crisis into a business opportunity. I shall give a count on number of events organized by business associations and corporations directly during this COP in Poznan.

Fixers have an uncanny penchant for cooking up fixes. In climate change, they are at the game too. Without addressing the real problem of reducing emission, they are trying to increase efficiency, new methods of burying carbon in the hell, promoting more of dangerous and expensive ways of boiling water and so on.

WWW continues

What went wrong is not being reversed in Poznan at all. There is no talk of reduction of emission in near future. The fact remains that barring a few countries; all rich nations increased their emission in the last decade. They cannot possibly pretend to be ignorant about climate change in last ten years. All discussion hovers around some virtual money that is needed to manage the problem. If you propose to posture, I can posture better. Industry is trying to fish in dirty water.

Journalist friends at Sheraton Poznan were busy discussing ‘How many different ways can you do the same story that nothing is happening here?’

Coming up: more about the Market