The Climate Movement is Dead: A Report Back from COP21
Ducky Slowcode, 12/21/2015
In light of the 21st and most recent UN Conference of the Parties, the annual gathering to discuss and renegotiate global progress in climate change policy, thousands of activists from every corner of the globe converged on Paris to make their voices heard. While the heads of state of 196 different countries came together in La Bourget, a conference center just outside of Paris, delegations and individuals from climate advocacy groups, frontline organizations, and civil society groups made their presence known across the city. I had the opportunity to visit Paris and represent direct action eco-defense on Turtle Island, as well as connect with and support friends (both old and new) in bringing their campaigns to France, the land of so-called “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” (“Liberty, Equality and Brotherhood”).
The climate talks, as to be expected, were a total failure. Negotiations were held up in large part by the United States and Saudi Arabia, both of which have a vested interest in the continuation of our global addiction to fossil fuels. Saudi Arabia in particular has a history of working to water down or entirely dissolve global climate talks in an attempt to maintain its standing as one of the top oil-producing countries in the world. Likewise, the USA, whose military is the single largest emissions producer in the world and an intimidating global presence, and whose rich history of human rights violations would entirely derail this article were I to get into them, stood to lose a lot in the negotiations, and fought to remove human rights provisions from the finalized agreements. The finished product has the member nations agreeing to hold global temperature increase to “2°C…and efforts to limit…to 1.5°C”, but provides no measures for accountability to this figure. Rather, the agreement holds member nations to a “facilitative, non-intrusive, non-punitive” framework. This is not the climate policy we need from global “leaders”, but I can’t say I’m surprised. Global governance has no teeth when it comes to caring for the planet.