Toward Climate Justice: Can we turn back from the abyss?

The summer and fall of 2009 will surely be noted in the annals of environmental history. This period could be remembered as the time when the world’s elites slowly began to crawl toward a meaningful solution to the threat of accelerating global climate disruptions. But if events continue along the path of recent months, it could mark the beginning of an inexorable slide toward an increasingly unstable planetary climate regime, an unstable and chaotic world that our ancestors would barely recognize.

… In the diplomatic sphere, the world’s hopes for an agreement to curtail emissions and forestall more catastrophic climate changes currently rest on the outcome of the next UN climate summit, scheduled for December 7-18 in Copenhagen. While some are hoping for a breakthrough in back-channel discussions between the U.S. and China, together responsible for 40 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, the U.S. continues to play a largely obstructive role in the negotiations leading up to the Copenhagen summit. So does Japan, which announced in June that it would only aim to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions another 2 percent beyond its Kyoto Protocol obligation over the next decade.

Following the latest in a series of UN meetings in advance of Copenhagen, Martin Khor of the Malaysia-based Third World Network, a decades-long participant in the UN process, wrote “not only is the climate in crisis, the climate talks are also in crisis.” Corporate representatives have been hovering like vultures over UN climate meetings, seeking to define the terms of what they hope will be a rapidly expanding market in tradable carbon allowances, and the World Bank is jockeying to control the funds to curtail deforestation, which is responsible for as much as a quarter of current global warming. Given the pivotal role of the U.S. in these upcoming proceedings, it is important to understand what is wrong with the current domestic debate on global warming now playing out in the U.S. Congress…

More at, including sections on Climate Politics in Washington and the Movement for Climate Justice, with photos by Orin Langelle of GJEP.


Brian Tokar

Institute for Social Ecology

P.O. Box 93

Plainfield, VT 05667

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