Rising Tide International Political Statement 2011

Background to this statement

Rising Tide is a grassroots international network of groups and
individuals who take direct action to confront the root causes of climate
change and to promote local, community-based solutions to the climate
crisis.  It is part of a wider global movement for social and ecological
justice.

Rising Tide was formed in November 2000 to organise protests at the 6th UN
climate negotiations (COP6) in The Netherlands. The network came together
around the principles set out in the first Rising Tide political statement
of 2000, which put forward a unique analysis and approach to climate
change that was well ahead of its time, based around the issues of social
justice and a critique of business-led solutions. More than a decade
later, many parts of that original radical analysis have been accepted by
social movements, mainstream NGOs, think tanks and some political parties.

Fair and effective solutions to climate change have not, however, become a
reality, and therefore our mission to confront the root causes of climate
change and fight for climate justice continues.

This statement updates and builds upon the Rising Tide political statement
of 2000, preparing the growing international network for its second decade
fighting for climate justice.

Root causes, false ‘solutions’

Rising Tide believes that the roots of the climate crisis lie in the
current global economic system and its endless pursuit of economic growth
at all costs.

Corporate-friendly and state-sponsored ‘solutions’ to climate change are
utterly failing to solve the climate crisis. The current international
climate negotiations are flawed and unjust because they are based on the
interests of a neo-liberal capitalist globalisation that seeks to benefit
richer countries and corporations.

We recognise that such globalisation is triggering ever-faster climate
change, and we oppose the carbon trading market as a form of modern-day
colonialism. We reject nuclear energy as a 'solution' to climate change
and actively campaign against it, alongside other false solutions which
either fail to reduce emissions or threaten us with new local and global
risks.

Rising Tide believes that as a matter of survival, we must confront
capitalism and decrease our dependence on the industries and institutions
that are destroying the planet. Simultaneously we must work towards social
justice, community autonomy and sustainable living.

Climate justice

Rising Tide believes that social and economic equity between and within
countries lies at the heart of truly fair solutions to climate change.

Corporations working in collusion with government elites are at the heart
of the exploitation of communities of ordinary people everywhere. This is
at its starkest in the plunder of the resources of the global south by the
wealthy economies of the global north. We acknowledge that these wealthy
economies owe ecological and social debts to the people of the global
south. The ecological debt caused by the extraction, use and abuse of
resources such as fossil fuels, minerals, forests, and marine and genetic
resources generates huge social damage whereby local communities are
exploited physically, politically, economically, culturally and
emotionally.

Repair to the biosphere, and to the communities where such extraction has
taken place, cannot be delivered simply by payments of money. It will
require the wresting of wealth and resources away from elites into popular
control. Particularly, land and resources need to be returned to the
control of communities in the global south and indigenous peoples.

Just transition

Rising Tide wants to see a 'just transition' to a low carbon, low
consumption economy that is focused on well-being, not profit. This means
a transition that doesn't fall hardest on low income communities, socially
discriminated communities or low-waged employees of industries reliant on
fossil fuels.

Energy to meet basic needs is an essential element of climate justice.
Subsistence emissions of marginalised groups must not be targeted by any
plans to reduce global emissions. Nor must such plans involve ‘population
control’ or other authoritarian measures which serve to penalise the
victims of the current system while high consumption by elites continues
unabated.

We believe that successful solutions to climate change must be debated and
created by organised transnational movements which put the greatest
emphasis on the demands and proposals of grassroots movements of those
most affected: for example, communities in the global south, island
nations, indigenous peoples and migrants', womens' and youth
organisations.  People working collectively must be in control of this
process.  Power must be decentralised, not concentrated in the hands of
governments and private companies.

Ways forward

We know that that atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases must be reduced
as dramatically and quickly as possible. To this end, Rising Tide wants to
see an immediate end to all new fossil fuel exploration and extraction and
a just, rapid transition away from the burning of fossil fuels. We also
acknowledge that ecosystem preservation, recovery and restoration are
essential to sequestering carbon and curbing the exponential rate of
species extinction.

Practical, low-impact, community-run solutions do exist. It is time to
start using them and fighting back against those vested interests who
attempt to undermine them.

To build truly just solutions, we must also dismantle the systems of
oppression that permeate our culture and ourselves. Rising Tide aims to
build strong links with environmental justice groups fighting pollution
from fossil fuel processing facilities and ally ourselves with those
around the world who are already being affected by climate change. We
acknowledge that we as a network must step up our efforts to build
relationships of solidarity with other related campaign groups and
particularly with the people who stand to lose the most from climate
change, in our own countries and around the world. We must also work
towards real solidarity across borders and lines of race, class, gender,
ability and sexual identity.

Rising Tide believes that when we begin to build a culture of mutual aid
and community autonomy, and when we create change through direct action
and organising without leaders, we demonstrate that we don’t need
governments or corporations in order to survive and thrive.

The Rising Tide international network advocates:

•	A just transition to locally-controlled, low carbon, low consumption
economies.
•	Immediate, drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions
•	Solutions to the climate crisis that are defined by those most severely
affected and foster local autonomy and self-sufficiency.
•	Redress of the ecological and social debts of the North to the South and
from elites to popular control, enabling communities to rebuild themselves
and restore their environments.
•	Freedom of movement and an end to migration controls. Current and future
support for all displaced people, and for those who attempt to create a
better and safer life for themselves and their families by crossing
international borders.

The Rising Tide international network opposes:

•	New fossil fuel exploration and extraction.
•	Nuclear power generation and other techno-fixes such as large scale
geo-engineering, industrial agrofuels, genetic modification and carbon
capture and storage.
•	The false solutions being used as a way to evade responsibility for
emissions reductions, including emissions trading, carbon offsetting,
REDD, the Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation projects.
•	The commodification and privatisation of the world’s natural resources,
and the opening of new large scale resource extractive infrastructure,
especially where it is opposed by local communities.
•	Northern governments using financial aid for climate change mitigation
as a means of increasing the debt owed by non industrialised nations.
•	Criminalisation of and violence towards grassroots environmental and
social justice movements by states and corporations.

Signatories (October 2011)

Hyokyaalto (Finland)
Marea Creciente Ecuador
Marea Creciente Mexico
Rising Tide Australia
Rising Tide North America
Rising Tide UK
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