19 Dec 2009

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Statement issued by Klimaform09 in Copenhagen, December 10, 2009

*

Summary

There are solutions to the climate crisis. What people and the planet need
is a just and sustainable transition of our societies to a form that will
ensure the rights of life and dignity of all peoples and deliver a more
fertile planet and more fulfilling lives to future generations.
*

We, participating peoples, communities and all organisations at the
Klimaforum09 in Copenhagen, call upon every person, organisation, government
and institutions, including the United Nations (UN), to contribute to this
necessary transition. It will be a challenging task. The crisis of today has
economic, social, environmental, geopolitical and ideological aspects
interacting with and enforcing each other as well as the climate crisis. For
this reason, we call for urgent climate action:

*A complete abandoning of fossil fuels within the next 30 years,* which must
include specific milestones for every five-year period. We demand an
immediate cut in GHG of industrialised countries of at least 40% compared to
1990 levels by 2020.

*Recognition, payment and compensation of climate debt* for the
overconsumption of atmospheric space and adverse effects of climate change
on all affected groups and people.

*Rejection of purely market-oriented and technology-centred* false and
dangerous solutions such as nuclear energy, agro-fuels, carbon capture and
storage, Clean Development Mechanisms, biochar, genetically
“climate-readied” crops, geo-engineering and reducing emissions from
deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), which deepens social and
environmental conflicts.

*Real solutions to climate crisis* based on safe, clean, renewable and
sustainable use of natural resources, as well as transitions to food,
energy, land and water sovereignty.

Therefore, we demand COP15 reach an agreement that will initiate the
restoration of the environmental, social and economic balance of planet
Earth by means that are environmentally, socially and economically
sustainable and equitable, and finally come up with a legally binding
treaty. The adverse impacts of human-induced climate change cause gross
violations of human rights. The nations have an obligation to cooperate
internationally to ensure respect for human rights everywhere in the world
according to the Charter of the United Nations. Any specific agreement on
climate change must be seen in the broader context of achieving a
sustainable transition of our societies.

We, participating people and organisations at Klimaforum09, commit to
continue our full and active engagement in promoting such a transition,
which will require a fundamental change in social, political and economic
structures and a rectification of gender, class, race, generation, ethnic
inequalities and injustices.

This requires restoration of democratic sovereignty of our local communities
as a basic social, political and economic unit. Local and democratic
ownership and control over and access to natural resources will be the basis
for meaningful and sustainable development of communities, and
simultaneously reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There is also the need for
stronger regional and international cooperative arrangements to manage
common and shared resources, and a stronger and democratic UN. We call upon
every concerned person, social movement, cultural, political or economic
organisation to join us in building a strong global movement of movements,
which can bring forward peoples’ visions and demands on every level of
society. Together, we can make global transitions to sustainable futures.

Sign the Klimaforum09 Declaration here:



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System change — not climate change (full text)

A people’s declaration from Klimaforum 09,

December 10, 2009

*1. Preamble*

There are solutions to the climate crisis. What people and the planet need
is a just and sustainable transition of our societies to a form that will
ensure the rights of life and dignity of all people and deliver a more
fertile planet and more fulfilling lives to present and future generations.
A transition based on democratic principles of solidarity, especially for
the most vulnerable, non-discrimination, gender equality, equity and
sustainability, acknowledging that we are part of nature, which we love and
respect. To address the climate crisis, however, awareness creation and
determined actions adhering to a rights-based framework are required. The
nations have an obligation to cooperate internationally to ensure respect
for human rights everywhere in the world according to the Charter of the
United Nations.

We, participating peoples, communities and all organisations at the
Klimaforum09 in Copenhagen, call upon every person, organisation, government
and institution, including the United Nations (UN), to contribute to this
necessary transition. It will be a challenging task. The crisis of today has
economic, social, environmental, geopolitical and ideological aspects
interacting with and enforcing each other as well as the climate crisis.
This very moment of conjunction of crises — climate, energy, financial, food
and water crises, among others — urges us to unite and transform the
dominant social and economic system as well as global governance, which
blocks necessary solutions to the climate crisis. For this reason, a
movement from below is called upon to act now.

Environmental and climate debts must be paid. No false, dangerous and
short-term solutions should be promoted and adopted, such as nuclear power,
agro-fuels, offsetting, carbon capture and storage (CCS), biochar,
geo-engineering and carbon trading. Instead we should implement a truly
sustainable transition built on clean, safe and renewable resources and
energy conservation. We welcome alliances across social movements and
sectors, representing all ages, genders, ethnicities, faiths, communities
and nationalities.

We want to take the future into our own hands by building a strong and
popular movement of youth, women, men, workers, peasants, fisher folks,
indigenous peoples, people of colour, urban, and rural social groups which
is able to act on all levels of society to deal with environmental
degradation and climate change. We call for a new international economic
order and support a strong and democratic UN as opposed to G8, G20 or other
closed groups of powerful countries.

*2. The challenge, as we see it*

The concentration of greenhouse gasses (GHGs) in the atmosphere is already
so high, that the climate system has been brought out of balance. The CO2
concentration and global temperatures have increased more rapidly in the
last 50 years and will rise even faster in the coming decades. This adds to
a multitude of other serious ecological imbalances, the impacts of which
threatens the lives and livelihoods of the people of the world, most
acutely, the impoverished people and other vulnerable groups.

The imbalance of the climate system leads to greater and more frequent
extremes of heat and rainfall patterns, tropical cyclones, hurricanes and
typhoons, extreme flooding and droughts, loss of biodiversity, landslides,
rising sea levels, shortage of drinking water, shorter growing seasons,
lower yields, lost or deteriorated agricultural land, decreased agricultural
production, losses of livestock, extinction of ecosystems, diminished fish
stocks, among others.

These phenomena are resulting in food crisis, famine, illness, death,
displacement and the extinction of sustainable ways of life. Interacting
with this is the introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMOs),
monoculture farming and industrialised agriculture strongly promoted by
corporations that seriously threaten the stability and diversity of
ecosystems. This also marginalises and impoverishes small-scale farmers and
undermines food sovereignty. Corporate-controlled agriculture is geared to
meet global demand for overconsumption especially in the global North rather
than for local basic needs. The same can be said about modern industrial
fisheries, intensive forestry and mining which destroys ecosystems,
diminishes biodiversity and destroys the life and livelihoods of local
communities. These effects of climate change together with growing social
inequalities and severe impacts on our common environment are already
devastating the lives of millions of people as well as their local
communities. However, we — the people — are not prepared to accept this fact
as our fate. That is why there are fast-growing popular movements determined
to defend their livelihoods and stand up against those forces and causes,
which have led us on to this ultimately suicidal route of environmental
destruction.

In Asia, Africa, Middle East, Oceania and South and Central America, as well
as the periphery of North America and Europe, popular movements are rising
to confront the exploitation of their land by foreign interests and to
regain control over their own resources. A new type of activism has
revitalised the environmental movements, leading to a wide variety of
protests and actions against mining, big dams, deforestation, coal-fired
plants, air travel and the building of new roads among others. There is a
growing awareness about the need to change the present economic paradigm in
a very fundamental way. Among various movements, alternative ways of life
are proliferating. At the same time it is becoming evident to the public
that the present holders of power are unwilling to face and deal with the
threats of climate change and environmental degradation. The so-called
strategy of “green growth” or “sustainable growth” has turned out to be an
excuse for pursuing the same basic model of economic development, that is
one of the root causes of environmental destruction and the climate crisis.

*3. The causes, as we see them*

The immediate and primary cause of human-induced climate change is an
unprecedented emission of greenhouse gasses (GHGs) into the atmosphere
originating from the increasing burning of fossil fuels from industry,
commerce, transport and military purposes, to mention a few but significant
sources. Other important drivers of climate change are deforestation,
extractive industries, forest degradation — excluding Indigenous people’s
sustainable practice of shifting cultivations — disturbance of water cycle,
expanding areas through land grabbing for industrial agriculture, increased
industrial meat-production and other types of unsustainable use of natural
resources.

Uneven control and ownership over resources
These immediate causes are the
results of an unsustainable global economic system built on unequal access
to and control over the planet’s limited resources and the benefits that
accrue from their use. This system is premised on the appropriation of
local, national and planetary commons by local and global elites. What has
been praised as great strides in technology, production and human progress
has in fact precipitated global ecological and development disasters. Still,
a privileged global elite engages in reckless profit-driven production and
grossly excessive consumption while a very large proportion of humanity is
mired in poverty with merely survival and subsistence consumption, or even
less. This is the situation not only in countries of the global South but
also in the global North. The world’s largest transnational corporations
(TNCs) based mainly in the Northern countries and tax havens, but with
expanding operations, have long been at the forefront of these excesses.

The competition among global corporations and rich nations for resources and
greater market shares, as well as trade agreements and treaties, have led to
a neo-colonial suppression of Southern peoples, denying them rightful
ownership and control of their resources. The World Trade Organization (WTO)
and international financial institutions, as well as the European Union (EU)
and United States (US) using bilateral trade agreements, are increasing the
privatisation and commoditisation of public resources, intensifying the
plunder of natural resources of underdeveloped countries and imposing
conditions that increase their dependence.

Prevailing patterns of thought and alternatives
The development model
promoted by these institutions is not only a question of “economics’.” The
prevailing economic paradigm is strongly related to the system of thought,
which is based on an imagination of the human being as “economic man”. This
ideology is reinforced by corporate media and marketing firms which promote
egoism, competition, material consumption and boundless accumulation of
private wealth in utter disregard of the social and ecological consequences
of such behaviour. This system of thought is intimately intertwined with
patterns of patriarchy and paternalism.

If we really want to address this crisis, we need to recognise that the
human species is part of both nature and society and cannot exist without
either. Therefore if humanity is to survive, we need to respect the
integrity of Mother Earth and strive for harmony with nature and for peace
within and between cultures.

We are at once citizens of different nations and of one world. Everyone
shares responsibility for the present and future well-being of the human
family and the larger living world. The spirit of human solidarity and
kinship with all life is strengthened when we live according to the
principle of ”One among many.”`

*4. A just and sustainable transition*

It is clear that solving the climate crisis requires far-reaching
transformations, which are currently excluded from the agenda of policy
makers in governments and multilateral institutions. People are calling for
system change, not “business-as-usual” and the uncritical use of technology
and market fixes along which powerful interests have set and confined the
climate agenda.

Peoples’ movements are not lacking alternative visions for society and
concrete steps that must be taken in order to move towards a sustainable
future while addressing the climate, water, food and economic crises at the
same time. Such a sustainable transition will begin by many different
initiatives. Some of these steps towards sustainable transition are: Food
sovereignty and ecological agriculture: Uphold the rights of people,
communities, and countries to determine their own systems of production
including farming, fishing, food, forestry and land policies, which are
ecologically, socially, economically and culturally appropriate to the
circumstances. Peoples’, especially women´s access to and control over
productive resources such as land, seeds and water must be respected and
guaranteed. Agricultural production must rely principally on local
knowledge, appropriate technology and ecologically sustainable techniques
that bind CO2 in the diverse and native plant systems, bind water and return
more nutrients to the soil, than was taken out. Food and agricultural
production must be primarily geared towards meeting local needs, encourage
self-sufficiency, promote local employment, and minimise resource use, waste
and GHG emissions in the process.

Democratic ownership and control of economy: The reorganisation of society’s
productive units around more democratic forms of ownership and management,
in order to meet people’s basic needs such as employment creation, access to
water, housing, land, health care and education, food sovereignty and
ecological sustainability. Public policy must make sure that the financial
system serves public interests and channel resources for the sustainable
transformation of industry, agriculture and services. Energy sovereignty: A
dramatic reduction of energy consumption especially in the unjustly enriched
countries combined with a blend of renewable and public energy sources such
as solar, wind, geothermal, mini-hydro, wave and the development of
off-the-grid electricity distribution to secure energy supplies to
communities, and public ownership for the grid.

Ecological planning of urban and rural zones: The aim is a radical reduction
in the inputs of energy and resources and the outputs of waste and pollution
while encouraging locally based supply of basic needs of the citizens. An
urban and rural planning built on social justice and equal service to all
reducing the need for transport. Promoting public transport systems such as
light and high-speed rail systems and bicycles reducing the need for private
motor vehicles thus decongesting the roads, improving health and reducing
energy consumption.

Education, science and cultural institutions: Re-orientate public research
and education to meet the needs of people and the environment, rather than
the present bias for developing commercially profitable and proprietary
technologies. Research and development should be primarily an open and
collaborative endeavour in the common interest of humankind, and eliminate
patents on ideas and technology. Fair and just exchange of appropriate
technologies, traditional knowledge and indigenous innovative practices, and
ideas between countries should be encouraged.

End to militarism and wars: The present fossil fuel-based development model
leads to violence, war and military conflict over control of energy, land,
water and other natural resources. This is demonstrated by the US-led
invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, militarisation in across in
the globe in regions rich on fossil fuels and other natural resources.
Peasants and Indigenous communities are also being violently displaced from
their lands to make way for agro-fuel plantations. Trillions of dollars are
spent on the military-industrial complex, wasting enormous material and
human resources, which should instead be devoted to implementing a
sustainable transition.

By taking steps forward we can learn by doing. These steps will help us to
convince the broad majority of people that a sustainable transition entails
the promise of a more fulfilling and good life. The social, political,
economic and environmental fields are closely interrelated. A coherent
strategy must therefore address them all, which indeed is the central idea
behind the concept of sustainable transition.

One aspect of this concept is the restoration of local communities rather
than the global market as a basic social, political and economic unit.
Social cohesion, democratic participation, economic accountability and
ecological responsibility can only be accomplished by restoring decision
making at the lowest appropriate level. This is a basic lesson we have
learned from ethnic cultures and local communities.

A community-based approach does not however contradict the need for
extensive international cooperation. On the contrary, it will need stronger
alliances within and across all borders between direct producers in
agriculture, forestry, fisheries and industry. Alliances also built on the
strength of gender equality and on recognising and overcoming unjust power
relations at all levels. It also includes the need for stronger regional and
international cooperative arrangements to manage common and shared resources
such as cross boarder water resources. Furthermore, international
cooperation will promote the full mutual exchange of ideas, technologies and
expertise across all boundaries as well as engage in an open-minded dialogue
between different cultures based on mutual respect.

*5. Paths to transition*

Many people are involved in the practical creation of more sustainable
industry, agriculture, forestry and fisheries as well as in the renewable
energy sector. These initiatives within the system have furthermore created
alliances with other sectors of society, trade unions, consumers, city
dwellers, teachers, researchers all of whom are striving towards sustainable
ways of life.

United Nations (UN) and Conference of Parties (COP)

We need to address the UN negotiations on climate change and the 15th
Conference of Parties (COP15) on the UN Framework Convention on Climate
Change (UNFCCC). The lessons from previous rounds of negotiations are not
very promising. Despite the high-profile schemes for concerted action
launched first in the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change of Rio de
Janeiro and later in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, results are meagre and the
problems have not been solved. Indeed, it has worsened as the principles,
targets and the timelines of both the convention and the protocol have made
little headway.

The same big corporate interests that are largely responsible for causing
the climate crisis appear to have immense influence on climate policies at
the national and global level. We strongly oppose this undemocratic
influence of corporate lobbyism in the current COP negotiations. Contrary to
this, we call on states to put in place an appraisal mechanism for all
policies and policy instruments under the UNFCCC, to ensure inclusive and
deliberative multi-stakeholder processes that repair existing inequalities
whether based on gender, colour, age, disability or other forms of
discrimination in the COP negotiations.

We demand that COP15 reach an agreement that will initiate the restoration
of the environmental, social and economic balance of planet Earth by means
that are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable and
equitable, and finally come up with a legally binding treaty.

*Our demands*

We are raising our voices to the leaders in the UNFCCC to put forward the
people’s demands and alternatives.

*Phasing out fossil fuel:* We call for a clear strategy for dismantling the
fossil fuel era within the next 30 years, which must include specific
milestones for every five-year period. We demand an immediate cut in GHG
emissions of industrialised countries of at least 40% compared to 1990
levels by 2020.

*Reparations and compensation for climate debt and crimes:* We demand full
reparations for Southern countries and those impoverished by Northern
states, TNCs and tax-haven institutions. By this, we partly address
historical injustices associated to inequitable industrialisation and
climate change, originating in the genocide of Indigenous nations, the
transatlantic slave trade, the colonial era and invasions. This must be
accompanied by an equally clear strategy for compensating impoverished
people for the climate and broader ecological debt owed by the enriched. A
global and democratic fund should be established to give direct support to
the victims of climate change. Developed countries must provide new,
mandatory, adequate and reliable financing and patent-free technologies to
better adapt to adverse climate impacts and undertake emission reductions.
This would allow developing countries to play their part in curbing climate
change, while still meeting the needs and aspirations of their people.
International financial institutions, donor agencies and trade mechanisms
should have no part in reparations.

An immediate global ban on deforestation of primary forests and the parallel
initiation of an ambitious global tree-planting program based on native and
diverse species in partnership with Indigenous peoples and forest-dependent
communities. Similarly a ban on large-scale industrialised fishing methods
and a return to primarily local and sustainable fishing practices. Finally,
a ban on land grabbing by foreign interests and the full acceptance of
people’s sovereignty over natural resources.

We express strong opposition to purely market-oriented and
technology-centred false and dangerous solutions put forward by many
corporations, governments and international financial institutions. These
include nuclear energy, agro-fuels, carbon capture and storage, Clean
Development Mechanisms, biochar, genetically “climate-readied” crops,
geoengineering and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest
degradation as it is the UNFCCC definition (REDD), which only produce new
environmental threats, without really solving the climate crisis. Carbon
trading and offsetting are also false and unjust instruments because they
treat a common planetary resource — the atmosphere — as a commodity that can
be owned and traded. So far the system has not proven its merits, and by
allowing rich countries to offset their reduction obligations, it has
maintained this unjust and unsustainable system.

*Equitable tax on carbon emissions:* Instead of the regime of tradable
emission quotas we demand an equitable tax on carbon emissions. Revenues
from this carbon tax should be returned equitably to the people, and a
portion should be used to compensate and contribute to finance adaptation
and mitigation. This is, however, not a substitute for repayment of already
accumulated climate debt. This compensation and funding should be
unconditional and free of market mechanisms and financial institutions.
Reduction of emissions must be strongly encouraged by a briskly increasing,
transparent carbon tax, in addition to direct regulations to drive the
phase-out of fossil fuels, while enabling safe, clean and renewable energy.
Multilateral institutions and TNCs: Unjust, unsustainable and unaccountable
global economic and financial institutions like the WTO, the World Bank, the
International Monetary Fund (IMF), regional development banks, donor
institutions and trade agreements should be replaced by democratic and
equitable institutions functioning in accordance with the United Nations
Charter, that respect peoples’ sovereignty over resources and promote
solidarity between peoples and nations. A mechanism for strict surveillance
and control of the operations of TNCs should be created as well. Finally, we
commit ourselves to a full and active involvement in carrying our
sustainable transitions of our societies along the lines put forward in this
declaration.

*6. A global movement for sustainable transition*

Irrespective of the outcome of the Copenhagen Summit on Climate Change there
is an urgent need to build a global movement of movements dedicated to the
long-term task of promoting a sustainable transition of our societies.
Contrary to the prevailing power structures, this movement must grow from
the bottom and up. What is needed is a broad alliance of environmental
movements, social movements, trade unions, farmers and other aligned parties
that can work together in everyday political struggle on the local as well
as national and international level. Such an alliance entails at the same
time the creation of a new mindset and new types of social activisms, and
must be capable not only of reacting to unsustainable practices, but also
showing by example how a new sustainable economy can indeed function. We,
participating peoples, communities and social organisations at Klimaforum09
are all committed to build on the results achieved at this event in the
further development of a global movement of movements. This declaration aims
to inspire the further development of such a movement by pointing to the
general direction in which we choose to move. Together, we can make global
transitions to sustainable future. Join us.

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