COP 7 in Marrakech – Full steam ahead for atmosphere privatization

Η Σύνοδος για το Κλίμα στο Μαρόκο - (ΕΝ) COP 7 in Marrakech – Full steam ahead for atmosphere privatization.

COP 7 in Marrakech – Full steam ahead for atmosphere privatization. Just as the WTO talks in Qatar were getting underway, late night negotiations in Marrakech were finalizing the rules for selling off the earth’s atmosphere. All disguised as a solution to climate change. The meeting, called COP 7, was to finalize the rules for the Kyoto Protocol. The last two of these meetings, in Den Haag and Bonn, were accompanied by major protests. The result reached in Bonn in July, though hailed as a political triumph, was little more than a trade deal. It set out a global plan for fighting climate change based upon industrial nations avoiding their responsibility for causing climate change, and on “free market” mechanisms to reduce pollution. Unlike the conferences in Den Haag, and Bonn, activists were unable to organise large scale protests in Marrakech – primarily due to the Moroccan governments repressive attitude to demonstrations. Local Moroccan activists were subject to police intimidation, and were put under surveillance. Inside the conference centre everything went on as normal – accredited NGOs were barred from meetings, and corporate lobbyists were working their palm greasing magic in the corridors. The results? – further weakening of the pitiful reduction targets, and rules put in place that mean that uncontrolled emission trading will begin as soon as possible. The atmosphere is now for sale. Climate change is probably the greatest environmental challenge of our era. Rising levels of Greenhouse Gases in the air, particularly CO2 gas, trap heat in the atmosphere and raise the temperature. This is a natural process, but humans are producing more CO2 and shifting the balance of the atmosphere. The weather system is famously chaotic – small changes in initial conditions can have huge, unpredictable consequences. Climate change will massively disrupt the weather system, leading to more frequent extreme weather, to droughts as deserts expand and floods, as the sea level rises. Greenhouse gases are mainly produced by heavy industry, electricity generation and transport. As such, climate change is a symptom of the failed model of Western , fossil fuel based, industrial development. The impacts though, will be strongest on the developing countries who bear no responsibility for the problem. The key to understanding the role of the UN climate treaty in the process of economic globalization is provided by its reliance on “emissions trading”. This system allows reductions countries that make reductions in excess of their targets to sell these reductions onto other countries. Richer countries will be able to buy their way out of reducing their emissions. Already, it is clear that the system will not be able to bring about real reductions in emissions. Former communist countries have massive amounts of excess credits for sale – a result of the post 1990 collapse of their economies. On a purely practical level, emissions trading faces enormous problems – to accurately track and record emissions is an impossible task, and previous pollution trading schemes in the US have been beset by fraud. Recent research highlighted in New Scientist magazine doubts the ability of such trading schemes to reduce pollution. Relying on emissions trading will mean that climate change will hit really hard. It will affect everyone on the earth. Naturally though, the Dutch government has more resources for dealing with floods than the government of Mozambique and the costs of climate change will be unevenly spread – with developing countries paying the most. Climate change will increase the gap between rich and poor. Trading the pollution that causes this though, will make the gap still wider. It is clear that free market solutions are not solutions for the people of poor countries. Rich countries will be able to prop up their own economies with cheap credits harvested from developing countries – at the same time leaving only expensive CO2 reducing measures for the people who can least afford them. The poor will pay the bill for the West’s irresponsible, out of control, resource stealing “development”. It is clear that this new model for Western supremacy is just the same as the old model – colonialism. Both rely on the unfair extraction of valued commodities (cotton, tea, carbon credits) from the colonized, and lead to the running of the colonized land’s economy to support the colonizer’s. Speculation on the international carbon markets (already up and running, thanks to huge consultancy groups Price Waterhouse Coopers and Cantor Fitzgerald) will determine the price for CO2 credits. and so the level of investment in the energy sectors of developing countries. Random investment intended to cream off profits for western corporations will have little effect in reducing the CO2 emissions of developing countries – its more likely that they will be locked into failed fossil fuel based development. Disastrous for them, and for the climate. “Climate Justice” is the concept that is uniting growing numbers of social and environmental activists across the world – because climate change will lead to vast refugee problems, the continuing economic oppression of the majority world, and because you can’t solve the (environmental) problem without addressing the (social) cause – capitalist, consumerist society. Climate change will inevitably lead to big changes in the world. Climate justice says that these changes can give us a fairer world – it’s a chance that we should seize. MORE INFO ON CLIMATE CHANGE / ACTIONS @

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