A New Normal

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The COVID-19 pandemic exposes an economic system unable to meet the needs of people and planet. Our only solution to address this global crisis, occurring amid a devastating climate crisis, is to join together and build a more just, resilient, and sustainable world. As members and allies of the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice we are making an initial set of demands of governments as they respond to the pandemic. 

The word apocalypse comes from the word for revelation. The COVID-19 pandemic is revealing what the global majority has known all along: that the dominant economic system prioritises profits over people and planet.

With each new day of infections, deaths and destroyed livelihoods, the pandemic is exposing the gross injustices of our existing systems. Years of neoliberalism, ‘structural adjustment’ and austerity have dismantled the social welfare state, specifically underfunding and hollowing out health systems across the globe. We are left with deficits of life-saving equipment, and surpluses of polluting industries. 

The dimensions of the collective suffering and individual trauma unfolding are too vast to contemplate. Families confronting loss or lockdown in abusive relationships; bodies facing devastating illness; communities facing hunger and isolation. 

But the pandemic has also shown our enormous collective strength, and the possibilities that emerge when a crisis is taken seriously, and people join together. 

For those of us in the global climate justice movement, the unravelling of the pandemic comes as no surprise. For decades, as movements we have denounced the violent impacts of an unequal global economic system, the devastation of an accelerating climate crisis, and the shockingly cruel ways in which those least responsible bear its heaviest burdens. For decades, we have demanded an end to a status quo that was and continues to be a death sentence for the world’s poorest. The coronavirus crisis is a stark reminder of a prolonged past, and our response to it a dress rehearsal for the present and future. 


As with the climate crisis, the COVID-19 crisis loads the heaviest burdens on those most vulnerable. The poorest are affected first and worst. It inflames the disparities carved by wealth, gender, class, race, (dis)ability and other intersectional factors. The highest costs are being borne by those least able to pay them, who were always condemned to bear such costs.

Most clearly, those most at risk of infection are those least able to isolate themselves. 

A lockdown means confinement in our homes. But some of us are entirely without a home, or live with multiple family members and relatives in one house. Some of us are internally displaced people’s or refugee camps, or in detention centres, or go without access to running water and sanitation. For some of us, home is the site of violence and abuse, and staying home means an end to public activity we rely on  for our day-to-day subsistence. Some of us can’t stay home because we are working in the most crucial and life-sustaining sectors, such as agriculture, without protection, including many of the subsistence and family farmers who feed over two-thirds of the world.

Women and girls bear the brunt of care work in our current system, in the home, in our communities and also in the economy, as they are the majority of health care workers. This pandemic has shown us the importance of care work, the work needed to raise families, to cook and clean and take care of the sick and elderly.  It has shown us the profound impact of the lack of public services  and social institutions for care work .  We must use this moment to understand the importance of care work,  share it among all peoples and build a society and economy that takes on care work based on feminist, care-affirming principles.

In many countries, health, food and basic services sectors are supported by migrant labour, many of whom do not have a voice, recourse to public funds and most often serving with the least protection. Migrant voices are also most often ignored in climate discussions. In times of crises, whether health or natural calamities, they are one of the most vulnerable, discriminated against, and ignored.

Those most affected by the climate crisis – people in the Global South who have faced the violence of environmental degradation, extended drought, and forced displacement – have now become one of most vulnerable populations to contagion and its effects. In areas where the health of communities has been debilitated by polluting industries, leading to an array of respiratory and immunological conditions, people are particularly at risk to COVID-19.

The pandemic is already opening the door to a major economic crisis, with an upcoming recession that will render the vast majority of the global population – who live day-to-day with precarious livelihoods – in a condition of even more chronic poverty. The risk of famine and deep disruptions to food sovereignty is significant. Southern countries are burdened with illegitimate and unsustainable debt – accumulated through decades of exploitative and predatory lending by Northern governments, international financial institutions and big banks in collaboration with southern elites and those Southern governments with authoritarian and corrupt practices. The prioritization of payments of these debts have taken a heavy toll on public services and continue to take up a huge part of public spending that should be allocated instead to public health responses to the pandemic.

A Crossroads

We are at a crossroads. For years, we have demanded ‘system change not climate change’. System change now seems more necessary than ever, and more possible. The rules of the game are changing swiftly. Upheaval is unavoidable.

The question is: what kind of change is unfolding? What kind of system is emerging? What direction will change take?

The powerful are taking advantage of the crisis to advance disaster capitalism and a new authoritarianism, handing themselves expanding police and military powers, and rushing through extractive projects. Many governments are seizing the chance to push through draconian measures, police the population, undermine workers’ rights, repress the rights of Indigenous peoples, restrict public participation in decision-making, restrict access to sexual and reproductive health services, and institute widespread surveillance. In the worst situations, repressive actors are using the moment of political instability to violently quash dissent, legitimise racism, religious fundamentalism and advance predatory mining frontiers, and execute land defenders.

But the crisis they are making use of, also offers an opportunity for our movements to shape the emergent future. Our movements know the way forward, the type of world we need to build. Across the world, people are realising that our dominant economic system does not meet peoples’ needs. They are clearly seeing that corporations and the market will not save us. They are noticing that when a crisis is taken seriously, governments are capable of taking bold action and mobilise enormous resources to confront it. The limits of the possible can be radically shaken and rewritten. Within weeks, policy proposals long-campaigned for in many contexts (an end to evictions, liberating prisoners, bold economic redistribution to name but a few) have become common-sense and mainstream responses.

We are living through a convulsive but very fertile political moment. Our world has been forced into solidarity by a virus which ignores all borders; our deep interdependence has never been more undeniable.

In such a crisis rethinking and reimagining our economic model is inescapable. Resilient and justice-based solutions are not only possible, but the only real solution.

It is clear now that we need a response of solidarity, equity and care, with massive public investment that puts people and planet first, not polluting industries and profiteers. Just recoveries, and global and national new deals to build a regenerative, distributive and resilient economy is both necessary, and increasingly politically feasible.

The Fight for A New Normal

We will not return to a normal in which the suffering of the many underwrote the luxuries of the few. While politicians will push for a rapid resumption of the status quo, we can’t go back to normal, as social movements have affirmed, when that normal was killing people and the planet.

Our climate justice movements are in both a perilous and promising situation. The urgency of climate breakdown has dropped under the radar, even as climate violence is relentless, expressed most recently in devastating storms across the Pacific, forest fires in China, and torrential rains in Colombia. Unless we take this political moment, climate action will be on the backburner, and economies in the rich North will be turbocharged and revived with dirty investments that deepen the climate crisis. We must be vigilant and persevering to ensure that addressing the climate crisis must be front and center of bailouts, and programmes to ensure the resilience of society and all peoples.

Our movements have an expertise which is invaluable at this time. While COVID-19 and the climate crisis may have different direct causes, their root causes are the same: a reliance on the market, a failure of the state to address long-term threats, the absence of social protection, and an overarching economic model that protects investments over lives and the planet. The same extractivist system that extracts, burns and destroys ecosystems, is the same system which enables dangerous pathogens to spread. The solutions to the COVID-19 and climate crises are the same: solidarity, redistribution, collaboration, equity, and social protection. It is our opportunity and responsibility to join the dots, and use this political moment to confront corporate power, and build a more just and sustainable society.

The Horizons We Can Claim

The pandemic has changed the game. We have the resources to build an economic model that doesn’t trash the planet and provides for all. We have the momentum to recover from this crisis in a way that builds our resilience and fortifies our dignity as societies. Now is our time to claim it.

As members of the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice, we demand a bold response to the COVID-19 pandemic that simultaneously helps address the wider climate crisis, and transform the unequal economic system that has led to both.

We demand that governments:

  1. Prioritise the health and wellbeing of people. People must always be valued over profit, for an economy is worthless without its people. No one is disposable. Fully fund and resource health services and systems, ensuring care for all, without exception. Governments must also prioritise robust investment in other essential public services, such as safe shelter, water, food and sanitation. These services are not only essential in stemming the spread of disease in the long-term, but are core to governments’ obligation to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights for all. Therefore, they must not be privatised and instead be managed in an equitable, publicly-accountable manner.
  1. Guarantee the protection of marginalised populations. Provide aid, social protection, and relief to rural populations and the families that compose them, who are at the forefront of feeding our world. Special protection must also be guaranteed for the social and human rights of all peoples put in vulnerable and precarious circumstances, such as those in situations of homelessness, people in prison, refugees and migrants, elders in home care, orphans, and especially environmental defenders who are now being murdered with even greater frequency under the cover of the COVID-19 emergency.
  1. Issue immediate economic and social measures to provide relief and security to all, particularly the most vulnerable and marginalised groups in our societies. Protect labour rights and guarantee protections for all workers, from the formal to the informal economy, and guarantee a universal basic income. Recognise, visibilise and value all care work, the real labour that is sustaining us during this crisis.
  • Governments must stop subsidies for fossil fuels and reorient public funds away from the military-industrial complex, and private corporations, and use them instead to ensure access to clean energy, water, and important utilities and public services  for the well-being of communities.
  • We call for an immediate cancelation of debt payments by Southern countries due in 2020 and 2021 with no accrual of interest nor penalties, so that funds can be used for health services to combat COVID19 and for economic assistance for communities and people who are facing greater hardships in the face of the pandemic and responses to it. A mere suspension of payments is not enough, and will simply delay the pain of debt servicing. We also demand an immediate start to an independent international process to address illegitimate and unsustainable debt and debt crises to pave the way for unconditional debt cancelation for all Southern countries.
  • Governments must also transform tax systems, abolishing fiscal holidays for multinational corporations which undermine revenues, and abolish value-added tax and goods and services taxes for basic goods. Take immediate steps towards stopping illicit financial flows and shutting down tax havens.
  1. Support a long-term just transition and recovery out of this crisis, and take the crisis as an opportunity to shift to equitable, socially just, climate-resilient and zero-carbon economies. We cannot afford bailouts that simply fill corporate pockets or rescue polluting industries incompatible with a living planet. Rather, we need an economic recovery that builds resilience, dissolves injustices, restores our ecosystems, and leads a managed decline of fossil fuels and a justice-oriented transition towards a fair & sustainable economy. Governments should pursue economic programmes including  just trade relations that prioritize domestic needs,  dignified and decent jobs across the entire economy, including in the care economy, ecological restoration and agro-ecology,  essential services and decentralised renewable energy — all necessary for an equitable and climate-just world.
  1. Reject efforts to push so-called “structural reforms” that only serve to deepen oppression, inequality and impoverishment , including by international financial institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, who may use the pandemic to push schemes in the Global South under the guise of “shortening the time to recovery.” The neoliberal pillars of austerity, deregulation, and privatisation — especially of essential services such as water, health, education etc — have devastated people across the world and are incompatible with a just recovery.
  1. Bolster international cooperation and people to people solidarity. Global problems that respect no borders, whether they be the climate or COVID-19 crisis, can only have cooperative and equitable solutions. In a deeply unequal world, transferring technology and finance from the richest to the poorest countries is  crucial. Governments should facilitate instead of hindering the efforts of people’s movements, citizens groups, Indigenous peoples and civil society organizations to link up across borders and countries for mutual support. We also call on governments to honor their historical responsibility and stop using tactics that dismiss that responsibility and delay a strong international response, such as withholding funding from the WHO and other institutions in a time of crisis.
  1. Collaborate on the development of and unrestricted access to vaccines and any medical breakthroughs of experimental therapy drugs, led by principles of international cooperation and free distribution.  We need to ensure that any COVID-19 vaccine will reach all and that no country will be able to become a monopoly buyer, and no entity a monopoly producer.
  1. Immediately cease extractive projects, from mining to fossil fuels to industrial agriculture, including extraterritorial projects undertaken by corporations headquartered in your country, which are accelerating ecological crises, encroaching on Indigenous territories, and putting communities at risk.
  1. Reject any and all attempts to waive liability of corporations and industries. The actors that are responsible, in so many ways, for this multifaceted crisis and the broken system absolutely cannot be granted loopholes that allow them to escape responsibility for their abuses at home and across the world.
  1. Governments must not take advantage of the crisis to push through draconian measures including the expansion of police and military powers that undermine workers’ rights, repress the rights of Indigenous peoples, restrict public participation in decision-making, restrict access to sexual and reproductive health services, or institute widespread surveillance under cover of the crisis.


Global & Regional
ActionAid International
Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development
Bloque Latinoamericano Berlín
Corporate Accountability
Corporate Europe Observatory
Climate Action Network International (CAN)
Climate Justice Programme
Climate Tracker
Extinction Rebellion
Extinction Rebellion Jews
Friends of the Earth International
Fundación APY
Gender Action
Green Advocates International
Green Climate Campaign Africa (GCCA)
Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature
Global Climate Justice March
Inclusive Development International
Indigenous Environment Network
International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists
International Oil Working Group
International Rivers
kinfolk network
Minority Rights Group International
Movimento Mocambicano de Mulheres Rurais – MMMR
North African Food Sovereignty Network (NAFSN)
Observatorio Latinoamericano para la Acción Climática (OLAC)
Oil Change International
Oxfam International
Platform of Filipino Organizations in Europe
Rainforest Action Group
Refuel our Future
Society for International Development (SID)
Sovereign Stories
Third World Network
Transnational Institute
Transnational Migrant Platform-Europe
War on Want
Womankind Worldwide
Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN)
WoMin African Alliance
World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) FUMEC – ALC
Wretched of the Earth
zwei am puls / puls.earth
Abibiman Foundation
AbibiNsroma Foundation (ANF) Ghana
Actions communautaires pour le développement intégral
African Women’s Development and Communication Network – FEMNET
Alliance for Empowering Rural Communities (AERC-Ghana)
Corporate Accountability and Public Participation (CAPPA) Nigeria
Environment Governance Institute
Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria
Esaff Uganda
F.A.R.M (Femmes en Action Rurales de Madagascar)
Foundation for the Conservation of the Earth (FOCONE)
GenderCC S.A. – Women for Climate Justice
Green Climate Campaign Africa
groundWork, Friends of the Earth South Africa
Health of Mother Earth Foundation, Nigeria
Jeunes Volontaires pour l’Environnement
Les Amis de la Terre – Togo (Friends of the Earth Togo)
MuGeDe – Mulher, Genero e Desenvolvimento
National Association for Women’s Action in Development
Nkumba University School of Sciences (NUSCOS)
ONG AFAD (Association de Formation et d’Appui au Développement)
Parliamentary Forum on Climate Change Uganda
Research and Support Center for Development Alternatives – Indian Ocean (RSCDA- IO)
Regional Center for International Development Cooperation (RCIDC) Uganda
South Durban Community Environmental Alliance
Sustaining the Wild Coast
Uganda National Health User’s / Consumers Organisation (UNHCO)
Vision for Alternative Development (VALD) Ghana
Waterberg Women Advocacy Organization
Agriculture and Forestry Research & Development Centre for Mountainous Regions, Vietnam
Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women in the Philippines
Asha Parivar
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (Thailand)
Bangladesh indigenous women’s network
CLEAN (Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network), Bangladesh
Climate Crisis Emergency Action
Climate Strike Korea
Climate Watch Thailand
Consumers Association of Penang, Malaysia
دبين للتنمية البيئية Dibeen for Environmental Development
Digo Bikas Institute
Energy and Climate Policy Institute for Just Transition(ECPI), South Korea
Environics Trust
Environmental Quality Protection Foundation
Friends of the Earth Malaysia
Growthwatch, India
Korean Climate Emergency Action
Korea Government Employee Union
Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Kasama sa Kalikasan/FoE Phil
Oriang Women’s Movement Philippines
Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum
Philippine Movement for Climate Justice
PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress), Bangladesh
Resource Institute of Social Education
Revolutionary Party’s social movement committee of South Korea
Roshni Tariqiyati Tanzeem (Pakistan)
Sanlakas Philippines
Socialist Party (India)
Sukaar Welfare Organization-Pakistan
Sustainable Development Foundation: Thailand
The Centre for Social Research and Development (CSRD), Vietnam
The Glacier Trust
United Mission to Nepal
Urban Resource Centre (URC)
We Women Lanka (Sri Lanka)
Women Network for Energy and Environment (WoNEE), Nepal
Women’s Organisation for Rural Development
World Student Christian Federation (Middle East)
Youth 4 Climate Action
2degrees artivism (Portugal)
Aberdeen Climate Action
Academia Cidadã – Citizenship Academy
Artists for Palestine UK
Asamblea Antimilitarista de Madrid (Spain)
Association 3 Herissons
ATTAC España
Berkshire Women’s Action Group
BUNDjugend/Young Friends of the Earth Germany
Campaign against Climate Change
CèNTRIC gastro · El Prat de Llobregat · Barcelona
CIDES (España)
Climate SOS: Shift Our Subsidies
Climáximo (Portugal)
Desarma Madrid (Spain)
Diaspora Dialogues for the Future (UK)
Divest Strathclyde
Eco Justice Valandovo, North Macedonia
Ecologistas en Acción (Spain)
Estonian Forest Aid (Eesti Metsa Abiks)
Extinction Rebellion Aberystwyth
Extinction Rebellion Berlin-Südind Worldwide
Extinction Rebellion Bizkaia
Extinction Rebellion Cantabria
Extinction Rebellion Cornwall
Extinction Rebellion Cymru (Wales)
Extinction Rebellion Gipuzkoa
Extinction Rebellion Liverpool
Extinction Rebellion Llanidloes
Extinction Rebellion Machynlleth
Extinction Rebellion Norway
Extinction Rebellion Switzerland
Fabricants de Futur – no flag no frontier
Frack Free Sussex
Frack Off London
Friends of the Earth Scotland
Friends of the Earth Sweden/Jordens Vänner
Global Aktion
Global Justice Now
Global Justice Rebellion
Guelaya Ecologistas en acción Melilla (Spain)
Independent Left
Instituto De Estudios de la Tierra (España)
Instituto por la Paz y la Ecologia (España)
Jubilee Debt Campaign
Lidera – A Década do Clima
Limity jsme my (Czech Republic)
Madrid Agroecológico (Spain)
Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth Netherlands)
Mujeres de Negro contra la Guerra – Madrid (Spain)
Notre Affaire à tous (France)
Observatori del Deute en la Globalització (Catalunya)
On est prêt (France)
Positive Money
Programa radiofónico Toma la Tierra, Madrid
Rebelion contra la Extincion – Extinction Rebellion Spain
Red Line Campaign
Sciences Citoyennes
Scot.E3 (Employment, Energy and Environment)
Share The World’s Resources (STWR)
Transition Edinburgh
UK Youth Climate Coalition
Weald Action Group
Wen (Women’s Environmental Network)
WIDE – Network for Women´s Rights and Feminist Perspectives in Development (Austria)
Young Friends of the Earth Macedonia, North Macedonia
Zukunftskonvent Germany
North America
350 Triangle, North Carolina
ActionAid USA
Austin DSA
Berks Gas Truth
Better Path Coalition
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)
Council of Canadians, Peterborough and Kawartha
Earth Ethics, Inc.
Earth in Brackets
EnGen Collaborative
Environmental and Climate Justice Hub, University of California
Environmental Justice Coalition for Water
Extinction Rebellion Centre Wellington, Ontario
Fannie Lou Hamer Institute
Frack Free New Mexico
Friends of the Earth Canada
Friends of the Earth U.S.
Fund for Democratic Communities
Global Resilience
Good Food Jobs
Grassroots Global Justice
Harrington Investments, Inc
Indigenous Environmental Network – Turtle Island
Institute for Policy Studies Climate Policy Program
MiningWatch Canada
New Jersey student sustainability coalition
New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light
Pan American Health Organization
People for a Healthy Environment, New York
Peterborough Pollinators
Power Shift Network
Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary NGO
Resource Generation
Rising Tide Chicago
Sane Energy Project, New York
Sanford-Oquaga Area Concerned Citizens (S-OACC)
Sisters of Charity Federation
Sunflower Alliance
Sunrise Movement
Sunrise NYC
The Climate Mobilization
The Climate Mobilization Mont Co Md.
The Global Citizens’ Initiative
The Leap
The Oakland Institute
The Natural History Museum
The Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC UNITED)
Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth
United for a Fair Economy
Uplift Climate
Upper Valley Affinity Group
Weaving Earth, Center for Relational Education
WildEarth Guardians
Women Donors Network
South America
Accion Ecologica
Amigos de la Tierra Argentina
Articulacion Feminista Marcosur
CENSAT Friends of The Earth Colombia
Centro de Ciências e Tecnologia para a Soberania, Segurança alimentar alimentar e nutricional a o Direito Humano à Alimentação e Nutrição /adequadas . Nordeste. Brasil
Centro Nicaragüense de Conservación Ambiental-CENICA
Colectivo VientoSur
Critical Geography Collective, Ecuador
Foto del Buen Ayre
Fórum Mudanças Climáticas e Justiça Social – FMCJS
Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer, Argentina
La Ruta del Clima
Marcha Mundial do Clima – Brazil
Movimiento ciudadano frente al Cambio Climatico
New Bodhisattva Network
ODRI Intersectional rights – Office for the Defence of Rights and Intersectionality
Plataforma Boliviana frente al Cambio Climático//Bolivian Platform on Climate Change
TierrActiva Colombia
The Democracy Center
Union of Peoples Affected by Texaco
ActionAid Australia
Extinction Rebellion Australia
Extinction Rebellion Bondi Beach
Extinction Rebellion Sydney
Friends of the Earth Australia
Hawai’i Institute for Human Rights
Oceania Human Rights

Una Nueva Normalidad

La pandemia del COVID-19 expone un sistema económico incapaz de satisfacer las necesidades de las personas y el planeta. Nuestra única solución para abordar esta crisis global, que ocurre en medio de una devastadora crisis climática, es unirnos y construir un mundo más justo, resistente y sostenible. Como miembros y aliados de la Campaña Global para Exigir Justicia Climática, hacemos 10 demandas iniciales a los gobiernos mientras responden a la pandemia.

La palabra apocalipsis proviene de la palabra revelación. La pandemia de COVID-19 está revelando lo que la mayoría global ha sabido todo el tiempo: que el sistema económico dominante prioriza las ganancias sobre las personas y el planeta.

Con cada nuevo día de infecciones, muertes y medios de vida destruidos, la pandemia está exponiendo las graves injusticias de nuestros sistemas existentes. Años de neoliberalismo, “ajustes estructurales” y austeridad han desmantelado el estado de bienestar social, específicamente la falta de recursos financieros y el desabastecimiento de los sistemas de salud en todo el mundo. Quedamos entonces en la paradójica situación de una carencia de equipos que salvan vidas y con excedentes de ganancias de las industrias contaminantes.

Las dimensiones del sufrimiento colectivo y del trauma individual son demasiado vastas para contemplarlas. Familias que enfrentan pérdidas o el encierro en relaciones abusivas; cuerpos que enfrentan enfermedades devastadoras; comunidades que enfrentan hambre y aislamiento.

Pero la pandemia también ha demostrado nuestra enorme fuerza colectiva y las posibilidades que surgen cuando una crisis se toma en serio y las personas se unen.

Para aquellxs de nosotrxs parte del movimiento global de justicia climática, las revelaciones de la pandemia no son una sorpresa. Durante décadas, como movimientos, hemos denunciado los efectos violentos de un sistema económico mundial desigual, la devastación de una crisis climática acelerada y las formas sorprendentemente crueles en las que los menos responsables soportan las cargas más pesadas. Durante décadas, hemos exigido el fin de un status quo que fue y sigue siendo una sentencia de muerte para las personas más pobres del mundo. La crisis del coronavirus es un claro recordatorio de un prolongado pasado, y nuestra respuesta es un ensayo general para el presente y para el futuro.


Al igual que con la crisis climática, la crisis del coronavirus coloca las cargas más pesadas sobre los más vulnerables. Las personas más pobres se ven afectadas primero y de una peor manera. Esto exacerba las disparidades determinadas por la riqueza, el género, la clase, la raza,  la (dis)capacidad y otros factores interseccionales. Los costos más altos están siendo cargados por quienes son menos capaces de pagarlos, aquellas personas quienes siempre fueron condenadas a asumir los costos.

Más claramente, quienes tienen mayor riesgo de contraer la infección son aquellas personas que tienen menos capacidad para aislarse.

Un encierro significa confinamiento en nuestros hogares. Pero algunos de nosotros con contamos con un hogar o vivimos con varios miembros de la familia. Algunos de nosotros hemos sido desplazados o vivimos en campos de refugiados o en centros de detención, o no contamos con acceso a agua potable ni con alcantarillado. Para algunos de nosotros, el hogar es el lugar de violencia y abuso, y quedarnos en casa significa terminar con nuestra actividad pública sobre la cual apoyamos nuestra subsistencia diaria. Algunos de nosotrxs no podemos quedarnos en casa porque trabajamos en los sectores más cruciales y vitales, como la agricultura sin protección, incluyendo muchos agricultores de escala familiar que alimentan a más de dos tercios del mundo.

Las mujeres llevan la carga más pesada del trabajo de los cuidados en nuestro sistema actual, en el hogar, en nuestras comunidades y también en la economía, ya que son la mayoría de las trabajadoras de la salud. Esta pandemia nos ha demostrado la importancia del trabajo del cuidado, el trabajo necesario para criar familias, cocinar, limpiar y cuidar a enfermxs y ancianxs. Debemos aprovechar este momento para comprender la importancia del trabajo del cuidado y compartirlo entre todos los pueblos y construir una sociedad y una economía basadas en principios feministas que afirmen el cuidado.

En muchos países, los servicios de salud, alimentación y servicios básicos son realizados por el trabajo de migrantes, muchos de los cuales no tienen voz, ni pueden acceder a recursos públicos y la mayoría de las veces realizan su trabajo con la mínima . Las voces de los migrantes son también ignoradas en las negociaciones climáticas. En tiempos de crisis son los más vulnerables , discriminados e ignorados

Las personas más afectadas por la crisis climática – las personas en el Sur Global que han enfrentado la violencia de la degradación ambiental, sequías prolongadas y desplazamientos forzados – , ahora se han convertido en una de las poblaciones más vulnerables al contagio y sus efectos. En áreas en donde la salud de las comunidades se ha debilitado por las industrias contaminantes, lo que conlleva a una variedad de afecciones respiratorias e inmunológicas, estas personas particularmente tienen mayor riesgo frente al COVID-19.

La pandemia ya está abriendo la puerta a una gran crisis económica, con una próxima recesión que hará que la gran mayoría de la población mundial, aquella que vive día a día con medios de vida precarios, se encuentre en una condición de pobreza aún más crónica. El riesgo de hambruna y de interrupciones profundas a la soberanía alimentaria es significativo. Los países del sur están cargados de deudas ilegítimas e insostenibles, acumuladas a través de décadas de préstamos depredadores y de explotación por parte de los gobiernos del norte, las instituciones financieras internacionales y los grandes bancos en colaboración con las élites y goviernos del sur, a través de prácticas autoritarias y corruptas de los gobiernos del sur. La priorización de los pagos de estas deudas ha tenido un alto costo en los servicios públicos y continúa asumiendo una gran parte del gasto público que debería asignarse a financiar las respuestas de salud pública a la pandemia.

Una Encrucijada

Nos encontramos en una encrucijada. Durante años, hemos exigido “cambiar el sistema, no el clima”. El cambio de sistema ahora parece más necesario que nunca, y más posible. Las reglas del juego están cambiando rápidamente. El cambio es inevitable.

La pregunta es: ¿qué tipo de cambio se está desarrollando? ¿Qué tipo de sistema está surgiendo? ¿Qué dirección tomará el cambio?

La gente en el poder está aprovechando la crisis para fortalecer el capitalismo del desastre y un nuevo autoritarismo, expandiendo los poderes policiales y militares, y acelerando los proyectos extractivos. Muchos gobiernos están aprovechando la oportunidad para impulsar medidas draconianas, vigilar a la población, socavar los derechos de los trabajadores, reprimir los derechos de los pueblos indígenas restringir la participación en la toma de decisiones, restringir el acceso a los servicios de salud sexual y reproductiva e instituir una vigilancia generalizada. En el peor de los casos, los actores represivos están utilizando el momento de inestabilidad política para sofocar violentamente la disidencia, legitimar el racismo, el fundamentalismo religioso, expandir las fronteras mineras depredadoras y ejecutar a los defensores y defensoras de la tierra.

Pero la crisis de la que están haciendo uso también representa una oportunidad para que nuestros movimientos den forma al futuro emergente. Nuestros movimientos conocen el camino a seguir, el tipo de mundo que necesitamos construir. En todo el mundo, las personas se están dando cuenta de que nuestro sistema económico dominante no satisface las necesidades de las personas. Están viendo claramente que las corporaciones y el mercado no nos salvarán. Se están dando cuenta de que cuando una crisis se toma en serio, los gobiernos son capaces de tomar medidas audaces y movilizar enormes recursos para enfrentarla. Los límites de lo posible pueden ser radicalmente sacudidos y reescritos. En cuestión de semanas, las propuestas de políticas que han sido largas campañas en muchos contextos (el fin de los desalojos, la liberación de prisionerxs, la audaz redistribución económica, por nombrar solo algunas) se han convertido en respuestas de sentido común y popularizadas. 

Estamos viviendo un momento político convulsivo pero muy fértil. Nuestro mundo ha sido forzado a la solidaridad por un virus que ignora todas las fronteras; nuestra profunda interdependencia nunca ha sido más innegable.

En una crisis como esta, repensar y reinventar nuestro modelo económico es ineludible. Las soluciones resilientes y basadas en la justicia no solo son posibles, sino la única solución real.

Ahora está claro que necesitamos una respuesta de solidaridad, equidad y cuidado, con una inversión pública masiva que ponga a las personas y al planeta en primer lugar, no a las industrias contaminantes. Las recuperaciones basadas en la justicia y los nuevos acuerdos globales y nacionales para construir una economía regenerativa, distributiva y resiliente son necesarios y cada vez más políticamente factibles.

La Lucha por una Nueva Normalidad

No volveremos a una normalidad en la que el sufrimiento de muchxs aseguran los lujos de pocos. Si bien los políticos presionarán por una rápida reanudación del statu quo, no podemos volver a la normalidad, como han afirmado los movimientos sociales, cuando esa normalidad estaba matando gente y el planeta.

Nuestros movimientos de justicia climática se encuentran en una situación arriesgada y prometedora. La urgencia del colapso climático está pasando desapercibido, incluso cuando la violencia climática es implacable, expresada más recientemente en tormentas devastadoras en todo el Pacífico, incendios forestales en China y lluvias torrenciales en Colombia. A menos que tomemos este momento político, la acción climática estará en un segundo plano, y las economías en el rico Norte serán reforzadas y revividas con inversiones sucias que profundizan la crisis climática. Debemos tener atención y perseverancia y para asegurarnos de que abordar la crisis climática esté al frente y el centro de los rescates financieros y de los programas para garantizar la resiliencia de la sociedad y de todos los pueblos.

Nuestros movimientos tienen una experiencia que es invaluable en este momento. Si bien COVID-19 y la crisis climática pueden tener diferentes causas directas, sus causas fundamentales son las mismas: la dependencia del mercado, una falla del estado para abordar las amenazas a largo plazo, la ausencia de protección social y un modelo económico general que protege las inversiones sobre las vidas y el planeta. El mismo sistema extractivista que extrae, quema y destruye ecosistemas, es el mismo sistema que permite la propagación de patógenos peligrosos. Las soluciones para el COVID-19 y las crisis climáticas son las mismas: solidaridad, redistribución, colaboración, equidad y protección social. Es nuestra oportunidad y responsabilidad unir estos puntos y utilizar este momento político para enfrentar el poder corporativo y construir una sociedad más justa y sostenible.

Los Horizontes Que Podemos Reclamar

La pandemia ha cambiado el juego. Tenemos los recursos para construir un modelo económico que no destruya el planeta y provea para todxs. Tenemos el impulso para recuperarnos de esta crisis de una manera que fortalezca nuestra capacidad de recuperación y fortalezca nuestra dignidad como sociedades. Ahora es nuestro momento de reclamarlo.

Como miembros de la Campaña Global para Exigir Justicia Climática, exigimos una respuesta audaz y efectiva a la pandemia de COVID-19 que simultáneamente ayude a abordar la crisis climática más amplia y a transformar el sistema económico desigual que ha llevado a ambas. 

Exigimos que los gobiernos:

  1. Prioricen la salud y el bienestar de las personas. La gente debe estar valorada por sobre las ganancias, porque una economía no tiene valor sin su gente. Nadie es desechable. Financien y proporcionen recursos a los servicios de salud, asegurando la atención para todxs, sin excepción. Los gobiernos también deben priorizar la inversión robusta en otros servicios públicos esenciales, como el refugio seguro, el agua, la alimentación y el saneamiento. Estos servicios no solo son esenciales para detener la propagación de la enfermedad a largo plazo, sino que son obligaciones fundamentales de los gobiernos; respetar, proteger y cumplir los derechos humanos para todxs. Por lo tanto, no deben privatizarse y, en cambio, deben gestionarse de manera equitativa y públicamente responsable.
  1. Garanticen la protección de las poblaciones marginadas. Brindar ayuda, protección social y ayuda a las poblaciones rurales y a las familias que las componen, que están a la vanguardia de la alimentación de nuestro mundo. También se debe garantizar una protección especial a los derechos sociales y humanos de todas las personas que se encuentran en circunstancias vulnerables y precarias, como las de personas sin hogar, personas en prisión, refugiadxs y migrantes, ancianxs en cuidados domiciliarios, huérfanxs y especialmente defensores y defensoras del medio ambiente que ahora están siendo asesinadxs con mayor frecuencia bajo la cobertura de la emergencia COVID-19.
  1. Emitan medidas económicas y sociales inmediatas para proporcionar ayuda y seguridad a todxs, particularmente a los grupos más vulnerables y marginados de nuestras sociedades. Proteger los derechos laborales y garantizar la protección de todos los y las trabajadores/as, desde la economía formal hasta la informal garantizando un salario básico universal. Reconozcan, visibilicen y valoren el trabajo del cuidado,  que es el trabajo real que nos sostiene durante esta crisis.
  1. Los gobiernos deben cancelar los subsidios a los combustibles fósiles, y reorientar los fondos públicos lejos de los complejos industriales-militares y de las corporaciones privadas y utilizarlos en su lugar para garantizar el acceso a energía limpia, agua y servicios públicos importantes para el bienestar de las comunidades.
  1. Hacemos un llamado a la inmediata suspensión de los pagos de la deuda de los países del sur correspondientes al 2020 y 2021 sin intereses o penalidades, para que esos fondos puedan ser usados por los servicios de salud para combatir el COVID 19 y para la asistencia económica a comunidades en donde las personas están enfrentado las mayores dificultades ante la pandemia. La sola suspensión de la deuda no es suficiente y simplemente retrasará el dolor que significa su pago. También exigimos el comienzo inmediato de un proceso internacional independiente para abordar la deuda ilegítima e insostenible para encontrar soluciones para  la suspensión incondicional de la deuda para los países del sur.
  1. Los países del sur deben también transformar su sistema tributario, aboliendo las vacaciones fiscales para las corporaciones multinacionales que socavan los ingresos, y abolir el impuesto al valor agregado de los impuestos a los servicios y bienes básicos. Se deben tomar pasos inmediatos para prohibir los flujos financieros ilícitos y los paraísos fiscales.
  1. Apoyen una transición justa y una recuperación de la crisis a largo plazo, y asuman la crisis como una oportunidad para cambiar hacia economías socialmente justas resilientes al cambio climático y con cero emisiones. No podemos permitirnos rescates financieros que simplemente llenen los bolsillos de las corporaciones o rescaten las industrias contaminantes incompatibles con un planeta vivo. Por el contrario, necesitamos una recuperación económica que desarrolle resiliencia, acabe con las injusticias, restaure nuestros ecosistemas y lidere una disminución controlada de los combustibles fósiles y una transición orientada hacia una economía justa y sostenible. Los gobiernos deben priorizar los programas económicos que incluyan relaciones de comercio justo que prioricen las necesidades domésticas, ofreciendo empleos dignos y decentes a través de toda la economía incluyendo la economía del cuidado, la restauración ecológica, la agroecología, los servicios esenciales y una matriz energética renovable descentralizada necesarios para un mundo climáticamente justo.
  1. Rechacen los esfuerzos para impulsar las llamadas “reformas estructurales” que solo sirven para profundizar la opresión, la desigualdad y el empobrecimiento, incluyendo aquellos por parte de instituciones financieras internacionales como el Banco Mundial y el Fondo Monetario Internacional, que pueden utilizar la pandemia para impulsar esquemas en el Sur Global bajo el pretexto de “acortar el tiempo de recuperación”. Los pilares neoliberales de austeridad, desregulación y privatización, especialmente de servicios esenciales como agua, salud, educación, etc., han devastado a las personas en todo el mundo y son incompatibles con una recuperación justa.
  1. Refuercen la cooperación internacional y la solidaridad entre pueblos. Los problemas globales que no respetan fronteras, ya sea el clima o la crisis COVID-19, solo pueden tener soluciones cooperativas y equitativas. En un mundo profundamente desigual, es crucial transferir tecnología y recursos económicos de los países más ricos a los más pobres. Los gobiernos deben facilitar en lugar de  ocultar los esfuerzos de los movimientos de la gente, los grupos ciudadanos los pueblos indígenas y las organizaciones de la sociedad civil para enlazar la cooperación mutua más allá de las fronteras y los países. También llamamos a los gobiernos a que cumplan con su responsabilidad histórica y que dejen de usar tácticas que descartan esa responsabilidad y retrasan una fuerte respuesta internacional, – como retener fondos de la OMS y otras instituciones en tiempos de crisis.
  1. Colaboren en el desarrollo y el acceso irrestricto a las vacunas y a los avances médicos de los medicamentos de terapia experimental, liderados por los principios de cooperación internacional y distribución gratuita. Necesitamos garantizar que todas las vacunas del COVID 19 lleguen a todxs, ningún gobierno puede monopolizar su compra, ni ninguna entidad su producción. 
  1. Dejen de inmediato los proyectos extractivos, desde la minería hasta los combustibles fósiles y la agricultura industrial, incluidos los proyectos extraterritoriales realizados por corporaciones con sede en su país, que están acelerando las crisis ecológicas, invadiendo territorios indígenas, y poniendo en riesgo a las comunidades.
  1. Rechacen cualquier intento de las corporaciones e industrias a renunciar a su responsabilidad. Los actores que son responsables, en muchos sentidos, de esta crisis multifacética y un sistema roto no pueden tener lagunas que les permitan escapar de la responsabilidad de sus abusos a nivel doméstico y en todo el mundo.
  1. Los gobiernos no deben aprovechar esta crisis para impulsar medidas draconianas incluyendo la expansión de los poderes de la policía y los militares que vulneran los derechos de los trabajadores, reprimen los pueblos indígenas, restringen la participación pública en la toma de decisiones, restringen  el acceso a los servicios de salud sexual y reproductiva, o amplían la vigilancia encubierta en esta crisis.


La pandémie de COVID-19 expose un système économique incapable de répondre aux besoins des populations et de la planète. Notre seule solution pour faire face à cette crise mondiale, qui survient au milieu d’une crise climatique dévastatrice, est de nous unir et de construire un monde plus juste, plus résistant et plus durable. En tant que membres et alliés de la Campagne mondiale pour exiger la justice climatique, nous formulons une première série de demandes aux gouvernements dans le cadre de leur réponse à la pandémie.

Le mot apocalypse vient du mot « révélation ». La pandémie de COVID-19 révèle ce que la majorité mondiale sait depuis le début : que le système économique dominant privilégie les profits au détriment des gens et de la planète.

Avec chaque nouveau jour d’infections, de décès et de destruction des moyens de subsistance, la pandémie met en évidence les injustices flagrantes de nos systèmes existants. Des années de néolibéralisme, « d’ajustement structurel » et d’austérité ont démantelé l’État-providence social, en sous-finançant et en vidant particulièrement les systèmes de santé dans le monde entier. Nous nous retrouvons avec des déficits en matière d’équipements de sauvetage et des excédents d’industries polluantes. 

Les dimensions de la souffrance collective et du traumatisme individuel qui se déploient sont trop vastes à envisager. Des familles confrontées à la perte ou au confinement dans des relations abusives ; des corps confrontés à des maladies dévastatrices ; des communautés confrontées à la faim et à l’isolement. 

Mais la pandémie a également montré notre énorme force collective et les possibilités qui se présentent lorsqu’une crise est prise au sérieux et que les gens se rassemblent. 

Pour ceux d’entre nous qui font partie du mouvement mondial pour la justice climatique, la propagation de la pandémie n’est pas une surprise. Depuis des décennies, en tant que mouvements, nous dénonçons les effets violents d’un système économique mondial inégal, les ravages d’une crise climatique qui s’accélère et la manière scandaleusement cruelle dont les moins responsables en portent le plus lourd fardeau. Depuis des décennies, nous exigeons la fin d’un statu quo qui était et continue d’être une condamnation à mort pour les plus pauvres du monde. La crise du coronavirus est un rappel brutal d’un passé prolongé, et notre réponse à cette crise est une répétition générale pour le présent et l’avenir. 

La justice 

Comme pour la crise climatique, la crise COVID-19 fait peser le plus lourd fardeau sur les personnes les plus vulnérables. Les plus pauvres sont les premiers et les plus touchés. La crise accentue les disparités liées à la richesse, au sexe, à la classe sociale, à la race, à la (in)capacité et à d’autres facteurs. Les coûts les plus élevés sont supportés par ceux qui sont le moins en mesure de les payer et qui ont toujours été condamnés à supporter de tels coûts.

Il est clair que les personnes les plus exposées au risque d’infection sont celles qui sont le moins capables de s’isoler. 

Le confinement signifie l’enfermement dans nos maisons. Mais certains d’entre nous sont sans domicile, ou vivent avec plusieurs membres de la famille et parents dans une seule maison. Certains d’entre nous sont dans des camps de personnes déplacées ou de réfugiés, ou dans des centres de détention, ou n’ont pas accès à l’eau courante et aux installations sanitaires. Pour certains d’entre nous, la maison est le lieu de la violence et des abus, et rester à la maison signifie la fin de l’activité publique sur laquelle nous comptons pour notre subsistance quotidienne. Certains d’entre nous ne peuvent pas rester à la maison parce qu’ils travaillent, sans protection, dans les secteurs les plus cruciaux et les plus vitaux comme l’agriculture, et notamment un grand nombre d’agriculteurs de subsistance et d’agriculteurs familiaux qui nourrissent plus des deux tiers de la population mondiale.

Les femmes et les jeunes filles sont les plus touchées par le travail de soins dans notre système actuel, à la maison, dans nos communautés et aussi dans l’économie, car elles constituent la majorité des travailleurs de la santé. Cette pandémie nous a montré l’importance du travail de soins, le travail nécessaire pour élever les familles, pour cuisiner et nettoyer et pour prendre soin des malades et des personnes âgées.  Elle nous a montré l’impact profond du manque de services publics et d’institutions sociales pour le travail de soins.  Nous devons profiter de ce moment pour comprendre l’importance du travail de soins, le partager entre tous les peuples, et construire une société et une économie qui prennent en charge le travail de soins sur la base de principes féministes et d’affirmation des soins.

Les secteurs de la santé, de l’alimentation et des services de base d’un grand nombre de pays sont soutenus par la main-d’œuvre migrante, dont beaucoup n’ont pas de voix et pas de recours aux fonds publics, et sont souvent les moins protégés. Les voix des migrants sont également le plus souvent ignorées dans les discussions sur le climat. En temps de crise, qu’il s’agisse de santé ou de calamités naturelles, ils sont parmi les plus vulnérables, discriminés et ignorés.

Les populations les plus touchées par la crise climatique, à savoir les populations du Sud qui ont fait face à la violence, à la dégradation de l’environnement, aux sécheresses prolongées et aux déplacements forcés, sont désormais parmi les populations les plus vulnérables à la contagion et à ses effets. Dans les régions où la santé des communautés a été affaiblie par les industries polluantes ayant entraîné toute une série de problèmes respiratoires et immunologiques, les gens sont particulièrement exposés au COVID-19.

La pandémie ouvre déjà la porte à une crise économique majeure, avec une récession prochaine qui amènera la grande majorité de la population mondiale qui vit au quotidien avec des moyens de subsistance précaires, à vivre dans une pauvreté encore plus chronique. Le risque de famine et de profondes perturbations de la souveraineté alimentaire est énorme. Les pays du Sud sont accablés d’une dette illégitime et insoutenable, laquelle a été accumulée au cours de décennies de prêts exploiteurs et prédateurs par les gouvernements du Nord, les institutions financières internationales et les grandes banques en collaboration avec les élites du Sud et les gouvernements du Sud aux pratiques autoritaires et corrompues. La priorité accordée au paiement de ces dettes a fait payer un lourd tribut aux services publics, et continue d’absorber une part énorme des dépenses publiques qui devraient plutôt être affectées aux réponses de santé publique à la pandémie.

À la croisée des chemins

Nous sommes à la croisée des chemins. Depuis des années, nous demandons « un changement de système et non pas un changement de climat ». Le changement de système semble maintenant plus nécessaire que jamais, et plus possible. Les règles du jeu changent rapidement. Les bouleversements sont inévitables.

La question est de savoir quel type de changement est en train de se produire. Quel type de système émergera ? Quelle direction prendra le changement ?

Les puissants profitent de la crise pour faire avancer le capitalisme de catastrophe et un nouvel autoritarisme, s’accordent des pouvoirs policiers et militaires étendus, et se précipitent dans des projets d’extraction. De nombreux gouvernements saisissent l’occasion pour faire adopter des mesures draconiennes, contrôler la population, saper les droits des travailleurs, réprimer les droits des peuples autochtones, restreindre la participation du public à la prise de décision, limiter l’accès aux services de santé sexuelle et reproductive et instituer une surveillance généralisée. Dans les pires situations, les acteurs répressifs profitent du moment d’instabilité politique pour réprimer violemment la dissidence, légitimer le racisme et le fondamentalisme religieux, faire avancer les frontières minières prédatrices, et exécuter les défenseurs des terres.

Mais la crise dont ils se servent, offre également une opportunité pour nos mouvements de façonner l’avenir émergent. Nos mouvements connaissent la voie à suivre, le type de monde qu’ils doivent construire. Partout dans le monde, les gens se rendent compte que notre système économique dominant ne répond pas aux besoins des gens. Ils voient clairement que les entreprises et le marché ne nous sauveront pas. Ils constatent que lorsqu’une crise est prise au sérieux, les gouvernements sont capables de prendre des mesures audacieuses et de mobiliser d’énormes ressources pour y faire face. Les limites du possible peuvent être radicalement ébranlées et réécrites. En quelques semaines, les propositions politiques longtemps défendues dans de nombreux contextes (fin des expulsions, libération des prisonniers, redistribution économique audacieuse, pour n’en citer que quelques-unes) sont devenues des réponses raisonnables et acceptables.

Nous vivons un moment politique violent mais très fertile. Notre monde a été contraint à la solidarité par un virus qui ignore toutes les frontières ; notre profonde interdépendance n’a jamais été aussi indéniable.

Dans une telle crise, il est inévitable de repenser et de réimaginer notre modèle économique. Des solutions résistantes et fondées sur la justice sont non seulement possibles, mais les seules véritables solutions.

Il est désormais clair que nous avons besoin d’une réponse fondée sur la solidarité, l’équité et les soins, et soutenue par des investissements publics massifs qui mettent les gens et la planète au premier plan, et non les industries polluantes et les profiteurs. Des reprises justes et de nouveaux accords mondiaux et nationaux pour construire une économie régénératrice, distributive et résiliente sont à la fois nécessaires et de plus en plus politiquement réalisables.

La lutte pour une nouvelle normalité

Nous ne reviendrons pas à une situation normale dans laquelle la souffrance du plus grand nombre garantissait le luxe de quelques-uns. Alors que les politiciens feront pression pour une reprise rapide du statu quo, nous ne pouvons pas revenir à la normale, comme l’ont affirmé les mouvements sociaux, car cette normale tuait les gens et la planète.

Nos mouvements pour la justice climatique sont dans une situation à la fois périlleuse et prometteuse. L’urgence de la dégradation du climat est passée inaperçue, alors même que la violence climatique est implacable, ce qui s’est exprimé tout récemment par des tempêtes dévastatrices dans le Pacifique, des incendies de forêt en Chine et des pluies torrentielles en Colombie. Si nous ne saisissons pas ce moment politique, l’action en faveur du climat sera mise en veilleuse et les économies des pays riches du Nord seront dynamisées et relancées par des investissements sales qui aggraveront la crise climatique. Nous devons être vigilants et persévérants pour que la lutte contre la crise climatique soit au cœur des plans de sauvetage et des programmes visant à garantir la résilience de la société et de tous les peuples.

Nos mouvements disposent d’une expertise qui est inestimable en ce moment. Si COVID-19 et la crise climatique peuvent avoir des causes directes différentes, leurs causes profondes sont les mêmes : une dépendance au marché, une incapacité de l’État à faire face aux menaces à long terme, l’absence de protection sociale et un modèle économique global qui privilégie les investissements par rapport aux vies et à la planète. Le même système extractiviste qui extrait, brûle et détruit les écosystèmes, est le même système qui permet aux pathogènes dangereux de se propager. Les solutions au COVID-19 et aux crises climatiques sont les mêmes : solidarité, redistribution, collaboration, équité et protection sociale. Nous avons la possibilité et la responsabilité de combler les lacunes, et de profiter de ce moment politique pour affronter le pouvoir des entreprises et construire une société plus juste et plus durable.

Les horizons que nous pouvons revendiquer

La pandémie a changé la donne. Nous détenons les ressources pour construire un modèle économique qui ne détruise pas la planète et qui pourvoit aux besoins de tous. Nous poursuivons l’élan pour sortir de cette crise de manière à renforcer notre résilience et notre dignité en tant que sociétés. Le moment est venu pour saisir l’élan impulsé.

En tant que membres de la Campagne mondiale pour exiger la justice climatique, nous exigeons une réponse audacieuse à la pandémie de COVID-19 qui permette à la fois de s’attaquer à la crise climatique au sens large et de transformer le système économique inégal qui a provoqué ces deux phénomènes.

Nous exigeons que les gouvernements :

  1. Donnent la priorité à la santé et au bien-être des gens. Il faut toujours privilégier les gens par rapport au profit, car une économie ne vaut rien sans ses populations. Personne n’est jetable. Il faut entièrement financer et doter de ressources les services et systèmes de santé, en garantissant des soins pour tous, sans exception. Les gouvernements doivent également donner la priorité à des investissements solides dans d’autres services publics essentiels, tels que le logement sûr, l’eau, la nourriture et l’assainissement. Ces services sont non seulement essentiels pour endiguer la propagation de la maladie à long terme, mais ils sont au cœur de l’obligation des gouvernements de respecter, protéger et réaliser les droits de l’homme pour tous. C’est pourquoi ils ne doivent pas être privatisés mais doivent au contraire être gérés de manière équitable et responsable vis-à-vis du public.
  2. Garantissent la protection des populations marginalisées. Il faut fournir une aide, une protection sociale et un secours aux populations rurales et aux familles qui les composent, qui sont en première ligne pour nourrir notre monde. Une protection spéciale doit également être garantie pour les droits sociaux et humains de toutes les personnes placées dans des situations vulnérables et précaires, comme les sans-abri, les gens en prison, les réfugiés et les migrants, les personnes âgées en foyer, les orphelins, et surtout les défenseurs de l’environnement qui sont aujourd’hui assassinés encore plus fréquemment sous le couvert de l’urgence COVID-19.
  3. Prennent des mesures économiques et sociales immédiates pour apporter secours et sécurité à tous, en particulier aux groupes les plus vulnérables et marginalisés de nos sociétés. Il faut protéger les droits du travail et garantir la protection de tous les travailleurs, de l’économie formelle à l’économie informelle, et garantir un revenu de base universel. Il faut reconnaître, rendre visible et valoriser tout le travail de soins, le vrai travail qui nous soutient pendant cette crise.
    • Cessent de subventionner les combustibles fossiles et réorientent les fonds publics utilisés par le complexe militaro-industriel et les entreprises privées, vers l’accès à l’énergie propre, à l’eau et aux services publics importants pour le bien-être des communautés.
    • Annulent immédiatement les paiements de la dette des pays du Sud dus en 2020 et 2021, sans accumulation d’intérêts ni de pénalités, afin que les fonds puissent être affectés aux services de santé dans la lutte contre le COVID19 et à l’aide économique aux communautés et aux personnes qui sont confrontées à des difficultés plus grandes face à la pandémie et aux réponses. Une simple suspension des paiements ne suffit pas, et ne fera que retarder la douleur du service de la dette. Nous exigeons également le lancement immédiat d’un processus international indépendant pour traiter les dettes illégitimes et insoutenables et les crises de la dette afin d’ouvrir la voie à une annulation inconditionnelle de la dette pour tous les pays du Sud.
    • Transforment également les systèmes fiscaux, en supprimant les congés fiscaux pour les sociétés multinationales qui sapent les revenus, et en abolissant la taxe sur la valeur ajoutée et les taxes sur les biens et services liés aux produits de base. Il faut prendre des mesures immédiates pour mettre fin aux flux financiers illicites et fermer les paradis fiscaux.
  1. Soutiennent une transition et une reprise justes à long terme pour sortir de la crise, et saisissent l’occasion de passer à des économies équitables, socialement justes, résistantes au climat et sans carbone. Nous ne pouvons pas nous permettre des renflouements qui ne font que remplir les poches des entreprises ou sauver des industries polluantes incompatibles avec une planète vivante. Nous avons plutôt besoin d’une reprise économique qui renforce la résilience, dissout les injustices, restaure nos écosystèmes et entraîne un déclin maîtrisé des combustibles fossiles et une transition axée sur la justice vers une économie équitable et durable. Les gouvernements devraient poursuivre des programmes économiques fondés sur des relations commerciales justes qui donnent la priorité aux besoins intérieurs et aux emplois dignes et décents dans l’ensemble de l’économie, notamment l’économie des soins, la restauration écologique et l’agro-écologie, les services essentiels et l’énergie renouvelable décentralisé. Tous ces éléments sont nécessaires pour un monde équitable et juste sur le plan climatique.
  2. Rejettent les efforts visant à promouvoir des « réformes structurelles » qui ne font qu’aggraver l’oppression, les inégalités et l’appauvrissement, y compris ceux des institutions financières internationales telles que la Banque mondiale et le Fonds monétaire international, qui pourraient utiliser la pandémie pour promouvoir des projets dans les pays du Sud sous le prétexte de « réduire le temps nécessaire vers la reprise ». Les piliers néolibéraux de l’austérité, de la déréglementation et de la privatisation, en particulier des services essentiels tels que l’eau, la santé, et l’éducation, ont dévasté les populations du monde entier et sont incompatibles avec une juste reprise.
  3. Renforcent la coopération internationale et la solidarité entre les peuples. Les problèmes mondiaux qui ne respectent aucune frontière, tels que la crise climatique ou la crise COVID-19, ne peuvent avoir que des solutions coopératives et équitables. Dans un monde profondément inégalitaire, le transfert de technologie et de finances des pays les plus riches vers les pays les plus pauvres est crucial. Les gouvernements devraient faciliter plutôt qu’entraver les efforts des mouvements populaires, des groupes de citoyens, des peuples autochtones et des organisations de la société civile pour établir des liens au-delà des frontières et des pays afin de se soutenir mutuellement. Nous demandons également aux gouvernements d’honorer leur responsabilité historique et de cesser d’utiliser des tactiques qui rejettent cette responsabilité et retardent une réponse internationale forte, comme par exemple la retenue des fonds de l’OMS et des autres institutions en temps de crise.
  4. Collaborent à la mise au point de vaccins et à l’accès illimité à ceux-ci, ainsi qu’à toute percée médicale de médicaments de thérapie expérimentale, guidés par des principes de coopération internationale et de distribution gratuite.  Nous devons nous assurer que tout vaccin COVID-19 sera accessible à tous et qu’aucun pays ne pourra être le seul acheteur, et aucune entité le seul producteur.
  5. Cessent immédiatement les projets d’extraction, de l’exploitation minière aux combustibles fossiles en passant par l’agriculture industrielle, y compris les projets extraterritoriaux entrepris par des sociétés ayant leur siège dans votre pays, qui accélèrent les crises écologiques, empiètent sur les territoires indigènes et mettent les communautés en danger.
  6. Rejettent toute tentative d’exonération de responsabilité des entreprises et des industries. Les acteurs qui sont responsables, à bien des égards, de cette crise aux multiples facettes et du système déficient, ne peuvent absolument pas se voir accorder des échappatoires leur permettant d’échapper à la responsabilité de leurs abus dans leur pays et dans le monde entier.
  7. Ne profitent pas de la crise pour faire adopter des mesures draconiennes, notamment l’extension des pouvoirs de la police et de l’armée qui sapent les droits des travailleurs, répriment les droits des peuples autochtones, restreignent la participation du public à la prise de décision, limitent l’accès aux services de santé sexuelle et reproductive ou instituent une surveillance généralisée sous couvert de la crise.

This Is [Not] The End

The diplomats who run UNFCCC climate negotiations are fond of doing what they call a “stock take” every once in a while. As we wait and wait for the final COP25 plenary to begin, a day into overtime, let’s do the same.

We came to Madrid with the situation in Chile in our minds and hearts. We have tried to echo the demands of the streets in the halls of power, as have many others.

At every opportunity we told the COP25 Presidency that we stand in solidarity with the movements in Chile. We supported their demand that Chile stop all repression of peaceful protestors, and take responsibility for human rights violations committed. We also supported calls for the government to establish a constituent assembly.

Chilean movements are clear in their opposition to an economic system which creates and perpetuates inequality. The same system is pouring fuel on the flames of the climate crisis – all around the world.


COP cazeloraso

We marched with 500,000 others against such a system.

And we took the anger of the streets into the halls of power. Because as climate justice movements we are for the many, not the few.

For this the UN security ripped our banners away, shouted at us and kettled us. Over 300 of us were pushed outside, into the cold, before finally being taken outside the venue, to a militarised police escort, before being split up and made to wait.

This all happened a matter of hours after Greta Thunberg gave a powerful speech to the conference, in which she said:

In just three weeks we will enter a new decade. This coming decade will define our future. Right now we are desperate for any sign of hope. Well I am telling you there is hope. I have seen it. But it does not come from governments or corporations. It comes from the people.

Of course this wasn’t the first or last action that we took.

No Ambition

Arriving in Madrid we knew that time is running out. A new decade is weeks away. We lamented the loss of the previous decade to inaction and distraction.

We hoped that when countries took stock of their climate actions prior to 2020 they would see the shocking gulf between what they’ve done what what they needed to have done. And then *do* something about it. But just like in 2014, 2016, and 2018, we sat through yet another pointless talk-shop. Neither the COP President nor the UNFCCC offered a process for this ‘stock take’ to lead to anything concrete.

Developing countries proposed to set up a work programme to properly examine the actions taken during pre-2020 period and bridge the “implementation gap.”

It’s good to see a few more people here than at the technical pre-2020 stocktake. Tellingly the room is a lot less crowded that the plenary with Greta this morning. Priorities, right?

In that plenary we heard for the umpteenth time that we have an extremely limited amount of time in which to completely transform our economy and societies.

We’ve already glimpsed the horrors that await us if we don’t – a world on fire and battered by storms. An even less equitable world, less able to react properly to this emergency.

What we haven’t seen is any serious response. Developed countries were supposed to lead but have done next to nothing since 1990. UNEP talks about a lost decade; we should actually talk about 3 lost decades.

It is very hard to build trust with broken promises. I said it at the last plenary: it is a joke that 7 years after it was agreed, Parties have still not ratified the Doha Amendment. The Paris Agreement was ratified in under a year.

We enter the Paris Agreement carrying the failings of the recent past and present. Both mitigation and finance has been wholly inadequate in pre-2020, and sets us up for post-2020 action which will be more challenging, and less fair. 

So here’s a question: How can we expect anything from the Paris Agreement if pre-2020 agreements have been cast aside? 

Here’s another: what’s the point of distant, loophole-ridden, false-zero 2050 targets such as the UK’s, when pre-2020 action has been forgotten? Today’s leaders won’t be alive, let alone in power in 2050. We know your 2050 pledges are just more lies.

For these reasons, we echo the proposal by LMDC, supported by Africa Group, Arab group, and others, for COP25 to mandate a work programme on closing the pre-2020 implementation gaps on mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology, and capacity building and to close those gaps. We need more ideas like this.

We don’t need any more conversations or reflections. Do your fair share.

No Accountability

We have another potentially useful tool to assess and hold northern countries accountable for the climate action they have or haven’t taken before 2020. It’s called the 2nd Periodic Review. The last report of this kind produced language about 1.5 and 2 degrees goals which eventually made its way into the Paris Agreement.

But developed countries were aware of this and made proposals which would make the 2nd Review yet another meaningless talk-shop. The US proposed to cancel the review, and when that was not a viable option proposed to narrow the scope to just science. The EU tried to remove the words “assess” and “adequacy” from the text.

Instead the text includes a very watered down phase, “aggregate effect,” which could mean individual country’s commitments can’t be singled out. So there’s no way to hold polluters to account.

“Article 6”

The main course for the past 2 weeks, leaving us all with indigestion, was a re-heated dish called “Article 6.” Or, as it has come to be known, “how to pollute more and get away with it” (for background, read above).

Article 6 emerged from negotiations on how countries could work together to reduce emissions. But many polluting countries have fixated on carbon trading and offsetting. Which is frustrating, as these approaches have failed to reduce carbon emissions, and have detrimentally impacted human rights while simultaneously commodifying nature.

These discussions are highly contentious and highly complex. This issue nearly scuppered the COP24 last year in Poland and could potentially do so for real this time. Under pressure to reach any agreement, countries risk landing on a bad agreement. In such a case we think that no deal is better.

Some of the main issues of contention, still unresolved at 4am on Sunday 15 December, are:

  • whether or not to include language about respecting human rights, indigenous rights, and gender safeguards
  • whether or not to carry over carbon credits from a previous trading scheme
  • whether or not to allow for carried credits to be sold or used by the country that generated them
  • how to conduct “corresponding adjustments” to countries emissions’ data after a trade, in order to avoid “double counting” of emissions reductions
  • whether or not to include metrics other than reductions in greenhouse gases in the mechanism
  • whether or not to allow for all forms of greenhouse gas removal, rather than merely “removals by sinks”
  • how to take the conversation forward on “non-market approaches” to collaboration
  • whether or not some “share of proceeds” from profit generated by the new mechanism would go towards the Adaptation Fund
  • whether or not some of the emission reductions generated through the mechanism remain unused by any entity to compensate other emissions, to achieve “overall reduction in global emissions.”

On Friday night the “landing zone” for these questions resembled a sort of crash-site. Human rights are probably in, but in an annex. We think that either carry overs or double counting will make it in. But the countries basically do not agree at all and everyone is saying they won’t back down.

Loss and damage refers to how we deal with the impacts of climate breakdown that are already happening and cannot be avoided. Sudden disasters and slow onset events like droughts lead to loss of lives and livelihoods, but also loss and heritage and culture.

Negotiators disappeared behind closed doors early on and stayed there. Developing countries were very active and put forward their ideas in writing. This directed discussions more towards concrete implementation than ever before. Many civil society groups also advanced the idea of setting up a loss and damage finance facility.

However, rich countries repeatedly blocked loss and damage finance. The US in particular played a lead role in wrecking this lifeline plan for the world’s poor. They proposed to insert a no liability or compensation clause into the Paris Agreement. This would give historical polluters blanket protection against any liability and compensation claims.

The proposal was too hot to leave to technical negotiators and so went to the COP25 Presidency to sort out at a higher level.

The small islands made a rather weak proposal which didn’t include a finance facility. Instead they asked for a ‘window’ under the Green Climate Fund (one of the UNFCCC’s multilateral funding mechanisms). Other proposals watered down demands for “new and additional” finance from the historic polluter countries – seemingly in exchange for getting sort term relief on the ground.

Eventually they produced a draft text that would:

  • Establish a long-overdue “Expert Group” by 2020
  • Establish a “Santiago Network” to catalyse technical assistance
  • Contain no language on new and additional finance
  • “Urge” developed nations to “scale up” finance
  • Refer to available finance rather than generating new and additional finance
  • Ask for loss and damage finance to come from the Green Climate Fund (GCF)

This last point is a problem because it “cuts the same cake into more pieces”. Diverting money from the GCF also means eating into adaptation finance and ultimately exposing more people to climate disasters.

Developed countries persisted in opposing the need to have a discussion on long-term finance. As far as they are concerned it ends in 2020 even though the Paris Agreement extends it to 2025. Developing countries made a big stink towards the end of COP and made frequent mention of finance in the plenaries.

Total Breakdown

All of the above issues were unresolved by the scheduled end time. The talks rolled on to Saturday amid a subdued atmosphere. No glimpse of an agreement was on the horizon. Scheduled closing plenaries disappeared from screens. The Presidency announced a final stock taking session for Saturday morning. Then Saturday evening, then midnight, then 3.30am Sunday. None of them were followed by a closing plenary.

The mood turned sour and those civil society who were left issued ever more alarming soundbites to the even fewer remaining journalists.

The blame is clear.

We held a space to represent the views of the people of the world. Not the governments.

At the time of writing (4am Sunday morning) the negotiations are still ongoing. Countries are hell bent on avoiding a no-deal. None of them want to deal with the fallout. Copenhagen has traumatised them as it traumatised us.

But the agreements are hard to come by. Finance, loss and damage, article 6, and the COP decision itself are all stuck. The Presidency keeps drafting new texts based on inputs but when the inputs are contradictory, trust is at an all-time low and the diplomacy skills are weak, what chance is there of success?

We will present the final decisions, if indeed Parties arrive at any, and explain what they mean as soon as we can.

High-Level Speech

You sit here year after year claiming to work toward solutions while around the world real human beings lose their homes, their livelihoods, and their lives in this emergency. This process benefits a greedy few and ignores the many who know how to live in harmony with this planet.

The united science shows we need deep emissions cuts starting NOW and deepening each year. We must go beyond zero and transition into a new world defined by compassion, cooperation, and equity.

Instead, the polluters propose to keep polluting and plundering in the same way they have for centuries. But now they propose to “offset” these offenses with approaches that harm indigenous communities — the very people who hold many of the solutions. 

Entire communities are being wiped out. Entire countries are at risk of becoming uninhabitable. And you are talking about prolonging our dependency on fossil fuels, instead of supporting those who have done nothing to cause this crisis but who are already suffering. 

People often apologize to me – for my generation having to pick up the pieces as this planet is torn apart. But a few measly, mumbled words are not enough. It is not enough to talk about the climate emergency. Only a profound and equitable transformation is enough. Only then will the apology be accepted. System change not climate change!

Speech delivered by Zoe Ernst from College of the Atlantic and Earth in Brackets

Statement on COP25

Big Polluters and Northern countries are throwing gasoline on the fire of the climate crisis, knowingly paving the way for even more fossil fuels

To endorse this statement, sign on here. **Español abajo**

Before COP25 even began, it was clear that Big Polluters — including the fossil fuel, agriculture, forestry, and carbon market industries — plan to lock the world into catastrophic warming in the next few years.  Intended fossil fuel expansion by 2030 is at least 50% beyond a 2C target and 120% beyond what may be compatible with the global commitment to limit heating to 1.5C. The vast majority of this expansion is projected to come from the U.S. and Canada.  

Big Polluters brought their agenda straight to the halls of the U.N. at COP25. With the help of governments like the U.S., EU, Australia, Canada, and others historically most responsible for the climate crisis, these polluters are strategically advancing rather than protecting against this deadly agenda:

  • They want to use carbon markets to “offset” rather than cut emissions, by commodifying nature and shifting burdens through carbon trading to the South — burdens that will be disproportionately forced onto and violate the rights of women, youth, indigenous peoples, and frontline communities. 
  • Polluting countries and corporations are pushing so-called “nature-based solutions,” which could be a euphemism for large scale biomass burning, carbon storage technologies, the commodification of the ocean, and carbon trading and offsets, that will displace food production and force continued deforestation.
  • Seemingly innocuous language on metrics could open the door to the most dangerous geo-engineering technologies by spraying sulfur into the Earth’s atmosphere to block some sunlight from reaching the planet. 

The result of all of this is that food security and the integrity of biodiverse ecosystems would simultaneously be threatened by climate change, by carbon trading projects, and by large-scale geo-engineered disruption of the planet. All this so that Big Polluters can continue digging up, burning, and profiting from fossil fuels.

These polluters know they are wreaking havoc on the planet but seek to extract as much profit as possible in the near term with the vain idea that their wealth will protect them from the impacts of planetary breakdown.

That’s why, in addition to all the above, they are seeking to avoid any liability for this deliberate destruction by attempting to expand a waiver against liability and block compensation and finance in discussions that are designed to protect the communities on the frontlines from harmful impacts: loss and damage.

If these proposals – being rammed through by polluting governments and the corporate interests they are serving – are packaged into a “deal” at the close of this COP, it will surely be a deal only for the corporate elites, while damning people and the planet. Such a deal would completely disregard best agreed science, including that presented by the IPCC.  It would condemn those on the frontlines of the climate crisis, while hiding the crimes of polluters. And it would lead to increased inequality with no increase in ambition, no real emissions reductions, and no pathway to 1.5. 

Experts have now assessed that the existential threat of climate change impacts surpasses that of weapons of mass destruction. We need bold, transformative and immediate action: We must prevent the proliferation of fossil fuels. We must fast track a just and peaceful transition to a safe, healthy and sustainable future for all. We must make Big Polluters pay for the damage they’ve caused.

It is not too late for governments to change the outcomes of COP25. In these final hours, it is not too late for developing countries to stand strong, to resolutely refuse the agenda of polluters. The need is clear: Advance real solutions, not carbon markets. Ensure developed countries provide funds and technology to help avert and minimize the worst impacts of climate change. Respect gender, youth and human rights, including the rights of Indigenous Peoples. And, recognizing that these polluters have known full well the harms they’ve caused, protect the right of sovereign nations to hold them liable. 

From the Amazon to the Arctic, our world is on fire. Allowing expansion of coal, oil and gas production at this moment of history is throwing gasoline on the fire. 

ActionAid International
Aksi! Indonesia
Alliance for Future Generations – Fiji
Les Amis de la Terre Togo
Arctic Youth Sweden
Articulación de Movimientos Sociales de Nicaragua
Artivist Network
ASEED Europe
Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development
Asociación Cubana de las Naciones Unidas
Asociación Cubana de Producción Animal
Asociación Cubana de Técnicos Agrícolas y Forestales
Asociación filosófica de artes marciales songahm, Uruguay 
Asociación Nacional de Economistas y Contadores de Cuba
Athens County Fracking Action Network
Center for Biological Diversity
Centre for Environmental Justice, Sri Lanka
Centro Ecosocial Latinoamericano 
Centro Félix Varela
CLEAN (Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network)
CLEAN Kulna Bangladesh
Climate Justice Edmonton
Climate Justice Programme
The Climate Reality Project América Latina
Climate Watch Thailand
Coalición México Salud-Hable
Colectivo Pro Derechos Humanos, PRODH-Ecuador
Colectivo Viento Sur
Collectif Breakfree – Switzerland
Collectif Senegalais des Africaines pour la Promotion de l’Education Relative a l’Environnement (COSAPERE)
Comisión Nacional Permanente de Lucha Antitabáquica – COLAT
Consejo de Iglesias de Cuba
Corporate Accountability
Corporate Europe Observatory
Dakota Water Walk and Ride
Diko Bigas Institute Nepal
Earth in Brackets
Eco Justice Valandovo
Ecologistas en Acción
Educar Consumidores
Energy and Climate Policy Institute for Just Transition
ENLACES por la Sustentabilidad
Environmental Rights Action, Nigeria
ETC Group
FIC Argentina
Fiji Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Alliance (FYSA)
Foro de Salud Pública, Ecuador
Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Friends of the Earth Europe
Friends of the Earth International
Friends of the Earth Scotland
Frontera Water Protection Alliance
Fundación Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (Argentina)
Fundación Ellen Riegner de Casas
Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer 
Fundación Salud Ambiente y Desarrollo, FUNSAD, Ecuador
GenderCC-Women for Climate Justice
The Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice
Global Forest Coalition
Global Justice Ecology Project
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance 
Green Course
Health of Mother Earth Foundation
Indian Social Action Forum
Indigenous Environmental Network – International
International Centre for Climate Change and Development
International Economic OrganizationWorld Distribution Federation
Karavali Karnataka Janabhivridhi Vedike
Krisoker Sor Farmers’ Voice
Landesa (Rural Development Institute)
LEDARS Bangladesh 
March for Science
Mesa Colombiana de Incidencia por las Enfermedades Crónicas (MECIEC)
Mom Loves Taiwan Association
National Association of Professional Environmentalists
National Hawkers Federation India
NGO Defensoría Ambiental
Oil Change International
Organización Boricuá de Agricultura Ecológica de Puerto Rico, (CLOC – LVC, Caribe)
People’s Coalition on the Right to Water Indonesia (KRuHA)
Planète Amazone
Plataforma Boliviana frente al Cambio Climático
El Poder del Consumidor, México
Proyectando un Ambiente y Sociedad Verde A.C.
Redhawk Native American Arts Council
Red Uruguaya ONGs Ambientalistas
Redrum Motorcycle Club
RENATA-Costa Rica
Sacred Stone
Salud Justa Mx- México
Schaghticoke First Nations
Seeding Sovereignty
Semilla Warunkwa
SERUNI Indonesia
Servicios Ecuménicos para Reconciliación y Reconstrucción
Sierra Club BC
Sociedad Amigos del Viento (Uruguay)
Sociedad Cubana para la Promoción de las fuentes renovables de energía y respeto ambiental
Society of Catholic Medical Missionaries
Sukaar welfare organization Pakistan
Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services
United Confederation of Taíno People
La Via Campesina
War on Want
What Next Forum
Women Engage for a Common Future
Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN)
Women’s March Global
World March of Women – Switzerland
World Peace and Prayer Day
Young European Greens
Young Friends of the Earth Macedonia
Youth Volunteers for the Environment

Declaración conjunta de la sociedad civil sobre la COP25

Los grandes contaminadores y los países del norte están arrojando gasolina al fuego de la crisis climática, abriendo deliberadamente el camino para aún más combustibles fósiles.

Incluso antes de que comenzara la COP25, estaba claro que los grandes contaminadores, incluidas las industrias de combustibles fósiles, agricultura, silvicultura y mercados de carbono, planean condenar al mundo a un calentamiento catastrófico en los próximos años. Los planes de expansión de la industria de combustibles fósiles para el 2030 nos llevaría al menos a 50% por encima del objetivo de 2˚C y a 120% más de lo compatible con el compromiso global de limitar el calentamiento en 1.5˚C. Se prevé que la gran mayoría de esta expansión provenga de los EE.UU. Y Canadá.

Los grandes contaminadores trajeron su agenda directamente a los pasillos de la ONU en la COP25. Con la ayuda de gobiernos como Estados Unidos, la Unión Europea, Australia, Canadá y otros históricamente responsables de la crisis climática. Estos contaminadores en lugar de proteger, están avanzando estratégicamente esta agenda mortal :

  • Quieren utilizar los mercados de carbono para “compensar” en lugar de reducir las emisiones, mediante la mercantilización de la naturaleza y através del comercio de carbono hacia el Sur, mecanismos que se traducirán en violaciones desproporcionadas de los derechos de las mujeres, los jóvenes, los pueblos indígenas y las comunidades en primera línea.
  • Los países y corporaciones contaminantes están impulsando las llamadas “soluciones basadas en la naturaleza”, que puede ser un eufemismo para la quema de biomasa a gran escala, las tecnologías de almacenamiento de carbono y las compensaciones para el comercio de carbono, que competirán con la producción de alimentos y fomentarán la deforestación.
  • Quieren ir aún más lejos y abrir la puerta a las peligrosas tecnologías de geoingeniería para rociar azufre en la atmósfera de la Tierra para evitar que el calor del sol llegue al planeta.

Como resultado, la seguridad de alimentos y la integridad de los ecosistemas biodiversos se verán amenazados simultáneamente por el cambio climático, por los proyectos de comercio de carbono y por la disrupción de la geoingeniería a escala planetaria. Todo esto para que los grandes contaminadores puedan continuar extrayendo, quemando y haciendo lucro de los combustibles fósiles.

Estos contaminadores saben que están causando estragos en el planeta, pero buscan extraer la mayor cantidad de ganancias posibles a corto plazo con la vana idea de que su riqueza los protegerá de los impactos del colapso planetario.

Es por eso que, además de todo lo anterior, buscan evitar cualquier responsabilidad por esta destrucción deliberada al fomentar una exención contra la responsabilidad y bloquear la idea de compensación y financiamiento en las discusiones de Daños y Perdidas, que están diseñadas para proteger a las comunidades en la primera línea de los impactos destructivos.

Si estas propuestas, producto de la captura corporativa de los gobiernos, se materializan en un “acuerdo” al finalizar esta COP, será, sin lugar a duda, un acuerdo solo para las élites corporativas, mientras que condenará a los pueblos y al planeta. Tal acuerdo ignoraría por completo las recomendaciones de la ciencia, incluida la presentada por el IPCC. Condenaría a los que están en la primera línea de la crisis climática, mientras oculta los crímenes de los contaminadores. Y conduciría a un aumento de la desigualdad y no a un aumento de la ambición climática, sin reducciones de emisiones reales y sin un camino hacia 1.5˚C.

Los expertos han aseverado que la amenaza existencial que el cambio climático representa, supera la de las armas de destrucción masiva. Necesitamos medidas audaces, transformadoras e inmediatas: debemos evitar la proliferación de los combustibles fósiles. Debemos acelerar una transición justa y pacífica hacia un futuro seguro, saludable y sostenible para todos. Debemos hacer que los grandes contaminadores paguen por el daño que han causado.

No es demasiado tarde para que los gobiernos cambien los resultados de la COP25. En estas últimas horas, no es demasiado tarde para que los países en desarrollo se mantengan firmes y rechacen decididamente la agenda de los contaminadores. La necesidad es clara: avanzar en soluciones reales, no en mercados de carbono. Asegurar que los países desarrollados proporcionen recursos financieros y tecnología para ayudar a evitar y minimizar los peores impactos del cambio climático. Respetar los derechos de género, jóvenes y humanos, incluyendo los derechos de los pueblos inígenos. Y, reconociendo que estos contaminadores conocen bien los daños que han causado, proteger el derecho soberano de las naciones a responsabilizarlos.

Desde el Amazonas hasta el Ártico, nuestro mundo está en llamas. Permitir la expansión de la producción de carbón, petróleo y gas en este momento de la historia es arrojar gasolina al fuego.

WTF: Where’s The Finance?

A measly $100 billion

In 2009, rich countries agreed to deliver $100 billion per year by 2020. They did so in recognition of their undeniable and overwhelming share of historical pollution. Hillary Clinton plucked the $100 billion figure from thin air, presumably because she thought it sounded like a lot. In fact $100 billion pales in comparison to the real needs which developing countries have to cope with climate change while developing sustainably. 

To deliver their conditional pledges of the Paris Agreement, poor nations would require $4 trillion in funding from rich countries. And, as we know, the Paris Agreement represents the baseline of ambition rather than the extent. 

Every COP since 2009 has reiterated the $100 billion goal, but over time the language has been watered down. Developed countries have changed the wording from “deliver” to “mobilise” and then “leverage.” These words sound synonymous but are not. The subtle differences in wording mean a huge difference in policy. What percentage of climate finance will be grant-based vs. loans? Using “leverage” is a less serious commitment as you are not promising to stump up the cash yourself. 

Academics have contested the methodology used by rich countries to demonstrate their progress towards this goal. And developing countries have long stressing that their finance needs are far from being met from any source. With things as they stand, they cannot implement their climate actions. 

Where is the finance?

So to build trust at COP25, rich countries must show developing countries that they will scale up life saving funds. It’s not looking good in that regard. The Green Climate Fund, set up to support developing countries in their climate actions including adaptation, was recently promised $9.7 billion for its second replenishment. This falls short of the pledge of $10.7 billion that the GCF secured in its initial phase. Trump has not only withdrawn the US from the Paris Agreement; he has withdrawn $2 billion that Obama pledged. Australia has also refused to contribute. 

The loss of this $2 billion undermines the agreement made at last year’s COP24. In Katowice countries agreed that developed countries will “continue their efforts to channel a substantial share of public climate funds to adaptation activities and to strive to achieve a greater balance between finance for mitigation and adaptation.”

Stumping up the cash is not a nice thing that rich countries do. It is their moral and, perhaps more importantly, their legal obligation. They are trying to escape this responsibility by changing the language and blurring the lines between themselves and developing countries. Rich countries do not want to be identified as rich. They would like to hide the fact that they are rich because of centuries of plunder and pollution. And they would like for poor countries to pay for the climate crisis despite not causing it. 

A New Goal

In Madrid, developing countries will be fighting for new and adequate finance in several fora. One critical battleground is on long-term finance. The Paris Agreement extended the $100 billion/year by 2020 goal to 2025. But countries have not agreed on a future goal beyond that. Last year in Poland they agreed to begin a process to set a new collective goal over $100 billion. In June they discussed the matter in a workshop and will now consider the report from that workshop. In another they’ll discuss the “effectiveness” and “provision” of finance – how much money is flowing and what good it’s doing. 

Developed countries are, as expected, against talking about long-term finance. They are resisting any move to assess their finance contributions. At the same time, they will try to restrict certain developing countries from accessing funds. The US has already tried to block Iran, China and Palestine from accessing finance from the GCF and GEF. 

The Great Escape

Now the developed countries also want to change the membership of the Adaptation Fund Board. The Adaptation Fund is for developing countries to directly access funding for adaptation. It was created under the Kyoto Protocol and is much beloved of developing countries despite being chronically underfunded. 

The Fund gets its resources via a “share of proceeds” from the Clean Development Mechanism. Countries agreed last year that the Fund would now serve the Paris Agreement exclusively, and any country which is a Party to the Agreement is eligible to sit on the Board. A consequence of serving the Paris Agreement is that the Fund will depend on a share of proceeds from the new Sustainable Development Mechanism, once in operation. 

As part of their Great Escape agenda, developed countries want to re-write the composition of the Board. They want more developed country representation for starters. But they also want to remove the reference to “Annex I” and “non-Annex I” countries. These terms refer to developed and developing countries respectively and signal the differentiated responsibility each set of countries has. 

Finance is always a fiercely fought topic wherever it appears in the agenda. COP25 is no different and we may see fireworks later in week 2 when the stakes are raised. 

Lost and Damaged

Rich countries have utterly failed to limit their pollution despite knowing for decades the negative effects it causes. They have also failed to support poor countries in developing cleanly instead of with fossil fuels.

As a result, we live in a world that is already 1C warmer than a couple of hundred years ago. That might not seem like a lot, but all the climate change disasters we are witnessing show that even 1 degree warming represents unsafe territory for many millions of people. 

Hurricane Maria Damages Dominica's Main Hospital, Leaves ...
Dominica in the wake of Hurricane Maria

Because rich countries have also failed to help countries and people on the frontline of climate change to adapt, we must now face up to the economic, social and cultural impacts from climate change to which we can’t adapt. This is what policy-makers and experts refer to as “loss and damage”. Small island nations first raised the alarm back in 1992, but were fobbed off with insurance schemes. Nowadays, though, insurance providers won’t cover for many of the effects of climate change as they have become too common.

Warsaw International Mechanism

At COP19 in Warsaw, poor countries won their fight to create an international mechanism for loss and damage. At the time Filipino negotiator Yeb Saño was on hunger strike as Supertyphoon Haiyan battered his country, killing over 5000 people

COP19: NGO delegates walk out of Warsaw climate talks in ...
Yeb Saño supported by climate justice groups

This year Parties are due to review the loss and damage mechanism, so COP25 has become the moment to make it fit for purpose. Since being set up, the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) has made decent progress in terms of knowledge generation and coordination on loss and damage, particularly on climate-induced displacement. 

However, it has made zero progress on the critical and issue of facilitating financial support to poor countries so that they can avert, minimise, and address loss and damage. 

Fear of finance

Rich countries are very reluctant to even talk about this topic. The United States made sure to insert a “liability clause” at COP21 to absolve themselves from any responsibility for climate damages. Even though they are the biggest polluters of all time

Frontline communities around the world need resources to be able to cope with a rapidly warming world. In the negotiations, developing countries want to set up a comprehensive finance facility. This facility would funnel large sums of mostly public funds towards dealing with loss and damage. They also hope to set up an expert group on action and support for loss and damage, and to conduct a needs assessment for loss and damage in developing countries.

Poor countries like Dominica, Mozambique, and the Philippines are already facing huge amounts of loss and damage. In the case of Dominica, the country suffered damages worth 224% of its GDP in one hurricane. Therefore, they argue, the finance must be up to scratch. 

Rich countries could contribute directly from their national budgets. Supplementary funds can come from new and innovative sources such as air and maritime levies, a Climate Damages Tax on oil, gas and coal extraction, and a “Robin Hood” Financial Transaction Tax. Together these sources can generate badly needed additional funds. 

Though it is hard to estimate the total costs, a coalition of civil society groups have called for at least USD $50 billion per year by 2022, rising to USD$150 billion by 2025 and USD$300 billion by 2030. The coalition have calculated that the fair share of the US alone is 30-40% of the global effort to address loss and damage. 

COP25 should recommend other measures such as immediate relief on all debt due to be paid by developing countries who face the current climate emergency. This could take the form of an interest-free moratorium on debt payments, which would open up resources currently earmarked for debt repayments to immediate emergency relief and reconstruction.

A question of governance

The Warsaw International Mechanism was set up under the COP, but loss and damage is also an issue in the 2015 Paris Agreement (Article 8) which has its own governing body known as the CMA. (Shorthand for the absurd “Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement”). 

The “scope” of Article 8 of the Paris Agreement is narrower than how loss and damage has been defined under the COP. Because of this, developed countries are keen for the review to conclude that the Warsaw Mechanism should be governed exclusively by the CMA. Developing countries insist that the COP and CMA jointly govern the WIM. What seems like a technical quibble is actually a highly political battle.

Many observers have touted COP25 as the loss and damage COP. But with the Chilean Presidency and many developed countries’ attention focused more on the market mechanisms of Article 6, and with rich countries refusal to accept their responsibility, vulnerable countries will have to fight tooth and nail to make sure COP adopts decisions that take loss and damage seriously.

The Group of 77 + China (a negotiating bloc of 134 developing countries) have submitted a proposal to the COP. In it, they outline their ideas for what COP25 should decide regarding loss and damage. With the moral high ground, they should be successful. But the vested interests against them are strong. Keep checking our coverage to see how to debate unfolds.

Dangerous Distractions

Since the early years of the UN climate talks, governments responsible for needing to make the deepest emissions cuts have repeatedly attempted to divert this responsibility. They have done so in several faulty and flawed ways: by creating and advocating for “market mechanisms” to trade units of carbon, by incorporating carbon capture technologies into emissions reductions plans, and by advocating for “techno-fixes” including dangerous and untested geoengineering technologies. 

The underlying feature of all of these is the principle of offsetting – outsourcing emissions to elsewhere or trading credits to buy permission to emit. Sort of like the indulgences of the 12th century Catholic Church

weblog: carbon offset certificate - front

Offsetting emissions through market mechanisms is the antithesis to a true climate response from the global community, and from industrialized countries in particular. The science is clear: keeping warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius will require strong emissions cuts, beginning in the developed world, which needs to achieve actual zero emissions as soon as possible. Mechanisms that rely on offsetting delay meaningful action and don’t address the fundamental gap between the 1.5 degree target and countries’ weak progress in emissions reductions. 

Furthermore, these mechanisms are rife with loopholes and often allow polluters to increase their emissions and profit from participating in such schemes, all while claiming the false banner of climate leadership. More recently, so called ‘Nature Based Solutions’ have formed the battleground in the fight to extend the concept of commodification of carbon to all ecosystems, with soil carbon, biodiversity and other values being measured and commodified.

No REDD+ protest, Paris | Friends of the Earth ...

What is a carbon market?

A carbon market is a scheme that views atmospheric space in “units”. These units are essentially the right to pollute for a price. The assumption of a carbon market is that if polluters are made to pay per unit of emissions, they will be incentivised to invest in alternatives or pollute less. Yet the opposite has proven true.

For industries and countries with more wealth, carbon markets simply allow them to continue with business as usual while outsourcing their emissions elsewhere. The established market mechanisms, such as the Clean Development Mechanism (below) are riddled with loopholes and have actually resulted in an increase in emissions.

Repeating the same mistakes

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol established the so-called Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), a highly controversial, contested scheme which eventually proved to be ineffective in meeting the targets of the Kyoto Protocol.

The intention of the CDM was to help developed countries meet their emissions reductions targets under the Protocol through the purchase of emissions reductions credits, but the actual result was that some businesses made a lot of money selling “credits” to entities who wanted to pollute more but not have said pollution on their books. The CDM was also widely criticised for harming local people and violating human rights, especially the rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as failing to actually cut emissions.

For years afterwards, international negotiations on markets usually ended in no agreement between countries, although of course some countries did set up their own domestic markets which they hoped would one day allow for international trading. 

Countries that are strongly in favour of market approaches include the European Union, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Norway and the US, while countries including Venezuela and Bolivia have strongly resisted such offsetting mechanisms. It is not clear how the recent turmoil will affect Bolivia or whether its “transitional” government will do a u-turn or simply remain silent.

After a frenzied two weeks of negotiations in 2015, Article 6 of the Paris Agreement ended up allowing countries to “choose to pursue voluntary cooperation in the implementation of their nationally-determined contributions (NDCs) to allow for higher ambition in their mitigation and adaptation actions and to promote sustainable development and environmental integrity,” and to engage “on a voluntary basis in cooperative approaches that involve the use of internationally transferred mitigation outcomes (ITMOs)” which can count towards their NDCs so long as they promote sustainable development, avoid double counting and ensure environmental integrity. 

'A Child Leads': Staff Refuses to Report on Climate Summit ...

Thus the door was opened to conflate carbon trading and offsetting with “cooperative approaches” to tackling climate change. The reference to “ITMOs” has also opened the door for the establishment of an international carbon market – contentious given the years of debate on this matter never arriving at an agreement, and laden with pitfalls and risks.

The ITMOs also pose the difficult question of whether a country can use such international transfers for anything other than fulfilling its Paris pledge. Can they, for example, be used in the global offsetting scheme under the International Civil Aviation Organisation, known as ‘Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation’ (CORSIA), which is not under the UNFCCC and which could potentially rely on 2.6 billion tonnes of ‘credits’ from supposedly avoided deforestation. 

Similarly, can carbon credits from other schemes outside the Paris Agreement also be traded alongside credits generated in the PA? Such schemes include the reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation or REDD+ scheme, also highly criticised for leading to increased emissions and harm to forest communities and indigenous peoples.

Climate: Real problem, false solutions. No.3: REDD+ - Via ...

Rather than focus on more meaningful, equitable methods of cooperation like technology sharing, capacity building, and finance, Article 6 decided that a “Sustainable Development Mechanism” should be set up. Like the CDM before it, this new market mechanism, if it is established, is likely to fail in delivering emissions reductions targets outlined in countries’ National Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement.

COP25 and the fate of Article 6

Last year at COP24 in Katowice, the section of the “Paris rulebook” dealing with Article 6 was not agreed and became a major sticking point. The talks nearly collapsed in spectacular fashion as Brazil wanted the certified emission reduction credits (CERs) it had obtained under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism to be counted towards its pledge under the Paris Agreement, and refused to accept rules to prevent double-counting. Eventually the formal conclusion was that no agreement could be reached. The same thing happened at the next round of talks in Bonn this June. 

The scene is therefore set for a pressurised round of talks in Madrid, as COP25 is the deadline to conclude this last remaining section of the Paris rulebook. Agreement will be difficult as double counting remains an unresolved issue and wealthy countries such as Australia continue to insist on double-counting their Kyoto credits towards their Paris commitments.

Carbon Market Watch estimates that there are some 20 billion units under the Kyoto mechanisms that could potentially be transferred into the Paris mechanism, rendering the Agreement’s 1.5 degree C goal impossible to achieve. But it gets worse.

[s]ome countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement have low targets which will be easy to over achieve. This means that these countries could potentially create between 18.7 and 28.3 GtCO2e worth of credits – or ‘hot air ’- that they can sell without reducing a single tonne of greenhouse gas emissions.

False Solutions to climate change | Climate Justice Taranaki

Market fundamentalists will want to leave Madrid with detailed technical guidelines to allow them to forge ahead with international carbon markets. Many others, notably those who do not stand to profit financially from these market mechanisms, will want only general guidance to try and ensure that if, or when, international markets are established they are regulated and do not threaten human rights or environmental integrity as they have under Kyoto.

Guidance, such as that offered by Carbon Market Watch below, can be quite simple:

  1. Only emission reductions that take place after 2020 can be used towards the NDCs
  2. Countries that over achieve their targets because they were set below business-as-usual emission levels in the
    first place should not be allowed to transfer these hot air credits to other countries that have adopted more
    stringent targets
  3. Countries with hot air in their current NDCs should not be allowed to transfer it to subsequent NDC periods to
    meet future targets
  4. Emissions should not be compensated through the use of excessively old credits, representing emissions
    which took place a decade or more earlier

With everything else in the Paris rulebook “package” having been wrapped up, it’s hard to see what exactly the horse trading will be but we can be sure of some.

Real solutions

The only way to reach real zero emissions as quickly as possible is to reject these dangerous distractions outright, and simultaneously for developed countries to embrace meaningful, real solutions to achieve the deep emissions cuts they are responsible for, while unconditionally financing the same in developing countries. There is an abundance of real, feasible, cost effective action across all sectors that can be implemented here and now, many of which will have immediate effect. 

Protest against proposed programs like REDD+ | Flickr ...

These include things like but not limited to investing in infrastructure of electrified, mass public transit, with free or heavily subsidized fares; rapidly transforming industrial agriculture towards agroecological practices through proper incentives and policies combined with removal of perverse subsidies, and phase out artificial fertilizers; embracing community governed forest conservation; planning for and transforming energy systems away from centralized corporate-controlled fossil fuels and other harmful technologies to clean, safe systems that empower people and communities. 

Article 6.8 of the Paris Agreement provides an opportunity to address the real drivers of emissions by advancing policies and practices via voluntary cooperation among countries that can help deliver deep emissions cuts while advancing equity, environmental protection, and wellbeing. A work programme on how to enhance linkages and create synergy between inter alia, mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology transfer and capacity-building and how to facilitate the implementation and coordination of non-market approaches is under discussion at COP25.

Further reading

Click here to learn more about what carbon markets are and how they work

Click here to learn more about how carbon markets are a threat to people and planet

Click here to learn more about what real international solutions to the crisis look like

Click here to learn more about the nitty gritty of Article 6 negotiations

Another lost decade

Extinction Rebellion, the climate protesters disrupting ...

Even a cursory glance at the latest climate science makes it abundantly clear that the commitments to the Paris Agreement (“Nationally Determined Contributions” or NDCs for short) are simply not good enough. But rich countries are wriggling around to escape from any attempt to revise those plans in light of science and equity before they take effect in January 2021. 

There is a pattern here: in 2012, countries agreed the Doha Amendment of the Kyoto Protocol. This decision contained binding targets for rich countries to cut pollution from 2013 – 2020. Seven years later and the Amendment has still not been ratified. For comparison, the Paris Agreement was ratified in under a year. 

Several rich countries (Canada, Russia, and Japan) actually said they would no longer participate in agreements to reduce aggregate emissions by 18% below 1990 levels and revise this target in 2014. 

Bizarre Taiwan News Animation Mocks Canada's Pullout of ...

The so-called “pre-2020 action” has been shown by civil society to be wholly inadequate and unjust as it transfers the burden of tackling climate change from rich to poor. What should be a case of “why put off to tomorrow what you can do today” has become a case of kicking the can further and further down the road. A review of this pre-2020 action, or lack thereof, is scheduled to take place in two stages in Madrid. The first stage on December 4th will be technical followed by a high-level segment on December 10th.  

However, the EU, Canada, Japan, Australia, Russia and the US are unwilling to let the review be more than just a talk shop, as was the case with previous reviews. This is hardly surprising given that ten years of UNEP Emissions Gap reports have basically stated that these countries have spent the last decade doing the exact opposite of what they should have done. 

“Emissions Gap Report 2019”
Graphic from the 2019 Emission Gap Report

Not only have we lost a decade to inaction, according to a new report our governments’ current plans for the coming decade involves the production of a whopping 120% more fossil fuels than we have the ability to produce without blowing past 1.5C warming. 

some men just want to watch the world burn on Tumblr
Let that sink in. 

As we hurtle towards, perhaps beyond, planetary tipping points, there are people in positions of power making a conscious decision to risk the basis for human civilisation — all in the pursuit of profit. 

Of course, we cannot now get back the time we’ve lost. But the next critical decade does not have to be the same as the past. The future is not yet written. We know that global emissions must decrease by 7.6% annually starting now if we are to have any chance of averting a 1.5C warmer world. This would still be a world of incredible climate violence such as we have witnessed this year with forest fires ravaging California and Australia, flooding inundating Venice, and cyclones battering Mozambique, the Bahamas, and China. 

So we need a plan for rapid decarbonisation in every country. But as author Naomi Klein and scientist Sivan Kartha explained in a recent article in the Boston Globe

at a time of tremendous economic inequality and injustice, only a plan firmly rooted in both fairness and boldness has a hope of building the support necessary to take on the big polluters and win transformative climate action.

This is plainly obvious and evidenced in recent protests in Ecuador as well as the Gilet Jaunes protests across France – both sparked by a regressive fuel tax. But the same idea of fairness must also apply at the global level, for the same reasons. As the IPCC put it in their landmark report on 1.5C warming:

Public acceptability can enable or inhibit the implementation of policies and measures to limit global warming and adapt to the consequences. Public acceptability depends on the individual’s evaluation of expected policy consequences, the perceived fairness of the distribution of these consequences and perceived fairness of decision procedures.”

No country can stop climate change on its own. If one, even a large polluter like the US, managed to enact a just transition to zero carbon overnight, it would still experience climate change alongside the rest of the world unless all other countries vastly reduced their emissions too. The irrefutable need for an international approach is the basis for these negotiations. And that requires trust – something which has been severely undermined by decades of broken promises like we have seen with the failure to ratify the Doha Amendment and the failure to deliver the $100 billion per year of desperately needed climate finance.

COP25 is a story of escape

Following massive anti-austerity and anti-government protests across Chile, the 25th United Nations’ annual climate change summit – Conference of the Parties, or COP for short – was relocated from Santiago to Madrid. By offering to host the summit instead, Spain gave the Chilean government a chance to escape the international spotlight that would have further exposed its violent crackdown of protests which were escalating in the run up to COP25. It is estimated that the state violence in Santiago is now the worst the country has seen since the Pinochet dictatorship, but the news cycle has moved on. 

The change of location created logistical havoc and will severely limit participation in the debate. Tens of thousands of delegates had planned to travel to Santiago not only for the UN meetings but for large social fora such as the Cumbre de los Pueblos, or People’s Summit. Those hit hardest by the location change will as usual be groups that are primarily indigenous, grassroots movements, and from the Global South. 

Chile is still presiding over the meeting in Madrid, but how domestic unrest and the sudden relocation will affect its leadership and legitimacy at COP remains to be seen – as does the exact nature of Spain’s role (Spain held its second general election of 2019 on November 10th and at the time of writing has yet to form a government).

Alongside this political turmoil, the chaos of climate change is intensifying at a terrifying rate. The world’s chance to avert catastrophic runaway climate change is quickly escaping. In November the World Meteorological Organization announced that greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere have risen to a record high. The United Nations Environment Program’s 2019 “Emissions Gap Report” unequivocally stated that, in order to remain within the 1.5C warming threshold, global emissions must be reduced by 7.6% annually from now until 2030. This represents a five-fold increase in ambition compared to current plans as laid out in countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). 

COP25 is the penultimate meeting before the Paris Agreement NDCs comes into effect in January 2021 and countries are expected to start implementing their commitments. However, in spite of growing numbers of people taking to the streets to demand action, the meeting threatens to be the latest installment in a years-long Great Escape of responsibility that rich countries have been enacting. 

To escape from their responsibilities, rich industrialised countries are using dangerous distractions like carbon markets which undermine real solutions. They are deliberately forgetting their previous promises, delaying others from taking action by withholding vital funding, and shutting down any attempts to talk about compensation for climate damages. 

We will explore each of these escape routes for polluters in the coming days as COP25 gets underway. 


Before diving into the specific issues at COP25 it’s worth checking out the following links which contain important background to understanding the evolving dynamics of the climate change negotiations and the climate justice movements’ demands. 

Political Science

“Science has been deleted from the Paris Agreement!”

Variations of this headline dominated the coverage of SB50 negotiations in Bonn. 

The idea began early in the week when Saudi Arabia raised procedural concerns with the agenda item relating to the IPCC Special Report on 1.5, which was published in October last year. 

The Saudis said that the topic should be discussed under an existing agenda item, not a new stand-alone agenda item. After some back-and-forth, the SBSTA chair proposed that Parties have a “substantive” exchange of views on the topic, and conclude the agenda item at that session in Bonn. Everyone agreed. 

But then the headlines came.

Before going any further it must be said for the avoidance of confusion that the Kingdom has spent many years and millions of dollars undermining the climate science of the IPCC, and making sure negotiations in the UNFCCC do not set ambitious mitigation goals. 

This is unsurprising for a country whose economy is wholly based on oil. They are trying to buy time. 

But for many complex reasons they have been made into the sole villain of a long-running play with an abundance of villains, including some truly evil geniuses. 

For example, the United States had in fact opposed the actual IPCC Special Report back in October…

And again, along with Saudi, Kuwait, and Russia, in Poland last December…

Yet this time around it was only Saudi who grabbed the headlines.

Very little of the coverage explored the reasoning behind some of the statements. Thankfully Third World Network does that, and reports what exactly was said by whom, so you can judge for yourself.

An unfortunate reality that has been caught up in the “science denialism” is the fact that there are in fact gaps in the IPCC reports.  The IPCC readily acknowledges this. It is not a controversial statement, nor should stating it serve to undermine the basic findings of the IPCC.

In fact, science, and in particular climate science, is always political. From the selection of authors, to decisions about what qualifies as acceptable literature to peer-review, to the negotiation of the summary for policymakers, the entire process – like any aspect of life – is political. The IPCC is not immune from assumptions which are anything but neutral, including assumptions built in to the models about how much we will have to rely on certain unproven technologies…

None of this changes the fact that the IPCC is the best available science. 

What’s not clear is that a failure to enthusiastically welcome IPCC under the relative insignificance of a stand-alone SBSTA conclusion actually… matters. 

It’d be nice, but what matters more is what countries do. Is their NDC in line with what the IPCC says is required to remain below 1.5 agrees warming? 

Is the money that rich countries are putting on the table commensurate with the financial needs of poorer countries to deliver their NDCs? 

It is interesting that there was not so much coverage of stories about how rich countries conspired to delete references to conflicts of interest, or how peddlers of false solutions kept forcing their free-market ideology down our throats. And we have to ask why were these issues trumped by procedural bickering about a report which has already been written, and its negotiated summary widely circulated. 

Or why the headline for every single news outlet was not this:

Or this