What? climate conference, Copenhagen 15


Another climate conference, Copenhagen 15

 

Here we go again. Another big meeting about the climate change. People are giving speeches and the results might be once again extremely limited. Every trick is being used by the governments and the corporations to get away from actually doing anything concrete about the risk of gas emissions in the atmosphere. They said that they will create a climate fund for African countries and they gave conditions to apply for that money. It reminds me of what the IMF and the World Bank do when developing countries are in need of money. They lay out the terms and conditions in order for those countries to get the loan. In other terms, it usually means that they have to accept that their water, their electricity, their natural gas etc go under the control of the countries that are lending them the money.

Now when Hillary Clinton laid out the conditions those countries would have to fulfill, she did not worded the way I did. Of course, she did not. When the IMF and the World Bank put out their conditions when they were presenting their plan to give loans to the third world countries, they never specifically expressed that the countries which would be interested in receiving those loans would have to give out all the possessions they have to the developed countries in order to be qualified to get those loans. But at the end of the day, that is exactly what happened. They used to call that, structural changes and it got such a bad names that they had to change the name. As always, instead of changing the essence of the problem, we changed not even the surface but just the wording of the process. We all felt way better after and things just continued the way they were. The process, in which those loans were given, remained essentially the same and it was business as usual.

Now, they came again with a plan to give loans with conditions. Mhmhmhmhm!!!!! How original this is. So, instead of doing something to create the conditions to adapt or to reduce the things that are accelerating climate change, the industrialized countries decided to use climate change to force the developing countries to do exactly what they want. Climate change is becoming another tool in their hands to pressure the countries they want to acquire stuffs from.

Climate change is now officially something that they are using to do the same thing that they used to do before. Climate change is a new way for them to enforce the control of those developing countries. Nothing of a major importance is being done for the environment but everything is done to reinforce their power over the developing countries through climate change.

We have no reasons to believe that things are going to be different than before. It looks like we are doing the same thing with something that is extremely trendy: climate change.

People will probably loose interest in climate change when they will see that it has been used to deceive them. They will not trust that there is actually something that is going wrong with the climate. They will see it as something that has been used to dupe them and no real environmental causes will have any support from the public.

How what I have just exposed is supposed to help the environment? I really don’t know but they are making sure that we believe that it will and it is working.

Over the last years, many lobbyists are paid by corporations and who are acting on behalf of corporations have been involved in the negotiations about climate change. Chemical industry, oil and gas companies, food industry, producers of biofuel, coal producers and banks are massively lobbying at the national level in Europe, US and more and more in southern countries in order to change the legislation. 

International trades associations are increasingly involved as well in the negotiations at the European institutions level and at the UN level. Those groups have been extremely successful at changing the discussion about the solutions to solve global warming. An example of that is what happened at the EU. Instead of having the cement producers, oil and gas companies and chemical companies paying for their emissions as it was previously done, they were excluded from paying due to the lobbyists who worked hard at changing the law that was making sure that they pay for what they have done. Another example is the promotion of biofuel as a solution to climate changes regardless of the all know the social, environmental and food impact it has in the countries where the production is done at a huge scale.

Therefore, the UN commission about global warming is moving further and further away from finding solutions to reduce green gas emissions in each country. The solutions that are promoted are the ones that are not reducing green gas emissions and in some cases, they are even destroying the environment and local communities. Again, we clearly see that at this level, they are using the concerns and debate about global warming to do more of what they used to do before. Global warming became an opportunity for them to rebrand their companies and their image. They see it as a marketing tool in their strategies to conquer the public. Being polluters, instead of doing something to help, they are actually using climate change problem not only to get away from their responsibilities but at the same time, they using to promote their previous agenda by getting a new beautiful image. It looks like everything has been stolen by them. They jumped into something trendy which is climate change. They simply rock!!!!

The corporate lobbyists have influenced the debate and are promoting solutions that are not going to solve the problems of climate change. They have changed the debate about the solutions. Instead of bringing on the table solutions that could solve the problems, they brought on the table solutions that were at best changing nothing at all and in some cases, the solutions they came up with were actually worsening the problems as we saw earlier. They have actually diverted the debate away from reducing green gas emissions by promoting solutions that were increasing the problems rather than solving them. Those lobbyists are undermining climate change policy.

As for local communities where developing projects have been done or are being done as we speak, the corporations signed an agreement with their states and sometimes the agreement did not involve the population of the state. When it did, they were not given all the facts or they were not able to measure the problems that could have occurred in the long run. Consequently, when the population realized the impact of those projects in their villages or cities, they were powerless to react against those companies.

They can not question those them. They can not change the way they do business. They can not make any investigation in order to prove that as a result of the rejection of their chemicals products in their rivers, they now have more diseases.

Even when they are able to make those investigations, it does not change anything. Even in industrialized countries, when those corporations are accused of doing something with legitimate proof, it is very hard to condemn them to solve the problem. It takes years for justice to recognize it. They do whatever it takes to fight at the judicial level those scientific proofs.

Now what impact do you think people in the third world would have against those corporations even if they have legitimate and scientific proof of the wrong doings of those corporations? Their power of action is limited but what is encouraging is that it never stopped to fight for what they believe in.

When the population concerned do rise against those companies, the police and military crush the people who are protesting. We have examples in India, China, in South America and in Africa. People are seeing more and more those corporations and their own governement as being one. It seemed as if corporations and countries have joined forces against the people. This is how the people in those countries are viewing the role of the corporations and their country.

The voices of lobbyists are outnumbering the voices of communities in those negotiations. The local communities do not have enough space to express their concerns about the environmental impact of the projects that their governments signed with those corporations.

The numbers of accreditations to go in COP 15 were limited for people representing local communities. Even when they were available, in order to get them, they had to undergo lots of difficulties. Therefore local communities who are the one confronted with the consequences of deforestation in their villages, of dirty water in their houses due to chemicals rejections by those corporations, are restricted to express themselves not only by the numbers of accreditations that they get but also by the time they have to expose their views on the situations they are living after those development projects are done.

Those elements are making those negotiations primarily a negotiation between corporations and state when it should be a negotiation between the corporations and the people who are feeling the environmental consequences of the projects that are laid out in their lands.

Even when the conversation is between NGOs, the corporations are being heard more than any big social movements from the south because nowadays, the corporations are considered as NGOs as well. Even when the discussions are only between NGOs, the corporations have a bigger voice than any social movements defending communities because they have more money. This difference of money allows them to be present where ever the discussions, meetings and the negotiations take place.

Nobody is saying that corporations should not be listened to but when most of the negotiations are done without the involvement of those communities, no one should be surprised if the results are bad for those communities. They are not supported by their states. They are not supported by their governments and they are definitely not supported by corporations.

The question fall like this: If no one is supporting the human beings who are suffering the environmental impact that those companies are bringing with their industries, who will? Aren’t we that important to our governments? If the companies are the one talking at the place of the humans about the impact they have on humans, who are they going to defend? When people are suffering horrible consequences on their health because of what the corporations did, what exactly do we think corporations will say when the time of negotiations will come?

Now, corporations have more voices than humans and they are allowed to speak as NGOs. Humans are restricted to speak as humans. They must speak now only as part of corporations. It seemed as if being human is no enough to get a voice. We need to be part of a corporation in order to have something valuable to say or to be listened to.

There is a way to avoid the most horrible consequences those projects have on the environment. It would be to include the local communities in every negotiation not as one of twenty corporations but as partners who are able to confront those corporations. If the corporations have ten members in a negotiation, it is not normal that the local communities get only one or two.  They should be able to go there with facts, scientific facts, examples of the impacts that the corporations have on villages and different studies etc. They should have access to every instance in order to defend humans. We are loosing our rights to corporations. If corporations have more humanity now in those institutions than we do, where exactly are we going with this?

Unfortunately, everything is done to please corporations. Nothing is done to force them to take in consideration the environmental consequences of their projects. They do not want to do it because it would reduce their profits. They are fighting it with an enormous amount of ammunition at every level. The social movements should fight at every level as well.

Now if our governments decide to follow the corporations, where are we going to be? The level of pressure that corporations have is enormous. Sometimes when a well intentioned government asked the corporations to take in consideration the environmental consequences of what they did, they often threaten to leave into a country that is less regarding to their people needs. What messages are we sending as a society?

During the COP15, there were many talks about how the south should adapt to climate change but little was said about the responsibilities of the corporations. Nobody is mentioning the role that the corporations have in creating this situation. Everything is done to avoid saying that corporations have done a lot to create the conditions we are in at this moment.

Lobbyists have kept the real solutions of the table and have been successful at erasing the corporate responsibilities in these negotiations. The false solutions that they are promoting are not going to change anything. In some cases, they will decrease the living conditions under which the population were living because they will be removed from the places where they used to live most sustainable on their lands into a place where they will not have a place to cultivate their food. This is where we loose our humanity and nothing seems to stop it.

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