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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 8/26/14

Climate Crisis Connects Us, Climate Justice Demands Unity

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eco protest: A dead planet
eco protest: A dead planet
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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese

What do rigged corporate trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris Treaty, an international climate agreement to be signed in 2015, have in common? They are both tools being pushed by the power elite to rip away our hopes for democracy and to commodify all things to monetize them for profit.

It is this drive by multinational corporations to patent and control even living beings such as plants and animals and to privatize even elements that are essential to life such as water which connects all human beings on the planet. We are in a global battle of the people versus the plutocrats and this battle has a ticking timer called the climate crisis.

The global financial elites meet regularly to plan their strategy and tactics. If they can't push their agenda through the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization, they move to secret massive trade agreements. The Obama Administration is negotiating three such agreements right now: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TAFTA) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), those agreements are stalled thanks to a movement of movements coming together to stop Congress from giving Obama fast track trade promotion authority.

Similarly, in response the climate crisis, the United Nations has been involved in what is called the Conference of the Parties (COP) which is part of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Big corporations have taken over this process and turned it into a method of their relentless drive to plunder the planet and exploit its living beings knows no limits. It will take people power to apply the brakes. Once the public understood the implications of the TPP the people created a movement of movements to stop it and the other trade agreement.

Now, with the Paris Treaty, a binding international climate agreement, set to be concluded in December of 2015, we must build a similarly unified movement that stops this rigged corporate agreement and puts in place real solutions to the climate crisis. We must understand that the climate change affects and connects all of us -- the connection to climate change to every issue should be evident as the health of the planet will dominate the future. We must be as organized as the opposition to false solutions and the advocates for real solutions.

The United Nations Climate Summit in New York this September 23rd provides an opportunity to further build this unified movement in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of activists are planning to come to New York City for a march on September 21. In the days prior to that, the Global Climate Convergence in partnership with System Change not Climate Change will host a conference to discuss real solutions and obstacles to change, share skills and connect our sub-movements. This will be another step in the growing moving seeking real climate solutions in the face of the corruption and dysfunction of the United Nations and United States which have failed to address the climate crisis in meaningful ways.

Driven by profit, not real solutions

The United Nations' statements on the climate crisis and the Obama administration's rhetoric about its climate strategy make it sound like real actions are being taken to mitigate climate change. But the reality is that both the United Nations and the US government are acting on behalf of the industries that are vying to profit from the climate crisis even as they make it worse.

The UNFCCC began in 1992 as an international treaty to coordinate action around climate change. It is responsible for the Kyoto Protocol which is set to expire in 2020. The UNFCCC currently includes 195 member states which make decisions through the COP. The COP usually meets yearly, although currently it is meeting more frequently to prepare for the Paris Treaty which will be discussed at the COP 21 in December, 2015.

Sounds great, right? Wrong. According to Anne Petermann of the Global Justice Ecology Project which sends observers to the COP meetings and provides opportunities for frontline groups to get media attention for their work, the COP meetings are really just industry trade shows. She writes: "They block any forward process in stopping catastrophic climate change while creating new and diabolical schemes for making money off of false solutions." Petermann refers to the UNFCCC as the "World Carbon Trading Organization" and describes it as a body that promotes neoliberal economic models as do the World Bank and World Trade Organization.

Friends of the Earth describes the COP process as captured by corporate power to the extent that there are corporate logos everywhere. At the COP 19 in Poland, a concurrent meeting was held by the World Coal Association to promote the use of coal and false solutions like 'clean coal.'he extent that there are corporate logos everywhere. At the COP 19 in Poland, a concurrent me

A major false solution adopted at the COP 19 meeting in Warsaw, Poland is REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). While on the surface, REDD+ sounds like a positive step by paying countries to leave their forests intact, in reality, Petermann writes that local communities and advocates see REDD+ "as a Trojan Horse that will lead to enclosure of forests, erosion of rights, and big loopholes for polluting industries."

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Margaret Flowers, M.D. is a pediatrician from Maryland who is co-director of Popular Resistance and coordinator of Health Over Profit for Everyone Campaign.

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