Thursday, September 24, 2009

French Call for Action to Address the Climate Crisis with Social Justice

This is a rough translation of the call for action in the lead up to Copenhagen posted onto the French trade union Solidaire's website on September 19.

Social Justice and the Climate Emergency – Copenhagen in December 2009
We are at a crossroads. A product of human activity in a model of agricultural production and industrial and industrial societies have developed and spread throughout the planet, global warming threatens the livelihoods and the lives of billions of human beings, and threatens the extinction of millions of species. Already, entire populations are affected, particularly women, indigenous peoples, peasants and, the most disadvantaged in general.

Given this ecological and social crisis, social movements, environmental organizations, politicians and scientists around the world call for urgent and radical action. From December 7 to 12, the UN Conference on Climate Change will be held in Copenhagen. It must set objectives and solutions for implementation internationally to extend the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. To limit temperature increases to 2 ° C temperature over the level of the preindustrial era, beyond this, the runaway climate change will occur and it would not be possible to maintain a liveable temperature on Earth. It is imperative to reduce emissions. According to climatologists, to achieve this limit on temperature increase would require the industrialized countries, primarily responsible for the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs), reduce their emissions by 25 to 40% by 2020 and 80 to 95% by 2050 (from 1990).

Current policies are deadlocked
So far, the measures implemented and planned by the different states are totally inadequate. The measures advocated in particular by the European Union, which aims to reduce its emissions by only 20% in 2020, fall far short of the challenge. And while their GHG emissions per capita are the first in the world, the proposal of the United States (5% reduction in emissions over the same period) is, in turn, a real provocation vis-à-vis other nations. The solutions being proposed are not credible. Because they rely mainly on market mechanisms, while the economic and financial crisis has once again shown their inability to substitute for public action and collective. The policy of "lead market" international pollution rights is clearly inadequate, and the projects of the European Union and the United States in this regard are the ideological mirage. The technological solutions being put forward are also false solutions. Nuclear power, in addition to being a technology that carries major risks, can be in any case in providing minor contribution to the solution: even an ambitious expansion of nuclear power would result in a marginal reduction in the emission of greenhouse gas. The bio-fuels industry presents many environmental problems and will exacerbate the food crisis, without contributing to lower emissions.

Alternative measures are truly necessary

  • Democratization of the economy, which must be oriented to the satisfaction of social needs and respect for ecological limits, not by profit at any cost, by the dictates of consumerism and high productivity, such an approach implies support for short circuits in the social economy and the cooperative sector;
  • Reorienting investments (including research) to renewable energy, cogeneration, energy efficiency and environmentally sustainable projects, including energy recovery and reductions in energy use;
  • Recognition and protection of global public goods such as energy, the climate, forests, land and water. Stop deforestation, protection of primary forests and oceans, and, in general, protect biodiversity and wild seed;
  • Relocation of economic activities, bring places of residence and labour closer together - use planning, public transport development, limitation of air transport; fair and progressive taxation, national and international energy and transport the most polluting;
  • Back in the regulation of international trade , including ensuring food sovereignty and the massive development of peasant agriculture, North and South;
  • Promotion of a model food alternative to the model of industrialized countries (mainly based on animal protein) in order to reduce the acreage feed, thus reducing GHG emissions in the agricultural sector; remodelling massive buildings and promoting green building.

The climate and social justice must be central to policies implemented
The historical responsibility for this global crisis of the countries of the North and the productivist mode of development must be recognized. Justice and fairness require that the North repays its ecological debt, at a minimum by cancelling the debts of the Third World. The transfer of environmentally friendly technology to the South must be funded and the official development assistance must be increased, although this does not exempt the North’s own targets for reducing emissions. Climate refugees must be recognized and welcomed. Within each country, accompanying measures and social justice are essential so that everyone can cope with changes to be made, in the knowledge that efforts will be shared by all. We must ensure a fair and equitable access to essential goods and services such as energy, distribution should not be left to the market, but by society.

Alternative distribution of wealth should allow a transition to joint ecological economies, North and South. Therefore, a decent job with a decent income must be secured for all. Financial income and wealth should be taxed heavily to generate the resources necessary to transform economies. The management of funds must be democratic and ensure participation of local people. The huge sums invested in rescuing the banking system show that funds exist. Such bold public policy steps must be democratically debated, ignoring the interests of big lobbyists - including hydrocarbons, and establishing industrial production based on need and not profit and fairer distribution of natural wealth. In France, we call associations of environmental protection, trade unions, international solidarity, political organizations, local communities, and more generally every citizen to join the international mobilization and organization of joint initiatives to influence decisions of the Copenhagen summit in December 2009.

Now let us rally for the climate and social justice.

First Signatories:
Acme France (Association pour le Contrat Mondial de l'Eau - Association for the World Contract of Water); AC! (Action Consommation - Consumer Action); Agir ensemble contre le chômage (To Act Together Against Unemployment); AE2D (Agir pour un Environnement et un Développement Durables - To Act for A Durable Environment and Development); Aitec – IPAM (Association Internationale de Techniciens, Experts et Chercheurs – Initiatives Pour un Autre Monde - International association Technicians, Experts and Researchers - Initiatives For another World); Amis de la Terre (Friends of the Earth); ATTAC France; Avenir Climat (Future Climate); Bizi!; CADTM France (Comité pour l'annulation de la dette du Tiers Monde - Committee for l' cancellation of the debt of the Third world), Cniid (Centre national d'information indépendante sur les déchets - National Centre of Independent Information on Waste); Comité Pérou (Peru Committee), Compagnie NAJE (Nous n'Abandonnerons Jamais l'Espoir – We Will Never Give Up Hope); Confédération Paysanne (Peasant Confederation); Ecorev; Europe solidaire sans frontières (Europe Solidarity without Frontiers); Fac Verte ( ); Fondation Copernic (Copernicus Foundation); Fondation Sciences Citoyennes (Citizens Science Foundation); France Amérique Latine (France Latin America); FSU (Fédération Syndicale Unitaire – United Trade Union Federation); IDD (Immigration Développement Démocratie - Immigration Development Democracy); IERPE (Institut Européen de Recherche sur la Politique de l'Eau - Institute European of Research on Water Policy); LDH (Ligue des Droits de l'Homme - League for Human Rights); Mouvement de la Paix (Peace Movement); MRAP (Mouvement contre le Racisme et pour l'Amitié entre les Peuples - Movement against Racism and for Friendship between Peoples); MRJC (Mouvement Rural de Jeunesse Chrétienne – Rural Movement of Christian Youth); RAC-F (Réseau Action Climat – Climate Action Network); Réseau Féministe “Ruptures” (“Ruptures” Feminist Network); Réseau Sortir du Nucléaire (Network to End Nuclear Power); Union Syndicale Solidaires (Trade Union Solidarity); Vélorution Paris Ile-de-France; ZEP (Zone d'Ecologie Populaire – Popular Ecology Area)

Supported by:
Alter Ekolo (Ecologists for Another Europe), FASE (Fédération pour une Alternative Sociale et Ecologique – Federation for a Social and Ecological Alternative), Jeunes Verts (Young Greens), Les Alternatifs (The Alternives), Les Verts (The Greens), Parti de Gauche (Left Party), NPA (Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste – New Anti-Capitalist Party), Utopia


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Revitalising Labour attempts to reflect on efforts to rebuild the labour movement internationally, emphasising the role that left-wing political currents can play in this process. It welcomes contributions on union struggles, internal renewal processes within the labour movement and the struggle against capitalism and imperialism.

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