Blog post: China, climate justice and Mark Lynas | World Development Movement

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Blog post: China, climate justice and Mark Lynas

By Guest, 15 January 2010

Kate Blagojevic, used to be Press Officer

The post-Copenhagen showdown has featured politicians, NGOs and commentators like George Monbiot and Mark Lynas slogging it out over whether to blame the US or China, for the lack of progress in Copenhagen. All reminiscent of our 2007 report; Blame it on China?

Yesterday it got a little more personal when Mark Lynas, in the New Statesman, suggested that it is wrong to call for climate justice. Mark accuses the World Development Movement of saying “anything calling into question the roles of developing countries must be a plot by the rich former colonial powers”. I have trawled our website and can't remember writing that. Perhaps he is referring to the fact that we were tough on Obama; tough on Brown and tough on rich countries, who were trying to save face but not the climate.

In his article, Mark Lynas misunderstands what climate justice means. The concepts of climate justice and climate debt originated in developing countries. They are based on demanding equality and compensation for the climate change that rich countries have caused. Climate justice does not mean giving carte blanche to developing countries to increase their carbon emissions. In fact, it is the opposite.

The international coalition of campaigners and activists Climate Justice Now! and Climate Justice Action are demanding that fossil fuels must be left in the ground, sustainable food production must increase and excessive consumption must be reduced. Yes, first by rich countries, but also by elites in developing counties. 

Climate justice means rich countries paying their climate debt by radically cutting their carbon emissions; but also paying compensation for developing countries to finance the transition to become low carbon economies, and to adapt to the ravages that climate change will cause.

Climate justice is about rejecting the business interests and their market solutions that are capturing governments and blocking any progress that puts people above profits. This is why we are seeing now, as we have always seen at the WTO, negotiators from rich countries bullying developing countries to sign a deal that condemns the poorest people to misery, but keeps profits safe.

The China blame game from rich country PR machines is a tactic to detract attention from the fact rich countries want to continue to use huge amounts of fossil fuels for decades to come.

In the aftermath of the Copenhagen failure, Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband blamed various developing countries for 'holding the world to ransom'. But what various commentators failed to report was that it was the UK which effectively blackmailed the world to try and force through the unjust and ineffective 'Obama Accord'. Ed Miliband told developing countries they would not get any of the ‘upto’ $10 billion a year on offer if they would not endorse the deal. The short-term finance on offer is not only a pittance, it’s an allocation of what’s already out there: existing aid money, loans which will increase unjust debts; and corporate-controlled World Bank finance.

Rightly, the Tuvalu representative compared the money to 30 pieces of silver, and WDM condemned this as paying developing countries to sign their own death warrant.

Mark says that two wrongs don't make a right. We know that and that's why we believe that the 'Obama Accord' was both wrong for people and wrong for the planet.


 

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