After Paris: Unify the fights against austerity and climate change

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Paris demonstration 12 December

Asbjørn Wahl writes: The Climate Summit in Paris has once again reminded us of how vulnerable we are on planet Earth. However, humanity is faced with a number of deep and challenging crises: economic, social, political, over food – and, of course, over climate change, which is threatening the very existence of millions of people. These crises have many of the same root causes, going to the core of our economic system.

Strong vested interests are involved. It is thus an interest-based struggle we are facing. All over the world, people are organizing and fighting against the effects of the crises. Trade unions are heavily involved in many of these struggles, and so are many other movements – single-issue as well as broader social movements. Increasingly, our entire social model, the way we produce and consume, is under question. The way out of these crises requires a system change and this can only be achieved if we are able considerably to shift the balance of power in society. This leaves us with the challenge of unifying movements and continuing struggles – particularly to bring anti-austerity together with the struggle against climate change. Continue reading

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Paris: World Agrees to Increase Emissions

farmers praying for rain, Ranchi, India, 2013

farmers praying for rain, Ranchi, India, 2013

The circus is over. The suits are leaving Paris. There have been millions of words written about the text. But one fact stands out. All the governments of the world have agreed to increase global greenhouse gas emissions every year between now and 2030. [1]

Why? Because all the countries have agreed to accept the promises of all the other countries. Among the top 20 countries for emissions, here are the countries that have promised to increase their emissions a lot by 2030: China, India, Russia, Korea, Mexico, Indonesia, South Africa, Turkey, Thailand, Kazakhstan, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam.

And here are the countries in the top 20 that have promised to cut their emissions by about 1% a year between now and 2030: USA, European Union, Japan, Canada, Brazil, Australia, and Argentina.

The countries that won’t cut will increase a lot will increase a lot. The countries that will cut will not cut by much. You would never know this from the way the agreement has been reported by the UN or the media. Continue reading

Le gouvernement français nous a dit un gros mensonge, et nous les avons crû

shoes left in silent climate protest in Paris

shoes left in silent climate protest in Paris

Jonathan Neale ecrit: A la suite des tueries de Paris, le gouvernement a instauré l’état d’urgence et
interdit toute manifestation publique. Ils nous ont dit que la Coalition pour le Climat ne
pourrait pas manifester. Cela paraissait censé pour la plupart d’entre nous.
“N’est-ce pas terrible?”, pensions-nous. Mais la plupart des gens à Paris ont cru comprendre pourquoi le gouvernement français agissait ainsi.

Sauf que lors des attaques de Charlie Hebdo en début d’année, ce même gouvernement a appelé à une manifestation massive. Personne, pas une seule personne au monde n’émit l’idée que cette manifestation poserait des problèmes de sécurité. Continue reading

The French government told us a big lie, and we believed it

shoes left in silent climate protest in Paris

Shoes left in silent climate protest in Paris

Jonathan Neale writes: After the killings in Paris, the government immediately banned all public demonstrations under a state of emergency. They told the climate coalition we could not march. That seemed to make a sort of sense to most people in the climate movement. Isn’t it terrible, we said. But most people in Paris thought they understood why the French government was doing it.

Except, when the Charlie Hebdo killings happened earlier this year, the French government called for a massive demonstration. No one – not one person in the world – suggested that demonstration interfered with security.

And I have been in Paris for a week. This is not a city under martial law, or a state of emergency. Police presence is light – hardly noticeable in most walks of life. In reality only one thing is forbidden in Paris – protesting to save the world’s climate.

The French government did not want a march of 500,000 in Paris on November 29. They saw their chance. They forbade the march. They used the deaths of all those people to stop us trying to save hundreds of millions more. Most of us were sick at heart, and shaken, and some of us were afraid. So they fooled us. Continue reading

Corbyn and Klein on Climate Jobs

Jonathan Neale writes: Last night in Paris Jeremy Corbyn and Naomi Klein spoke to 800 people about trade unions and climate change. For me, the best moment was when Jeremy started his speech by saying ‘I want to hold this document up. It’s called One Million Climate Jobs’.

The meeting was sponsored by Trade Unions for Energy Democracy and the Global Climate Jobs Campaigns. This video from the ever wonderful Reelnews is 15 minutes of highlights of the meeting. From 8.56 to 12.40 you can hear Jeremy Corbyn, Clara Paillard of the climate jobs campaign in the UK, and Josua Mata of the climate jobs campaign in the Philippines, talking about climate jobs. And from 14.20 on is Jeremy’s powerful summing up.