“This is a mixed day. We know the deal is not enough to keep us safe. The good news is that we have a movement ready to fill the vacuum left by our leaders and to push them so hard to change the dynamics so that the next time they get together we have a way better deal.”
Naomi Klein, 12/12/15 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAB5BrduTz4
This week, we returned from an uplifting weekend in Paris in which we joined thousands of protesters in defying the state of emergency and calling for ‘Climat. Justice. Paix’ in the streets.
On Saturday 12th December, as the COP 21 talks slowly reached their conclusion, we took part in several actions across Paris.
We joined Friends of the Earth’s project in ‘spelling out’ ‘Climate Justice Peace’ in dozens of photos mapped in small groups across Paris. You can see the photos here http://www.climatejusticepeace.org/
We then made our way to participate in the ‘red lines’ demonstration in which thousands of people gathered, kept silence, danced, sang and protested in the Avenue de la Grande Armée near l’Arc de Triomphe. You can watch a film of the demonstration here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSLc6JInfuI&list=PLezW_SjSjtHsbR3hDEIJtZxUV-Akvui2e&index=2
Finally, we joined a powerful demonstration of a ‘state of climate emergency’ in the Champs de Mars near the Eiffel Tower.
It was a lively and dignified event with protesters chanting in English and French:
“Et un, et deux, et trois degré.
C’est un crime contre humanité”
(‘And one, and two and three degrees.
It’s a crime against humanity’)
The slogan of this demonstration was “+3C Etat D’Urgence Climatique!’ (+3C State of Climate Emergency!) It referred both to the previous commitments of governments to reduce emissions (which translate to 3 degrees C above pre-industrial levels) and the French government’s state of emergency following the November 13 terrorist attacks. It was only on the day before the demonstrations that the government relented and agreed not to try to suppress them.
Fifteen thousand people linked hands to form a human chain, spelt out ‘+3 SOS’ with their bodies, listened to speakers including Naomi Klein and danced and sang along with the amazing HK of HK Et Les Saltimbanks as he performed ‘On Lache Rien’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6_7Mbp76jU, ‘Niquons la Planete’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liu21_593-A and ‘Sans haine, sans armes, sans violence’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3SDCmyhFrc.
Throughout the day we displayed the Kirklees Tricolore. This is a French flag bearing the demands of the march for Climate, Justice and Jobs in London on 29th November.
- No to Dirty Energy!
- Yes to Renewables!
- Climate Jobs Now!
- Justice for People!
It also carried the names of 50 Kirklees residents who supported these demands. We thank those people who joined us in spirit in this way.
The deal itself is both historic and inadequate in responding in the way the science demands. Over the weekend George Monbiot said that “By comparison to what it could have been, it’s a miracle. By comparison to what it should have been, it’s a disaster” http://www.theguardian.com/environment/georgemonbiot/2015/dec/12/paris-climate-deal-governments-fossil-fuels
There have been hundreds of thousands of words analysing the deal by people more expert than us in the past few days. In brief, we’d like to summarise the good points and the bad points about the deal.
The good points are:
- It is the first time that there has been a general agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions. It can be seen as the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era.
- Under pressure from developing countries and campaigners the deal includes an ambition to keep global temperatures below 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
- It recognises that emissions in developed countries need to peak before those of developing countries.
- It commits finance to help developing countries to address climate change and its impacts.
The bad points are:
- There is no obligation for nations to keep temperatures below 1.5 degrees. They only need to ‘pursue efforts’ to do so.
- The need to ‘peak emissions’ is not time-defined but expressed as needing to happen ‘as soon as possible’. It allows for this to take place in the latter half of the century. It also keeps the door open for offsetting rather than genuine cuts.
- The deal provides no legally-binding way to ratchet up emission cuts.
- The deal is weak on providing finance for loss and damage to most vulnerable countries. It precludes any concept of liability and compensation.
- The deal is weaker than the draft text that was released two days before the final deal.
There is far more detailed analysis of the deal by Friends of the Earth here https://www.foe.co.uk/blog/paris-climate-talks-analysis-final-agreement
Bill McKibben has written eloquently about the deal in the last few days, using the metaphor of a marathon. According to this metaphor, the world leaders have decided to take part in the marathon but at the moment, all sense of appropriate pace is lacking. He says it will be up to ordinary people in future years to act like coaches, putting pressure on world leaders to keep us the pace, and complete the race very quickly indeed. You can read the article here http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/13/paris-climate-talks-15c-marathon-negotiating-physics
“Think of the ever-growing climate movement as personal trainers – for the next few years our job is to yell and scream at governments everywhere to get up off the couch, to put down the chips, to run faster faster faster. We’ll fan out around the world in May to the sites of all the world’s carbon bombs; we’ll go to jail if we have to. We’ll push. And if “personal trainer” doesn’t sound fierce enough, then think of us as a pack of wolves. Exxon, we’re on your heels. America, China, India – that’s us, getting closer all the time. You need speed. It’s our only chance”