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What’s Missing from the Climate Talks? Justice!

Radical, global change is not only needed, it is the condition for the survival of the human race. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the climate issue, which itself involves just about every aspect of our lives on planet Earth: governance, socioeconomics, ethics, and our collective and individual responsibilities. Focus on the Global South, whose Web site is referred to by the Global Governance Workgroup published this article after the UN Climate Summit that was held in Bali last December 3 to 14, highlighting one of the oldest of humankind’s aspirations: justice.

Bali (Indonesia) - Peoples from social organizations and movements from across the globe brought the fight for social, ecological and gender justice into the negotiating rooms and onto the streets during the UN climate summit in Bali. [1]

Inside and outside the convention center, activists demanded alternative policies and practices that protect livelihoods and the environment.

In dozens of side events, reports, impromptu protests and press conferences, the false solutions to climate change - such as carbon offsetting, carbon trading for forests, agrofuels, trade liberalization and privatization pushed by governments, financial institutions and multinational corporations - have been exposed.

Affected communities, indigenous peoples, women, and peasant farmers called for real solutions to the climate crisis, solutions which have failed to capture the attention of political leaders. These genuine solutions include:
- reduced consumption;
- huge financial transfers from North to South based on historical responsibility and ecological debt for adaptation and mitigation costs paid for by redirecting military budgets, innovative taxes and debt cancellation;
- leaving fossil fuels in the ground and investing in appropriate energy efficiency and safe, clean, and community-led renewable energy;
- rights-based resource conservation that enforces indigenous land rights and promotes peoples’ sovereignty over energy, forests, land, and water;
- sustainable family farming and peoples’ food sovereignty.

Inside the negotiations, the rich industrialized countries have put unjustifiable pressure on Southern governments to commit to emission reductions. At the same time, they have refused to live up to their own legal and moral obligations to radically cut emissions and support developing countries’ efforts to reduce emissions and adapt to climate impacts. Once again, the majority world is being forced to pay for the excesses of the minority.

Compared to the outcomes of the official negotiations, the major success of Bali is the momentum that has been built toward creating a diverse, global movement for climate justice.

We will take our struggle forward not just in the talks, but on the ground and in the streets - Climate Justice Now!

[1Many social movements and groups that came together in Bali have agreed to establish a coalition called Climate Justice Now! in order to enhance exchange of information and cooperation among themselves and with other groups with the aim of intensifying actions to prevent and respond to climate change. Justice must be at the heart of tackling climate change, and must in no way be sacrificed.


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