Emergency climate control and social justice: people must adopt these issues as vital ones. Yet, a few days before the opening of the Copenhagen Summit, the chances of arriving at an agreement on these questions are minimal.
There are four major areas of disagreement:
- The first point of disagreement is the inherited structure of the negotiations of the Kyoto Protocol that distinguishes between the developed countries on one hand, the “underdeveloped” countries on the other. In opening up a new field of negotiation on global targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, Western countries have imposed a “shared vision”, thus signalling their wish for an agreement with non-binding targets for developed countries. At the same time, all countries are claimed to be on an equal footing for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. It is these proposals in particular that call into question the historical responsibility of developed countries on global warming, since all countries would have to make equal contributions while developed countries are responsible for 77% of greenhouse gas emissions since the Industrial Revolution
- The second point of friction between countries of the North and countries of the South, which follows the first: the promises coming along with the quantified reduction of greenhouse gas emissions are insufficient to meet the urgency of climate control. The U.S. have arrived in Copenhagen without any clear commitment, and Russia and the EU together merely committed to a reduction of 20%. Less developed countries such as China, India and Mexico said they were willing to commit to significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, the alliance of small island countries expressed deep concern as to their territorial integrity and risk of mass migration due to climate change.
- The third point of contention concerns the issue of funding for adaptation to climate change. Actually, this includes two problematic issues: the management of funds and sources of these funds. The fund issue is crucial, because it is one of contention between two diametrically opposed forces. On the one hand there are the developed countries which want financial institutions (World Bank and IMF) managing the funds, while it is exactly those institutions that are responsible for the disastrous management of climate change. Therefore the countries of southern social movements demand that the management of these funds is entrusted to a fund dependent on the United Nations.
- A fundamental question related to fund management is that of funding. The European Commission advocates funding distributed as follows: 20% from developed countries, 40% coming from the flexibility mechanisms related to carbon markets, promoting a new financial bubble and 40% from developing countries themselves.
Thus there is the danger that the Copenhagen Summit will reproduce global social and systemic divisions, which means that it is by no means sufficient to oppose “deregulation”.
But we must talk about systemic changes which meet the rights and claims of indigenous peoples, we must talk about the transformation of development models and about the transition to models of sustainable development, i.e., ecologically sustainable with regard to the right of workers and populations to climate change to address both emergency climate control and social justice. We must turn the Copenhagen Summit into a heyday of civic awareness linking the systemic crisis of capitalism, productivity and the ecological crisis.