During the COP17 spectacle (17th Conference of Parties, the UN summit on Climate Change) in Durban, South Africa, in December 2011, La Via Campesina, the International Peasants Movement, issued a statement declaring certain actions be taken and conditions be met in order to prevent, forestall, or otherwise derail climate catastrophe. Because several of the actions do not appear to be copacetic with scientific reality, we endeavored to contact the organization, and sent the following email on December 7:
Dear Boa Monjane:
I write to you today with grave concerns about your recently publicized statement at
COP17, and hope this will bring a fruitful dialogue.
Your statement exclaims a set of solutions seeking to limit “further” temperature
rise to 1 degree. Given that the planet is currently up .8 by all relevant
calculations, your statement leads a reader to believe you are seeking a ceiling at
1.8. If so, this is an incredibly dangerous number to stand behind, given the
mathematical reality that we are, at a minimum, locked into 1.8 due to inertia,
hydrates, and other feedback mechanisms. If not, and your statement purports an
argument that we can and should stay below 1.0 total, it is an unachievable dream
and must be clarified as such.
Returning to 1.8 and the best case reality of that number, it is only achievable
with immediate and irreversible 100% reductions, yet your statement calls for a
minimum of 50% to achieve your solution set. I believe it is irresponsible to
promote 50% as a solution to climate crisis when anything less than 100% locks us
into the scientific reality of inertia and systems betrayal through feedback
mechanisms. It also comes nowhere close to making 1.8 – where we are already
committed assuming 100% emissions reduction today – achievable, even with an
unlikely assumption that methane hydrates are completely negated by nature.
I would very much like to understand why you claim 50% is part of the solution.
Another point of contention is your stated reliance on capitalism in the developed
world for various funding mechanisms. It should be well understood that reliance
upon any functional component of industrial capitalism for mitigation, adaptation,
and reparation for any length of time lends credence to the mechanism, perpetuates
it, and demands the growth of it, ironically, as the world condition grows more
dire. Making statements where the world utilizes the very economic machinery
responsible for the planet being on the brink of collapse in order to prevent the
collapse is more than troubling. It is criminal.
Do you really believe the patriarchal industrial north has the means, the motive,
and the benefit of planetary reality to stem the tide through finance?
Many of us in developed countries know what it means to call for, and succeed in
getting, 100% reductions. It means the end of nearly all we know, save maybe the
planet. Those of us who understand the demands of Mother Earth in that context also
recognize more people must rise up and fight for 100% all over the globe. Will La
Via Campesina do so?
I very much look forward to your responses and the ensuing dialogue. I have cced my
dear colleague and friend based in Canada, Cory Morningstar.
We received no response. On January 5, Cory Morningstar again sought feedback from the Via Campesina representative. No response. And now we are at the eve of Rio+20, where most of the same players will convene and further deteriorate any reasonable chance we have, as civil society, to stem the tide of climate change. As expected, the usual troop of NGOs will attend, claiming to speak for all of us while clamoring for cozy seats and sharp cocktails amongst the global elite. La Via Campesina will be there, too.
Climate justice allies would like to continue to convince us that an inside-outside strategy is to our advantage. That it is tenable. Yet the historical results state otherwise. This culture of compromise where lesser-evilism prevails and excuses for maintaining the status quo flow eloquently from the lips as well as the pen must end. From the Tongass in the north, to Durban in the south, the mechanisms we have employed collectively and individually have done nothing but render a trail of tears and destruction for all peoples, and all ecologies. The time for strategic charades and whimsical hopes is over.
It starts with one entity willing to say no, loudly, to the nefarious players (NGOs, governments, and corporations) creating the Green Climate Fund (GCF). We understand the fraudulent nature of the participatory process, the criminal dependence upon industrialized capitalism, and the woefully inadequate reality of yet another false solution. We say no.
It continues with another entity joining in the refusal, and rejecting the corporate tradeshow that is Rio+20. Canadians for Action on Climate Change so declares.
And the movement grows with you. Individuals and organizations are needed to rise above the fray, side by side, against the struggle of recidivist pursuits. Will you join?
We, the undersigned, reject in full your process, and are not, in any form, represented by any entity or organization claiming to represent civil society at Rio or any other fraudulent gathering related to the global condition. In fact, we boycott Rio and hereby issue a call of no confidence in the process and the participants.