December 2014 People´s Summit on Climate Change in Lima, Peru
By Claudio Ekdahl
The People´s Summit on Climate Change will be held in Lima, Peru from the December 1-12, in parallel to the Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP 20).
The aim of the People’s Summit is to visualize the presence of the peoples of the world, to promote dialogue and discussion, and to exchange and present alternatives and proposals addressing climate change. The People’s Summit will be the space where the voices of organized people will be heard in a broad discussion to provide a real dimension of what this phenomenon means for our societies today.
The people organized in diverse groups seek to tear down the veil of secrecy and impermeability of political debates on climate, which often rely on scientism to do away with real democratic debate. However, it is essential to understand that COP 20 is a space for political negotiation between government officials and not among scientists, which will be present only as consultants.
In 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was opened for signatures and on December 11, 1997 in the city of Kyoto, Japan, a package was agreed to in order to reduce emissions of six greenhouse gases that cause global warming. This agreement was called the Kyoto Protocol, which came into effect on February 16, 2005. After the expiration of the first period of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012, it was decided to extend it until December 31, 2020.
At the Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP 19) held in Warsaw, Poland in November 2013, a covenant that did not set global gas reduction targets was signed. This was seen by most NGOs as a waste of time as the planet needs commitment and rigour to combat climate change. Unfortunately the world’s dominant class closes its eyes to this reality and strives to maintain an international regime on climate negotiations that are a total and complete failure.
The fifth report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – the international scientific body of the UN that provides information and analysis on the process and the risks and impacts of climate change – has recently been released. The findings of this latest report are clear: climate change is real and it has disastrous consequences.
Climate scientists incessantly call for a “rational debate” on the issue of climate change. However, the terms of the debate are dictated by the interests of those involved, and we can clearly see that those who currently hold the real power in society support a system that is entirely irrational in every way. Therefore, maintaining the hope that we can persuade political leaders through the presentation of empirical evidence and through a “rational debate” is naive and creates illusions about how to deal with the looming threat of the environmental crisis we face.
Climate change is the result of a devastating economic system that has been monopolizing and destroying the water, the air, the food and has been plundering all the natural resources. The measures against the ongoing ecological disaster will not come from capitalism and its oligarchic and openly pro-business governments, oblivious to the needs of the majorities in society and the common good.
To achieve this change it’s necessary to generate ecological and eco-socialist consciousness, to join anti-capitalist social struggles, and engage in self-organization of society. In this way, we can create a social force to dispute political and state power and build an environmental and democratizing alternative where the logic of capital now dominates.
It is increasingly clear that the task of mitigating climate change is not a scientific or technical but a political and economic issue. The problem is systemic and intrinsic – flowing from the laws and logic of capitalism. Reclaiming the means of production and wealth of the planet for public and democratic control of society can solve the problem of climate change and begin to build a society in which people and the planet coexist in harmony. This revolutionary idea is the only rational option.