From Copenhagen to Cochabamba

Last night I attended an orientation session for the New York delegation to the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Boliva.  The forty-odd members of the delegation were an extremely exciting bunch of grassroots activists, the majority of whom came from the Bronx, although other boroughs were also represented.  I’m extremely excited to be attending the conference, and will be blogging about it here and on the Social Text website, where we’ll be debuting a new live blogging feature.

Our NYC delegation seems particularly important to me given the decision taken late last week by the U.S. State Department to deny economic assistance to countries opposing the (virtually meaningless) Copenhagen accord.  I say meaningless because the accord was so watered down.  The accord takes the heroic step of “recognizing” the scientific case for keeping temperature rises to no more than 2C but contains no commitments to cut emissions to achieve that goal.  It’s gutless and meaningless, in other words.

Those who watched the Copenhagen conference closely will remember that the Obama administration tried to ram this fig-leaf of an accord down the throats of vulnerable poor countries by making $30 billion of promised mitigation funds contingent on acceptance of the accord.  The resistance of Bolivia and Ecuador to this poisoned apple means that they are now faced with a refusal on the part of the U.S. to dispense aid for the very grave environmental damage caused by the behavior of industrialized countries over the last 200 years.  Check out this article for more on the U.S.’s strong-arm tactics.  For more on Copenhagen in general, check out the online forum I curated for Social Text.

I hope that the NYC delegation will organize a very public protest against this U.S. policy while we are in Bolivia.  We in the (over)developed world bear such disproportionate responsibility for climate injustice.  Now the U.S.’s policy has become belligerent as well as mendacious.  Time to speak up!

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Filed under environment, imperialism

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