Social PreCOP: the youth take the floor and the mesas begin

photo credit Zack Embree – see

by nathan thanki

Work at the social preCOP in Venezuela has finally begun on the process to prepare a declarative document reflecting the demands of social movements in relation to climate change and the international process.

Following a day of presentations from local governments—including the Mayor of Nantes and the Governor of Caracas—day two, called “Youth Take the Floor” began with a panel that included Jamie Peters, Silje Lundberg, Anjali Appadurai, Lorena Terrazas, and an 11 year old Venezuelan “guarda parquista.” Hector Rodriguez, Venezuela’s Minister for Education (Ministro del Poder Popular para Educacion) also featured, and Vice Minister for North America, Claudia Salerno, introduced the speakers and facilitated an extensive dialogue between the audience and panelists. Read more…

Cambiando el Sistema, No el Clima: la PreCOP Social de Julio ha comenzado

texto original por Nathan Thanki, abajo traduccion en  Espanol por Maria Escalante

Saludos a todos desde Isla Margarita, el lugar de la primera preCOP social sobre el cambio climático. En los últimos años, hemos venido publicando en este sitio muchos comunicados, informes, polémicas, y lamentos desde los prefabricados y fríos espacios de las negociaciones sobre cambio climático de la ONU. Hemos visto y escrito cómo el proceso para negociar un nuevo tratado sobre el clima global (o cualquier sea su estado) se puso en marcha en 2011 y ha ido tropezando torpemente hacia adelante desde entonces.

photo credit Zack Emrbee


En caso de que no se haya dado cuenta como lector, estos escritos vienen cada vez más cargados de frustración. La “comunidad internacional” de los diplomáticos tiene, con tan sólo unas pocas excepciones notables (inténtelo usted: nombre alguno de los buenos), se ha dado una palmadita en la espalda así mismo y ha quedado al borde del abismo climático. Ahora nos enfrentamos con miedo a la realidad que en conjunto, pero especialmente entre los países ricos e industrializados, el nivel de ambición es tan bajo que el mantenimiento del calentamiento global por debajo de los niveles dañinos es esencialmente imposible.

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Changing the System, Not the Climate: July Social PreCOP begins

by nathan thanki

Greetings from Las Islas Margaritas, the site of the first ever social preCOP on climate change. Over the past few years on this website you may have read many dispatches, reports, polemics, and laments from the prefabricated halls of various UN climate change negotiations. We have watched and written as the process to negotiate a new global climate treaty (or whatever) was launched in 2011 and stumbled clumsily forward ever since.

photo credit Zack Embree

In case you didn’t notice, those writings have become increasingly frustrated. The “international community” of diplomats has, with only a few notable exceptions, back-slapped itself towards the edge of a climate cliff. We are now faced with the scary reality that collectively, but especially among rich industrialised countries, the ambition level is so low that keeping further warming below dangerous levels is essentially impossible. The unfairness (the inequity) of the situation is also a sore point and the cause of much of our frustration—large parts of the “developing” world are already struggling with the concurrent forces of increasing poverty, energy and food shortages, and privatisation of the commons—consequences of unfair international trade rules. Now they must also suffer the impacts of a changing climate, impacts they had relatively little hand in producing. As far as we’ve seen, the negotiations are going off down the wrong track of doing nothing more than establish new carbon markets, as if that would address systemic problems. We can and do write a lot about the many reasons behind this, but largely it is due to powerful lobbies and an imbalance of geopolitical power—exemplified by last year’s preCOP in Warsaw, which was exclusively for the (mainly fossil fuel) private sector. Read more…

A Letter to Powershift Atlantic

Hello Powershift Atlantic! We’re so excited to be making the eight hour drive from Maine next week. It will be our pleasure and privilege to meet all you amazing people, from young activists driving the College Divestment campaign, to Mi’kmaq warriors bravely resisting fracking in the face of state violence, and everyone in between. We want you to know you have our support and utmost respect.

We also wanted to take the opportunity to introduce ourselves: we’re members of Earth in Brackets, a student organisation at College of the Atlantic. As ours is a four year interdisciplinary degree, in rural Maine, and many of us are international students, we tend to focus our activism more on global processes than on local community issues. Read more…

The way here and the way forward: negotiating a new climate agreement

by nathan thanki

At the end of an unseasonably warm week in Bonn, the sun set on yet another round of UNFCCC (climate change) negotiations. The session, quieter than the end of year COP (Conference of the Parties) jamboree, has only dealt with one negotiating track—the “ADP.” The ADP, or Ad-hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (there’s a reason we use acronyms), is a negotiating process established in 2011 in Durban that is supposed to come to a close before COP21 in 2015, which you should note happens to be in Paris. What exactly the ADP is meant to come to a close with is still a matter of debate among countries and observers. The exact language in the decision (1/CP.17) which mandated these talks is a feat of creative ambiguity: the ADP is meant to conclude with “a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties.”  The term “applicable to all” has been subject to much debate, too.

In short, the ADP negotiations have not gone well to date.

Read more…