Paris Climate Conference 2015: Crime against Communities

A broad alliance of leaders from communities on the frontline of the climate crisis have traveled to Paris to speak out against the proposed global climate agreement, saying that it falls far short of what is needed to avoid global catastrophe.

With more than 100 delegates from dozens of climate impacted communities across the US and Canada, theIt Takes Roots delegation is calling on world leaders to come out of Paris with an agreement based on real solutions.

“Climate catastrophes are a reality right now. But the COP21 is not based on that reality, only on what is politically expedient. The agreement is based on a carbon market that allows developed countries to continue to emit dangerously high levels of greenhouse gasses through shell games, imaginary technofixes, and trading schemes that result in land grabs and human rights violations,” said Alberto Salamando, a human rights expert with the Indigenous Environmental Network.

“The UNFCCC process has been hijacked by the fossil fuel industry, which is seeking to expand pollution markets and privatize and sell everything from our air to the algae in our water. From cap and trade in California, to the carbon trading requirements of the Clean Power Plan, the US is aligning other member states around false solutions instead of holding steadfast to renewable energy and other genuine sustainable solutions,” said Kali Akuno from Cooperation Jackson in Mississippi.

“Our delegation is more than 25 years in the making. From the People of Color Environmental Justice Summit, through the Kyoto Accords, and the entire COP process, we have been the voice of urgency and clarity at every turn, because protecting our communities, our families and the planet has been our only true interest. We know, just as these negotiators do, that real reductions require a fundamental shift from the extractive economy and stopping climate pollution at the source,” said Jose Bravo of the Just Transition Alliance.

“Members of our delegation include a young person from Alaska whose community will be evacuated in the next ten years because of sea level rise. They are mothers and children living alongside fracking wells, coal mines, and oil refineries. We don’t have the luxury of pretending that pollution trading works when we know that it is a hoax. The climate movement as a whole is growing in alignment that our survival requires the kind of leadership and strategies that come from the grassroots.” said Cindy Wiesner, National Coordinator of Grassroots Global Justice Alliance.

“We see through this latest attempt by world leaders to escape responsibility. If the Obama administration is serious about climate change they also have to be serious about the changes they are willing to make. Those changes will not be easy, but going the easy way and conceding to fossil fuel interests is what got us to this crisis in the first place. Coming into an international negotiation looking to avoid negotiations and responsibility is not ok. It’s time to change and stand with the people, not the polluters.” said Kandi Mosset from the Indigenous Environmental Network.

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About the Author: Akhtar Jamal

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