Our suspicions are confirmed.
At the end of a 4-day United Nations-backed conference, called the Social Pre-COP Preparatory Meeting, of 130 green activist groups in Venezuela, the groups issued a declaration that
global warming climate change can only be “combated” by ending capitalism altogether.
The Margarita Declaration said: “The structural causes of climate change are linked to the current capitalist hegemonic system. To combat climate change it is necessary to change the system.”
That capitalism is the cause of “climate change” is also a position of the socialist Venezuelan government, the host of the meeting.
The declaration will be handed to environment government ministers when they meet ahead of the UN’s main round of climate talks in Lima this year.
The Social pre-COP meeting was the first time that NGOs (non-governmental organizations) were invited to participate with the UN at this scale at international climate talks. The government of Venezuela said the purpose of the meeting is to “set the basis of an alliance between peoples and governments”.
Ironically, although the Social pre-COP meeting was backed by the UN, the meeting’s end product of the Margarita Declaration opposes the views of the UN and many national governments on “combating” “climate change” via a capitalist “green economy” by encouraging green growth through carbon markets and clean energy investments.
Instead, the Margarita Declaration calls:
- carbon markets a “false solution” to the problem of climate change. The UN has set up its own carbon market, called the Clean Development Mechanism, which allows developed countries to pay for projects that will reduce the carbon footprint of poor countries.
- a UN-backed forest conservation scheme, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Land Degradation (REDD), “dangerous and unethical”. Under REDD, rich countries pay developing nations to preserve their forests, removing some of the financial incentive to chop them down. Deforestation is a significant contributor to climate change as it releases the carbon that is stored in trees.
Objections to the “green economy” prompted a walkout at the Rio+20 summit in 2012 because some developing countries wanted rich countries to simply hand over cash and “sustainable” technologies to poorer nations. Venezuela, a staunchly socialist government, has long opposed the “green economy” concept, alongside other Latin American countries including Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, and Nicaragua.
Sophie Yeo of rtcc.org reports that a participant at the July 15-18 Social pre-COP meeting who insisted on his anonymity said that while most of the Venezuelan groups present at the meeting were supportive of the Venezulan government’s position, there were 34 Venezuelan NGOs who rejected their invitation to the gathering, due to concerns that it would provide an opportunity for the government to push their socialist agenda.
Here are some choice quotes fromMargarita Declaration on Climate Change, Social PreCOP Preparatory Meeting, July 15-18, 2014, Margarita Island, Venezuela:
Pg. 2: “Men and women have become consumerist monsters that consume all the resources given by the Earth”. Génesis Carmona, aged 11, elected representative of the Venezuelan Children Environment Movements.
Pg. 3: The world needs corrective actions before damages become irreversible. We denounce the lack of political will of the wealthiest countries.
Pg. 3: Colonialism continues to operate. Climate change occurs within a historic context where a group of countries based their development on practices generating the current environmental crisis, including Climate Change, while others suffer the worst consequences. The developed countries causing the Climate Change intend to side-track the discussion towards technological or market solutions, thus eluding their historic responsibilities.
P. 3: The struggles of the South must be supported in the countries of the North. The wealthiest countries must commit themselves to finding a solution to the Climate Change. Youth in the North must exert pressure on their governments in that sense. There is not much time left, the global North must take on its historic responsibility and youth must exert pressure for this to happen.
Pg. 4: The main sources for climate crisis are the political and economic systems commercializing and reifying nature and life, thus impoverishing spirituality and imposing consumerism and developmentalism that generate unequal regimes and exploitation of resources. This global crisis is exacerbated by unsustainable practices of exploitation and consumption by the developed countries and the elites of the developing countries…. For such purposes, it is required that the developed countries meet their moral and legal obligations, especially vis-à-vis vulnerable and marginalized countries and communities by lifting barriers such as intellectual property rights which prevent the attainment of the preservation of life over the planet and the salvation of human species. We likewise urge them to comply with the financial contribution and the transfer of safe and locally suitable technologies free from barriers such as intellectual property rights….
pg. 5: According to scientific evidence, in order not to exceed 1.5 degrees increase of temperature, it becomes necessary not to produce 80% of the fossil fuel reserves known. For this purpose, the developed countries require to immediately reduce consumption and production of fossil fuels….
Pg. 6: We reject any attempt to implement or promote dangerous and unethical solutions or responses to Climate Change, solutions whereby wealthy industrialized countries and corporations ultimately seek to use climate change as a means for profit. Some of such false responses, such as carbon production and markets have caused damages in our forests and soils, whereas the implementation of the “United Nations Program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD)” and the production of agrofuels, have already caused seizure and fragmentation of lands.
Pg. 7: We demand the repair of historic debts, and reject the financing proposals which do not bring about effective transformations for a sustainable solution.
Pg. 9: It is necessary that the ancestral knowledge of the Peoples be deemed as equally important and valuable as scientific knowledge for decision-making and for actions against climate change by the UN and by the governments.
Pg. 10: The structural causes for climate change are linked to the current capitalist hegemonic system. Fighting the climate change involves changing the system.
Pg. 10: The change of the system must provide for a transformation of the economic, political, social and cultural systems at local, national, regional and global levels.
Pg. 11: We reject the implementation of false solutions to climate change, such as: carbon markets and other forms of privatization and commodification of life; geo-engineering, agrofuels productions, and measures favoringagribusiness and harming the production of food in an agro ecological manner, such as the use of transgenic seeds and agrotoxics, synthetic fertilizers and any other measure lessening the priority of the right to Good Living, health and the eradication of poverty enshrined in the Convention. We likewise reject the green economy, the intellectual property rights; the mega water dam projects, monocultures and nuclear energy.
Pg. 12: Ensure the financing by the developed countries to developing countries for such transformations, and for compensation and rehabilitation of the impacts of Climate Change.Financing must not be conditioned, and the management of the funds supplied shall be in the hands of the Peoples. The financing of mitigation and adaptation actions by the developed countries in the developing countries is a moral and legal obligation under the Convention by virtue of the historic responsibilities of the former. Funding must be reliable, predictable, sufficient and adequate. All obligations of the countries in the North in relation to finance, technology transfer and support for the compensation of losses and damages should be legally binding under the Climate Change Convention.
Click here to read the English version of the 13-page Margarita Declaration.
Among the 130 green activist groups that participated in the Social Pre-COP meeting are such well-known groups as:
- Christian Aid
- Climate Action Network
- East Michigan Environmental Action Council (Grassroots Global Justice Alliance)
- Friends of the Earth
- Third World Network
- World Wide Fund for Nature WWF International
- Young Friends of the Earth
For the full list of groups, click here.
Dr. Eowyn’s post first appeared at Fellowship of the Minds.