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COP21 Paris Accord failed humanity, impacted communities respond

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Nick Breeze

Climate journalist and host of Shaping The Future podcast.

The atmosphere within the COP21 meeting was one of business instead of saving Mother Earth. World leaders were in deep negotiations not over climate policy, they were in negotiations about commercialization of nature. The result is a Paris Accord that 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 pollution trading schemes that simultaneously let big polluters to continue polluting and result in land grabs and violations of human rights and the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

When Obama says we are doing our best, it is simply not true. From cap and trade in California to the carbon trading requirements of the Clean Power Plan, the US came into Paris with a predetermined model based on false solutions and bullied other countries to jump on board. The commitments they made ignore the overwhelming historic responsibility as a leader greenhouse gas emitter, and are far too low to stop the burning of the planet.

The COP21 agreement is a failure, condemning humanity to a slow and painful death. In imposing a market strategy, global leaders, particularly those in the US and Canada, are choosing a course of inaction that is blind to the stark realities of the climate crisis.

Our Movements Represent Life

The Paris Accord failed humanity and now we have to take things into our own hands and push at all levels of government. We know that the extraction of fossil fuels must end completely by 2050 to keep the earth from warming more than 1.5 degrees. The Paris Accord will now be moved into implementation at the national, regional, and local levels and we need to be organized to remain vigilant around the demand to keep fossil fuels in the ground because anything short of that equals destruction.

We join the call for System Change, Not Climate Change because we know that the fundamental driving force behind the climate crisis is capitalism and the very nature of the extractive economy as a whole. Climate Justice is not only about the environment. It is tied to jobs, housing, poverty, migration, food security, gender equality, access to health care. System Change requires fundamental respect for human rights, particularly the rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as the rights of Mother Earth. System Change requires that we reject the corporate-driven, free trade and investment agreements and how that is linked to also harmonizing trading regimes, investment regimes, and trees, and nature itself. We are building new alternative economic models based on an internationalist strategy of Just Transition toward renewable energy, cooperative economies, and community control. We will continue to resist extraction at the local level in all frontline communities.

We had no illusion coming into this COP. We knew that the fossil fuel companies had already hijacked the UNFCCC process. We leave Paris only more aligned, and more committed than ever that our collective power and growing movement is what is forcing the question of extraction into the global arena. We will continue to fight at every level to defend our communities, the earth and future generations. As Franz Fanon wrote, “the magic hands are the hands of the people.”

Grassroots Global Justice Alliance

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