by Vandana Shiva<http://www.newleftproject.org/index.php/site/authors/tag/Vandana+Shiva>
Twenty Years ago, at the Earth Summit, the world’s Governments signed the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to create a legally binding framework to address the challenge of climate change.
Today, the Green House Gas emissions that contribute to climate change have increased not reduced.
The Climate Treaty is weaker not stronger.
The failure to reduce green house gases is linked to following the flawed route of carbon trading and emissions trading as the main objective of the Kyoto Protocol to the Climate Convention.
The Kyoto Protocol allows industrialized countries to trade their allocation of carbon emissions among themselves (Article 17). It also allows an “investor” in an industrialized country (industry or government) to invest in an eligible carbon mitigation project in a developing country in exchange for Certified Emission Reduction Units that can be used to meet obligation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is referred to as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol gave 38 industrialized countries that are the worst historical polluter’s emissions rights. The European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) rewarded 11,428 industrial installations with carbon dioxide emissions rights. Through emissions trading Larry Lohmann observes, “rights to the earth’s carbon cycling capacity are gravitating into the hands of those who have the most power to appropriate them and the most financial interest to do so”. That such schemes are more about privatizing the atmosphere than preventing climate change is made clear by the fact that the rights given away in the Kyoto Protocol were several times higher than the levels needed to prevent a 2°C rise in global temperatures.
Climate activists focused exclusively on getting the Kyoto Protocol implemented in the first phase. They thus, innocently, played along with the polluters.
By the time the Copenhagen Summit took place, the polluters were even better organised and subverted a legally building outcome by having President Obama push the Copenhagen Accord.
*Copenhagen and Beyond : The agenda for Earth Democracy*
The UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen was probably the largest gathering of citizens and governments [ever? To do with what?]. The numbers were huge because the issue is urgent. Climate chaos is already costing millions of lives and billions of dollars. The world had gathered to get legally binding cuts in emissions by the rich North in the post Kyoto phase i.e. after 2010. Science tells us that to keep temperature rise within 2°C, an 80% cut is needed by 2020. Without a legally binding treaty, emissions of greenhouse gases will not be cut, the polluters will continue to pollute, and life on earth will be increasingly threatened.