System change – not climate change: Klimaforum declaration ready for Sign-On!

Tord Björk | Climate,Friends of the Earth,Klimaforum,political culture,Summits,Uncategorized | Friday, December 11th, 2009

Editing committee the decisive night in practice (for official participants, see Klimaforumwebsite) fromthe left to the right: Permaculture Institute of El Salvador – Juan N. Rojas (at times also translator and actively cooperating with committee menber Grupo de Reflexión Rural (ONG) – Inés Maria Aiuto, Argentina, Women’s Initiatives for Society, Culture, and Environment, Phillipines – Marlea P. Munez,Mathilde Kaalund-Jørgensen, Coordinator of the declaration process, Klimaforum09 Denmark, Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) – Irene Velez from Colombia,  People’s Movement on Climate Change (PMCC)/IBON – Paul Quintos fromthe Phillipines, Permakultur Danmark – Kirsten Gamst, Institute of Environment and Water, Kenya – Geoffrey Kimiti Mburu 

System change – not climate change: A People’s Declaration from Klimaforum09 is now ready for sign-on. You can sign -on via Klimaforum webbpage or if you find a box were you can put a piece of paper were you can submit your signitures. You can find a pdf file with the final declaration here: http://www.klimaforum09.org/Declaration

Mathilde, Declaration group coordinator and John Holten Andersen, board member of Klimaforum09 preparing the drafting room.

The declaration work started when all committee members and Danish Klimaforum board members were carrying chairs and tables to make it possible to use an empty room in an old meat process factory at the Pork Square in an odd corner of the meat town at some distance from Klimaforum main venue.

Morten Hansson, Attac Denmark and Klimaforum board member as well as trouble shooter taking care of any problem, here carrying chairs for the drafting room. There has been problem for many international organizations to understand the realities of Danish political culture and how Danish organizations and actvism looks like. Klimaforum have some 6 people paid in the staff, the rest is volunteer work by 27 very small organizations that all have to carry out their own activities during COP15 as well. The big NGOs have chosen to put all their energy into lobbying inside the Bella Center instead or as the Conservation society with a total number of members equal to every tenth Danish inhabitant (ca.half a million members) to organize a big mass activity as a fair to promote ecological business and local initiatives 3-6/12. Attac Denmark have 200 members and in total 4 are active to prepare Attac activities during COP15 including taking a main reponsibility for carrying out Klimaforum. Besides doing the Attac Denmark activities and helping out with any Klimaforum responsibilities the four Attac Denmark members also have to take care of 500 visiting Attac Members from the rest of the world including lodging, social events, demonstration preparations and whatever there is. Attac Denark is furthermore the only Danish formal organization so far which is not a loose activist network that has decided to support the Recalim Power Climate Justice action on December 16. 

Intertwined with the introduction and the declaration you find photos of the editing group while working with the final draft before it should be adopted.

In the meat factory

A new song about writing declarations:

Last night I had, the strangest dream, I never dreamt before. I dreamt there was and end to all drafts, and I could sleep much more. I dreamt about a huge big hall were all could sit and eat, and nowhere was that ugly food they call the bloody meat.

Apart from photos you will find below a comparisment between the first and the final declaration. The summary did not exist in the first draft, the rest are shown here with the paragraphs put together so that the first paragraph in the final declaration is followed by the fist paragraph of the first draft, etc.

It was about half past three when the editing committee could start their work to prepare the last draft before adopting the Klimaforum declaration. The first draft was presented by the editing committee November 15. The second draft some day before the Klimaforum and COP15 started. Now it was time for the third draft and it was yesterday they started working on it, December 9. I was there to help out if needed and had the time to document the drafters while they were working.


 

Finally the adoptation of the System Change – not climate change declaration could be carried out at a plenary between 10 and 12 o’clock, extended for one hour.

Editing committee discussing in plenary with the opposition on the need for a stronger and more democratic UN, a proposal that finally made it into both COP15 demands, the preamble and the summary

Here is the text were minor linguistic corrections still may be necessary:

  • System change – not climate change

A People’s Declaration from Klimaforum09

SUMMARY

There are solutions to the climate crisis. What people and the planet need is a just and sustainable
transition of our societies to a form that will ensure the rights of life and dignity of all peoples and deliver a more fertile planet and more fulfilling lives to future generations.

We, participating peoples, communities and all organizations at the Klimaforum09 in Copenhagen, call
upon every person, organization, government and institutions, including the United Nations (UN), to
contribute to this necessary transition. It will be a challenging task. The crisis of today has economic,
social, environmental, geopolitical, and ideological aspects interacting with and enforcing each other as
well as the climate crisis. For this reason, we call for urgent climate action:

A complete abandoning of fossil fuels within the next 30 years, which must include specific
milestones for every 5-year period. We demand an immediate cut in GHG of industrialized
countries of at least 40% compared to 1990 levels by 2020.

Recognition, payment and compensation of climate debt for the overconsumption of
atmospheric space and adverse effects of climate change on all affected groups and people.

Rejection to purely market-oriented and technology-centred false and dangerous solutions
such as nuclear energy, agro-fuels, carbon capture and storage, Clean Development Mechanisms,
biochar, genetically “climate-readied” crops, geo-engineering and reducing emissions from
deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), which deepens social and environmental conflicts.

Real solutions to climate crisis based on safe, clean, renewable and sustainable use of natural
resources, as well as transitions to food, energy, land and water sovereignty.

Therefore, we demand of COP15 to reach an agreement that will initiate the restoration of the
environmental, social and economic balance of planet Earth by means that are environmentally, socially
and economically sustainable and equitable, and finally come up with a legally binding treaty.

The adverse impacts of human-induced climate change cause gross violations of human rights. The
nations have an obligation to cooperate internationally to ensure respect for human rights everywhere in the world according to the Charter of the United Nations. Any specific agreement on climate change must be seen in the broader context of achieving a sustainable transition of our societies.

We, participating people and organisations at Klimaforum09, commit to continue our full and active
engagement in promoting such a transition, which will require a fundamental change in social, political
and economic structures and a rectification of gender, class, race, generation, ethnic inequalities and
injustices.
This requires restoration of democratic sovereignty of our local communities as a basic social, political and economic unit. Local and democratic ownership and control over and access to natural resources will be the basis for meaningful and sustainable development of communities, and simultaneously reduce
greenhouse gas emissions. There is also the need for stronger regional and international cooperative
arrangements to manage common and shared resources, and a stronger and democratic UN.
We call upon every concerned person, social movement, cultural, political or economic organisation to
join us in building a strong global movement of movements, which can bring forward peoples’ visions and emands on every level of society. Together, we can make global transitions to sustainable futures.

The declaration, final version

System change – not climate change
A People’s Declaration from Klimaforum09

1. Preamble

There are solutions to the climate crisis. What people and the planet need is a just and sustainable
transition of our societies to a form that will ensure the rights of life and dignity of all people and deliver amore fertile planet and more fulfilling lives to present and future generations. A transition based on
democratic principles of solidarity, especially for the most vulnerable, non-discrimination, gender equality,
equity, and sustainability, acknowledging that we are part of nature, which we love and respect. To address
the climate crisis, however, awareness creation and determined actions adhering to a rights-based
framework are required. The nations have an obligation to cooperate internationally to ensure respect for
human rights everywhere in the world according to the Charter of the United Nations.
We, participating peoples, communities and all organizations at the Klimaforum09 in Copenhagen, call
upon every person, organization, government and institution, including the United Nations (UN), to
contribute to this necessary transition. It will be a challenging task. The crisis of today has economic,
social, environmental, geopolitical, and ideological aspects interacting with and enforcing each other as
well as the climate crisis. This very moment of conjunction of crises — climate-, energy-, financial-, food and water crisis, among others, urges us to unite and transform the dominant social and economic system
as well as global governance, which blocks necessary solutions to the climate crisis. For this reason, a
movement from below is called upon to act now.
Environmental and climate debts must be paid. No false, dangerous and short-term solutions should be
promoted and adopted, such as nuclear power, agro-fuels, offsetting, carbon capture and storage (CCS),
biochar, geo-engineering, and carbon trading. Instead we should implement a truly sustainable transition
built on clean, safe and renewable resources and energy conservation. We welcome alliances across social
movements and sectors, representing all ages, genders, ethnicities, faiths, communities and nationalities.
We want to take the future into our own hands by building a strong and popular movement of youth,
women, men, workers, peasants, fisher folks, indigenous peoples, people of colour, urban, and rural social
groups which is able to act on all levels of society to deal with environmental degradation and climate
change. We call for a new international economic order and support a strong and democratic UN as
opposed to G8, G20 or other closed groups of powerful countries.

The 1st draft

System change – not climate change
A People’s Declaration from Klimaforum09

1. Preamble

There is a solution to climate change. What people and the planet need is a just and sustainable transition of our societies to a form that will deliver a more fertile planet and more fulfilling lives to future generations.

We, participating people and organisations at the Klimaforum09 in Copenhagen, call upon every concerned person, social movement, cultural, political, economic or other forms of organization to contribute to this necessary transition. It will not be an easy task. The climate challenge is indivisibly linked to other critical ecological problems as well as to complex social issues. There are no real solutions unless both social justice and ecological awareness are taken into account. It is essential to recognize that both of these issues are loaded with conflicts: On the one hand a conflict between the rich and the poor, which is only emphasized by the environmental debt, which the former owes to the latter. On the other hand a conflict exists between false solutions, like nuclear power, bio-fuels, CCS and carbon trading, and a truly sustainable transition based on renewable resources.

We welcome alliances across the divide between different movements, representing all kinds of age, gender, ethnicity, beliefs and trades as well as like-minded municipal and national governments. We want to take the future in our own hands by building a strong and popular movement of movements of men, women, youth, workers, peasants, fisher folk, indigenous peoples, urban, and rural social groups which is able to act on all levels of society to deal with environmental degradation and climate change.

As outlined in the political platform of Klimaforum09, we demand and will contribute to sustainable solutions that

1. prioritise energy saving,
2. promote the use of safe, clean, renewable energy,
3. reduce greenhouse gas emissions and as such do not promote or cement the use of fossil fuels,
4. are built on agricultural methods that fix carbon in the soil and reduce the use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides by sustainable farming and peoples’ food sovereignty and not market-based solutions for mitigation and adaptation of agriculture to climate change.
5. secure sustainable use of as well as equitable and just access to resources of the earth, including huge financial and technological transfers from North to South, based on the repayment of climate and environmental debts and subject to democratic control.
6. radically reduce wasteful consumption, first and foremost in the North, but also by Southern elites.
7. bring social change in the control of the means of production that promote a sustainable transition.
8. enforce indigenous land rights and promotes peoples’ sovereignty over energy, forests, land and water.

We declare:

this is how we see the climate challenge
this is the direction in which we will move
this is the road to sustainable transition

 

While some are working, others takes a rest

The declaration, final version

2. The challenge, as we see it:
The concentration of greenhouse gasses (GHGs) in the atmosphere is already so high, that the climate
system has been brought out of balance. The CO2 concentration and global temperatures have increased
more rapidly in the last 50 years and will rise even faster in the coming decades. This adds to a multitude
of other serious ecological imbalances, the impacts of which threatens the lives and livelihoods of the
people of the world, most acutely, the impoverished people and other vulnerable groups.

The imbalance of the climate system leads to greater and more frequent extremes of heat and rainfall
patterns, tropical cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons, extreme flooding and droughts, loss of biodiversity,
landslides, rising sea levels, shortage of drinking water, shorter growing seasons, lower yields, lost or
deteriorated agricultural land, decreased agricultural production, losses of livestock, extinction of especially in the North rather than for local basic needs. The same can be said about modern industrial
fisheries, intensive forestry and mining which destroys ecosystems, diminishes biodiversity and destroys
the life and livelihoods of local communities.
These effects of climate change together with growing social inequalities and severe impacts on our
common environment are already devastating the lives of millions of people as well as their local
communities. However, we – the people -are not prepared to accept this fact as our fate. That is why there
are fast growing popular movements determined to defend their livelihoods and stand up against those
forces and causes, which have led us on to this ultimately suicidal route of environmental destruction.
In Asia, Africa, Middle East, Oceania and South and Central America as well as the periphery of North
America and Europe popular movements are rising to confront the exploitation of their land by foreign
interests and to regain control over their own resources. A new type of activism has revitalized the
environmental movements, leading to a wide variety of protests and actions against mining, big dams,
deforestation, coal fired plants, air travel and the building of new roads among others. There is a growing
awareness about the need to change the present economic paradigm in a very fundamental way. Among
various movements, alternative ways of life are proliferating. At the same time it is becoming evident to
the public that the present holders of power are unwilling to face and deal with the threats of climate
change and environmental degradation. The so-called strategy of ‘green growth’ or ‘sustainable growth’
has turned out to be an excuse for pursuing the same basic model of economic development, that is one
of the root causes of environmental destruction and the climate crisis.

 

1st draft

2. People are rising to the threat of climate change

All over the world the effects of climate change is becoming more and more evident. Together with growing social inequalities and many other severe impacts on our common environment, it is already now severely threatening the lives of millions of people as well as their local communities. However people are not prepared just to accept this fact as their fate and therefore we are also witnessing a fast growing popular movement of climate activism, that is resolved to defend life hoods and stand up against those forces and causes, that have led us on to this deadly route of environmental destruction.

In Asia, Africa, Oceania and South and Central America popular movements are rising to confront the exploitation of their land by foreign interests and to regain control over their own resources. A good case in point is Bolivia, where an alliance of workers, peasants and indigenous people for many years have struggled for their rights to land, water and natural resources. With the victory of the popular movement and the instalment of a new government the people of Bolivia now have the opportunity to regain control over their own land and natural resources to the benefit of both the environment and the people.

Generally it seems that the unity of social and environmental movements have been most successful in the south, while the situation in the north is still very much characterized by a fragmentation of interests and agendas. However within the last couple of years the dire prospects of climate change appear to have opened the eyes of more and more people, also in the North. As a result a new type of activism has revitalized the environmental movements, leading to a wide variety of protests and actions against mining, big damns, deforestation, coal fired plants, the air traffic or the erection of new motor roads. There is also a growing awareness about the need to change the present economic growth paradigm in a very fundamental way and among various movements concrete experiments with alternative ways of life are proliferating. At the same time it is becoming evident to still larger groups of the public, that the present mainstream policies to combat climate change are basically hypocritical and untrustworthy. The so called strategy of ‘green growth’ or ‘sustainable growth’ has turned out to be an excuse for pursuing the same basic model of economic development, that is the root cause of environmental destruction and climate crisis. More and more people all over the world have come to the conclusion that the present holders of global power are unwilling and unable to face and deal with the threats of climate change and environmental degradation.

The declaration, final version

3. The causes, as we see them:
The immediate and primary cause of human-induced climate change is an unprecedented emission of
greenhouse gasses (GHGs) into the atmosphere originating from the increasing burning of fossil fuels
from industry, commerce, transport and military purposes, to mention a few but significant sources. Other
important drivers of climate change are deforestation, extractive industries, forest degradation — excluding
indigenous people’s sustainable practice of shifting cultivations — disturbance of water cycle, expanding
areas through land grabbing for industrial agriculture, increased industrial meat-production and other
types of unsustainable use of natural resources.

Uneven control and ownership over resources

These immediate causes are the results of an unsustainable global economic system built on unequal
access to and control over the planet’s limited resources and the benefits that accrue from their use. This
system is premised on the appropriation of local, national and planetary commons by local and global
elites. What has been praised as great strides in technology, production and human progress has in fact
precipitated global ecological and development disasters. Still, a privileged global elite engages in reckless
profit-driven production and grossly excessive consumption while a very large proportion of humanity is
mired in poverty with merely survival and subsistence consumption, or even less. This is the situation not
only in countries of the South but also in the North. The world’s largest transnational corporations
(TNCs) based mainly in the northern countries and tax-havens, but with expanding operations, have long
been at the forefront of these excesses.
The competition among global corporations and rich nations for resources and greater market shares, as
well as trade agreements and treaties, have led to a neo-colonial suppression of southern peoples, denying
them rightful ownership and control of their resources. The World Trade Organization (WTO) and
international financial institutions, as well as the European Union (EU) and United States (US) using
bilateral trade agreements, are increasing the privatization and commoditization of public resources,
intensifying the plunder of natural resources of underdeveloped countries and imposing conditions that
increase their dependence.
Prevailing patterns of thought and alternatives

The development model promoted by these institutions is not only a question of ‘economics’. The
prevailing economic paradigm is strongly related to the system of thought, which is based on an
imagination of the human being as ‘economic man’. This ideology is reinforced by corporate media and
marketing firms which promote egoism, competition, material consumption and boundless accumulation
of private wealth in utter disregard of the social and ecological consequences of such behaviour. This
system of thought is intimately intertwined with patterns of patriarchy and paternalism.
If we really want to address this crisis, we need to recognize that the human species is part of both nature
and society and cannot exist without either. Therefore if humanity is to survive, we need to respect the
integrity of Mother Earth and strive for harmony with nature and for peace within and between cultures.
We are at once citizens of different nations and of one world. Everyone shares responsibility for the
present and future well-being of the human family and the larger living world. The spirit of human
solidarity and kinship with all life is strengthened when we live according to the principle of ‘One among
many’.

1st draft

3. The challenge, as we see it:

The CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is all ready so high, that the climate system is brought out of balance. The global temperatures have increased twice as fast in the last 50 years as over the last century and will rise even faster in the coming decades. This adds to a multitude of other serious ecological imbalances, the impact of which threatens the lives and livelihoods of the people of the world, and most acutely of the impoverished poor.

The imbalance of the climate system leads to greater and more frequent extremes of heat and rainfall patterns, tropical cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons, extreme flooding and droughts, reduced biodiversity, landslides and avalanches, rising sea levels brings shortage of drinking water, shorter growing seasons, lower yields, lost or deteriorated agricultural land, decreased agricultural production, extinction of marine ecosystems, diminished fish stocks, resulting in famine, illness, death, disruption of communities and extinction of indigenous forms of life.

A good case in point is the recent situation in East Africa. Beginning around the turn of the century the region has witnessed a serious period of drought, lasting for almost 5 years. This led to a massive loss of livestock and created a serious food crisis for more than eight million people. Having only just recovered from this drought, the region is now witnessing an entirely opposite extreme, namely the onset of El Nino Rains, which has triggered widespread flooding that has destroyed homes, harvest, roads etc. Huge numbers of people have been displaced over night and there have been many casualties. Environmentally the Climate Change is as real as daily light to many small-scale farmers. The rainy cycle is delayed, unpredictable and has shortened in time length. The agricultural land is in a state of infertility due to heavy erosion facing a deep degradation; the traditional way of farming has been forgotten by the modern farmers adding more difficulties towards the replenishing of the soil.

Adding to the effects of climate change, intensive and industrial systems of agriculture, expanding at the expense of sustainable small-scale agriculture, create severe erosion, polluted aquifers and seriously diminished biodiversity. This agro-export model turns the green land into absolute deserts. Millions of hectares of monoculture of soybeans and biotech cotton, sugar cane, trees, palm oil and other raw materials are produced to meet global demand for animal feed, fibre, energy, cellulose, wood, and to a lesser extent, food. Overfishing by modern industrial fishing boats threaten the stocks of fish in all oceans, thereby destroying the economic foundation of many local and sustainable fishing communities. Modern industrial forestry diminishes the biodiversity of important ecosystems, destroying the life and livelihoods of many indigenous people. Industrial mining is poisoning the environment, especially in the south. The waste generated by excessive consumption especially in the north is sent back to the south, where it poisons the environment once more.

4. The causes, as we see them:

The immediate and primary cause of man-made climate change is an unprecedented emission of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere originating from ever-mounting burning of fossil fuels for industry, commerce, transport as well as military purposes to mention a few, but prevalent origins. Secondly deforestation, forest degradation, expanding areas of agriculture for cash crops for export, increased meat-production and other types of unsustainable use of natural resources are important drivers of climate change.

Uneven control and ownership over resources

It is however important to recognize that these immediate causes are the results of an unsustainable global economic system built on the unequal access to and control over the planet’s limited resources and the benefits that accrue from their use. This system is premised on the appropriation of local, national and planetary commons by local and global elites. What has been praised as great strides in technology, production and human progress – has in fact to a large extent precipitated global ecological and development disasters. On the one hand a privileged global elite engages in reckless profit-driven production and grossly excessive consumption. On the other hand, a very large proportion of humanity is mired in poverty with merely survival and subsistence consumption, or even less. The world’s largest transnational corporations (TNCs) based mainly in the Northern countries, but with expanding operations in the South, have long been at the forefront of these excesses. Indeed the powerful industrialized nations of today were built on the severe exploitation of the human and natural resources of the global South.

The competition among global corporations and rich nations for resources and greater market shares have in present times led to a neo-colonial subjugation of Southern peoples, denying them rightful ownership and control of their resources. This has transformed the economies away from diversified and self-reliant systems. The race for corporate profits and growth-guided economic decisions has resulted in overproduction and over-consumption for a minority, which has put unprecedented strains on the planet’s resources and absorptive capacity for waste. Alongside the increased burning of fossil fuels and destruction of terrestrial and aquatic resources from mineral extraction, export manufacturing, industrial agriculture, and global transportation, this process is marked by the aggressive privatization and commoditisation of public resources, the dislocation of local communities and livelihoods, unequal trade relations, and the massive appropriation of social and natural wealth by elites in the North as well as parts of the South.

Prevailing economic and political paradigm and norms

At the core of this present development model is the pursuit of growth and profit promoting exploitation, structural poverty, environmental degradation and global warming. This development model is however not only a question of ‘economics’ – in the narrow sense of this term. The prevailing economic paradigm is strongly related to the prevailing political paradigm, which again is founded on prevailing cultural norms and values with deep roots in the history of especially the West. Intertwined with patterns of patriarchy and paternalism this model has been exported to the rest of the world.

What is at stake is a system of thought, which is based on an image of the human being as ‘economic man’. He is a subject without ties, a rational, utilitarian individualist, oriented towards maximising his own interests and increasing his own wealth. He is a subject immersed in an environment, which is seen as a world of mere ‘objects’, from which he is thoroughly detached and alienated. This rational ‘economic man’ is the master of nature, yet, he has no feeling for and therefore do not know, what nature is really about.

It is this very mentality, so deeply rooted especially in western thought, which has provided us with many of the great technological revolutions, on which much of our present wealth is grounded. However, it is this very same pattern of thought, which has also led us into the present unprecedented ecological crisis. If we really want to address this crisis, we need to find a way out of this intrinsic conflict between the technological mastering of nature and the respect for the integrity of mother Earth. This requires a thorough rethinking of the whole paradigm of development, which is so dominant today.

In this endeavour we may find much inspiration from indigenous peoples, who have a far more holistic vision of mans relation to nature, involving, amongst other things, a cyclical understanding of time and space. A good case in point is the cultural heritage of the Mesoamerican region. Here the ancestral legacy made of Maya, Pipil, Lenca and other indigenous peoples has provided the new generation of environmentalist with a new world view, which has been an important source of inspiration.

Current political negotiations are not intended to change anything in respect to the actual standard of living of the western societies and the economic system. The climate problems are getting worse day by day and if there is not going to be a radical and urgent change in our behaviour, it will not be possible to mitigate its effects of climate change.

The declaration, final version

4. A just and sustainable transition

It is clear that solving the climate crisis requires far-reaching transformations, which are currently
excluded from the agenda of policy-makers in governments and multilateral institutions. People are
calling for system change, not “business-as-usual” and the uncritical use of technology- and marketfixes
along which powerful interests have set and confined the climate agenda.

People’s movements are not lacking alternative visions for society and concrete steps that must be
taken in order to move towards a sustainable future while addressing the climate, water, food and
economic crises at the same time. Such a sustainable transition will begin by many different
initiatives. Some of these steps towards sustainable transition are:

Food sovereignty and ecological agriculture: Uphold the rights of people,
communities, and countries to determine their own systems of production including
farming, fishing, food, forestry and land policies, which are ecologically, socially,
economically and culturally appropriate to the circumstances. People’s, especially women´s
access to and control over productive resources such as land, seeds and water must be
respected and guaranteed. Agricultural production must rely principally on local
knowledge, appropriate technology and ecologically sustainable techniques that bind CO2
in the diverse and native plant systems, bind water and return more nutrients to the soil,
than was taken out. Food and agricultural production must be primarily geared towards
meeting local needs, encourage self-sufficiency, promote local employment, and minimize
resource use, waste and GHG emissions in the process.
Democratic ownership and control of economy: The reorganization of society’s
productive units around more democratic forms of ownership and management, in order
to meet people’s basic needs such as employment-creation, access to water, housing, land,
health care and education, food sovereignty, and ecological sustainability. Public policy
must make sure that the financial system serves public interests and channel resources for
the sustainable transformation of industry, agriculture and services.
Energy sovereignty: A dramatic reduction of energy consumption especially in the
unjustly enriched countries combined with a blend of renewable and public energy sources
such as solar, wind, geothermal, mini-hydro, wave and the development of off-the-grid
electricity distribution to secure energy supplies to communities, and public ownership for
the grid.
Ecological planning of urban and rural zones: The aim is a radical reduction in the
inputs of energy and resources and the outputs of waste and pollution while encouraging
locally based supply of basic needs of the citizens. An urban and rural planning built on
social justice and equal service to all reducing the need for transport. Promoting public
transport systems such as light and high-speed rail-systems and bicycles reducing the need
for private motor vehicles thus decongesting the roads, improving health and reducing
energy consumption.
Education, science and cultural institutions: Re-orientate public research and
education to meet the needs of people and the environment, rather than the present bias for developing commercially profitable and proprietary technologies. Research and
development should be primarily an open and collaborative endeavour in the common
interest of humankind, and eliminate patents on ideas and technology. Fair and just
exchange of appropriate technologies, traditional knowledge and indigenous innovative
practices, and ideas between countries should be encouraged.
End to militarism and wars: The present fossil fuel based development model leads to
violence, war and military conflict over control of energy, land, water and other natural
resources. This is demonstrated by the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq and
Afghanistan, militarization in across in the globe in regions rich on fossil fuels and other
natural resources. Peasants and indigenous communities are also being violently displaced
from their lands to make way for agrofuel plantations. Trillions of dollars are spent on the
military-industrial complex, wasting enormous material and human resources, which
should instead be devoted to implementing a sustainable transition.

By taking steps forward we can learn by doing. These steps will help us to convince the broad
majority of people, that a sustainable transition entails the promise of a more fulfilling and good life.
The social, political, economic and environmental fields are closely interrelated. A coherent strategy
must therefore address them all, which indeed is the central idea behind the concept of sustainable
transition.

One aspect of this concept is the restoration of local communities rather than the global market as a
basic social, political and economic unit. Social cohesion, democratic participation, economic
accountability and ecological responsibility can only be accomplished by restoring decision-making
at the lowest appropriate level. This is a basic lesson we have learned from ethnic cultures and local
communities.

A community-based approach does not however contradict the need for extensive international
cooperation. On the contrary, it will need stronger alliances within and across all borders between
direct producers in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and industry. Alliances also built on the strength of
gender equality and on recognizing and overcoming unjust power relations at all levels. It also
includes the need for stronger regional and international cooperative arrangements to manage
common and shared resources such as cross boarder water resources. Furthermore, international
cooperation will promote the full mutual exchange of ideas, technologies and expertise across all
boundaries as well as engage in an open-minded dialogue between different cultures based on
mutual respect.

1st draft (as paragraph 3 and 4 were merged in the final draft paragraph 5 in the 1st draft becomes paragraph 4 and the final version)

5. A sustainable transition

What is needed is a fundamental change of direction, a true transition towards a sustainable relation between peoples and nature, which is unthinkable without a similar transition of the social relations between people. Not a new ‘green deal’ or a new ‘green growth’ strategy which is to continue on basically the same unsustainable track as before.

A shift of paradigm

We cannot hope for a sustainable transition unless we manage to convince the broad majority of people, that it entails the promise of a more fulfilling and a more secure life- not for the rich, perhaps, but indeed for the many.

There are ample evidences that the present global growth-economy not only destroys our environment and natural resources but also creates extreme poverty especially for people, who are depending on these resources for their communities, homes, jobs and basic needs. At the same time in the poor as well as in the richer part of the world, the prevailing growth paradigm is undermining the fabric of public institutions, the coherence of whole societies and even the democratic participation of people and popular movements.

The present paradigm is not only undermining our communities and social institutions, but is also invalidating more and more people on the personal level. Man is not an individual “ego”, as the prevailing neo-liberal ideology wants us to believe. However the systematic weakening of communities, social institutions and democratic movements has the effect of isolating people from each other, thereby promoting hostility between various segments of society. The promotion of the individual consumer as the main ideal in the present development model is the promotion of a restless and distressed person. Instead we should encourage individuals to become real human beings by adopting the attitude of “One among Many”, and thereby become engaged in their local community and the environment on which it depends.

The concept of sustainable transition

All these social, political, economic and ecological issues are closely interrelated. A coherent strategy must therefore address them all, which indeed is the central idea behind the concept of sustainable transition.

The cornerstone of this concept is the restoration of the local community rather than the global market as the basic social, political and economic unit. Social cohesion, democratic participation, economic accountability and ecological responsibility can only be accomplished by taking power back from the global to the national and local level. This is the basic lesson that we have learnt from decades of market driven globalisation. This is the crucial political premise without which a true sustainable transition is unthinkable. Such a community-based approach will however need a stronger regional, international and global cooperative arrangement to manage common and shared resources and to solve conflicts in their use.

It is within the framework of a local political setting, that it is most likely to engage people in the difficult tasks of restructuring the whole system of production and consumption in a sustainable way. The perspective of this ecological restructuring is to achieve an economy that operates within the conditions and boundaries set by the local environment. The transition to organic farming and renewable energy are important steps in this direction, but a true sustainable transition must involve all the other sectors of the economy as well: Industry, construction, transportation, public infrastructure, consumption etc.

Such a transition of the entire economy implies a dramatic reduction in the use of natural resources, especially non-renewable fossil energy resources. On the other hand such an ecological economy will need many more skilled workers and crafted hands, than the energy- and resource intensive economy of today. An economy based on primarily local resources, must use these resources in an intelligent and efficient way, implying among other things high quality and long lives of durable goods and a high focus on repair and reuse. All this will require many more caring hands, than is the case today.

A summary of our concrete visions:

• Sustainable farming, forestry and fishery: diversified and ecologically sound agricultural food production that relies principally on local knowledge, appropriate technology and ecologically sustainable techniques that bind CO2, gather water and return more energy to the soil, than was taken out. Immediate global ban on deforestation and the parallel initiation of an ambitious global tree-planting program based on native and diverse species in partnership with indigenous peoples and forest dependent communities. Similarly a ban on industrialized fishing and an immediate return to local and sustainable fishing practices. Sustainable and local peasant production is, in fact, cooling the earth. Peasant agriculture allows carbon sequestration in soil and requires less fossil fuel-driven machinery and chemical inputs.
• Self-sufficiency: prioritization of self-sufficiency by diversifying industrial production, creating rural employment and meeting the demands of domestic industries and households and local consumption over international trade and export markets and thus increasing public welfare and sustaining livelihoods while minimizing energy, resource use and waste in the process
• Renewable energy and energy savings: increase in energy saving and reliance on a blend of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, mini-hydro, wave and the development of off-the-grid electricity distribution to secure energy supply to communities
• Public transportation systems such as light and high-speed rail-systems and bicycles away from resource-inefficient private motor vehicles thus decongesting the roads, improving health and reducing waste and carbon emission in the process.
• Reduction of physical inputs to the production, by progressively minimizing inputs of energy and raw materials, and at the same time expanding repair, reuse and recycling of waste products back into production cycle. While reducing physical inputs this transformation of production will at the same time involve many more skilled hands.
• Collective control and broader social objectives: egalitarian and cooperative land tenure and land use systems, that ensure the collective control and ecologically sound use of land, water, forest and marine resources by farmers, fishing and local communities. The reorganization of society’s productive units around more public, cooperative and community-based forms of ownership and management, in order to meet social needs and achieving other broader social objectives such as employment, health, education, food security, and ecological sustainability.
• Planning and management of enterprises and production sectors, that are based locally and act in the service of the community and the environment, thereby ensuring that production responds to social needs rather than create new, artificial and unsustainable wants; ensure that production proceeds within ecologically sustainable limits and other social standards.
• Public control of finance: All this requires an end to financial speculation and the neo-liberal doctrine of “free” markets. We need instead a politically controlled direction of financial resources into investments in renewable energy, energy-efficient public transport, insulation of houses and an ecological transformation of agriculture, forestry, fishery and industry.
• Public education and cultural institutions that reclaim people’s aspirations lost to consumerism, and instil ideals that value community, solidarity, individual and cultural diversity and respect for nature. This implies also a reorientation of public research and development to meet the needs of people and the environment, rather than the present focus on commercially profitable and proprietary technologies. All research and development should be an open and collaborative endeavour in the common interest of mankind, and patents on new ideas should be prohibited.
• Greater balance and equity in economic and political relations between nations through the equitable reallocation of global resources, the compensation of past economic disparities between nations and the reversal of all northward flows of Southern wealth through unfair trade, debt and investment transactions.
• Popular movement alliances for a constructive program to achieve sustainable transition of industry, land and water use built upon social changes in the control of the means of production promoting economic democracy.

The declaration, final version

5. Paths to transition

Many people are involved in the practical creation of more sustainable industry, agriculture, forestry,
and fishery as well as in the renewable energy sector. These initiatives within the system have
furthermore created alliances with other sectors of society, trade unions, consumers, city dwellers,
teachers, researchers all of whom are striving towards sustainable ways of life.

United Nations (UN) and Conference of Parties (COP)

We need to address the UN negotiations on Climate Change, and the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15)
on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The lessons from previous rounds of
negotiations are not very promising. Despite the high-profile schemes for concerted action launched first
in the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change of Rio de Janeiro and later in the 1997 Kyotoprotocol,
results are meagre and the problems have not been solved. Indeed, it has worsened as the
principles, targets and the timelines of both the Convention and the Protocol have made little headway.
The same big corporate interests, that are largely responsible for causing the climate crisis, appear to have
immense influence on climate policies at the national and global level. We strongly oppose this
undemocratic influence of corporate lobbyism in the current COP-negotiations. Contrary to this, we call
on states to put in place an appraisal mechanism for all policies and policy instruments under the
UNFCCC, to ensure inclusive and deliberative multi-stakeholder processes that repair existing inequalities
whether based on gender, colour, age, disability or other forms of discrimination in the COP-negotiations.
We demand of COP15 to reach an agreement that will initiate the restoration of the environmental, social
and economic balance of planet Earth by means that are environmentally, socially and economically
sustainable and equitable, and finally come up with a legally binding treaty.

Our demands

We are raising our voices to the leaders in the UNFCCC to put forward the people’s demands and
alternatives.

1. Phasing out fossil fuel: We call for a clear strategy for dismantling the fossil fuel era within
the next 30 years, which must include specific milestones for every 5-year period. We
demand an immediate cut in GHG emissions of industrialized countries of at least 40%
compared 1990 levels by 2020.

2. Reparations and compensation for Climate Debt and crimes: We demand full
reparations for southern countries and those impoverished by northern states, TNCs, and
tax-haven institutions. By this, we partly address historical injustices associated to
inequitable industrialization and climate change, originating in the genocide of indigenous
nations, transatlantic slave trade, colonial era and invasions. This must be accompanied by
an equally clear strategy for compensating impoverished people for the climate and broader
ecological debt owed by the enriched. A global and democratic fund should be established
to give direct support to the victims of climate change. Developed countries must provide
new, mandatory, adequate, and reliable financing and patent-free technologies to better
adapt to adverse climate impacts and undertake emission reductions. This would allow
developing countries to play their part in curbing climate change, while still meeting the
needs and aspirations of their people. International Financial Institutions, donor agencies
and trade mechanisms should have no part in reparations.

3. An immediate global ban on deforestation of primary forests and the parallel initiation
of an ambitious global tree-planting program based on native and diverse species in
partnership with indigenous peoples and forest dependent communities. Similarly a ban on
large-scale industrialized fishing methods and a return to primarily local and sustainable
fishing practices. Finally, a ban on land grabbing by foreign interests and the full acceptance
of people’s sovereignty over natural resources.

4. We express strong opposition to purely market-oriented and technology-centred false
and dangerous solutions put forward by many corporations, governments, and international
financial institutions. These include nuclear energy, agro-fuels, carbon capture and storage,
Clean Development Mechanisms, biochar, genetically “climate-readied” crops, geoengineering
and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation as it is the
UNFCCC definition (REDD), which only produce new environmental threats, without
really solving the climate crisis. Carbon trading and offsetting are also false and unjust
instruments because they treat a common planetary resource – the atmosphere – as a
commodity that can be owned and traded. So far the system has not proven its merits, and
by allowing rich countries to offset their reduction obligations, it has maintained this unjust
and unsustainable system.

5. Equitable tax on carbon emissions: Instead of the regime of tradable emission quotas we
demand an equitable tax on carbon emissions. Revenues from this carbon tax should be
returned equitably to people, and a portion should be used to compensate and contribute to
finance adaptation and mitigation. This is, however, not a substitute for repayment of
already accumulated climate debt. This compensation and funding should be unconditional
and free of market mechanisms and financial institutions. Reduction of emissions must be
strongly encouraged by a briskly-increasing, transparent carbon tax, in addition to direct
regulations to drive the phase-out of fossil fuels, while enabling safe, clean and renewable
energy.

6. Multilateral institutions and TNCs: Unjust, unsustainable and unaccountable global
economic and financial institutions like the WTO, the World Bank, the International
Monetary Fund (IMF), regional development banks, donor institutions and trade
agreements should be replaced by democratic and equitable institutions functioning in
accordance with the United Nations Charter, that respect people’s sovereignty over
resources, and promote solidarity between people and nations. A mechanism for strict
surveillance and control of the operations of TNCs should be created as well.

Finally, we commit ourselves to a full and active involvement in carrying our sustainable transitions
of our societies along the lines put forward in this Declaration.

1st draft

6. Roads to transition

Present power holders will not promote the type of sustainable transition outlined above. The drivers of such a transition will have to be social and environmental movements, who work at the local, national and transnational levels in an alliance with like minded political, economical and cultural organizations.

Despite the fact that the present power structures strongly favours unsustainable patterns of production and consumption it nevertheless is possible to embark on the road of sustainable transition even within the existing political and economical setting, while at the same time pressing for urgent reforms of the present system. And in fact, this is what many people are already doing all around the world. People are not only protesting against the present regime but are also on many levels actively engaged in trying to realize more sustainable ways of organising their lives and communities.

Many people are involved in the practical creation of more sustainable industry, agriculture, forestry, fishery as well as renewable energy sector. These initiatives within the production system have furthermore created alliances with other sectors of society, trade unions, retail shops, consumers, city dwellers, teachers, researchers etc., all of whom are striving towards a greener way of life.

In the further process forward we must build on these existing initiatives, embracing them all in forging a strong alliance towards a sustainable transition on the global scale. In doing this, we however also need to address the existing political and economical institutions of power. Incessantly we must push for fundamental reforms of the system – reforms that not only address the climate and broader environmental issue as separate issues, but on the contrary integrates environmental considerations in all political areas, such as agriculture, transport, industry, trade etc.

In this context we of course also need to address the specific UN negotiations on Climate Change, which is culminating in these days in Copenhagen. The lessons from previous rounds of negotiations are not very promising. Despite the high-profiled schemes for concerted action launched first in the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change of Rio de Janeiro and later in the 1998 Kyoto-protocol, results are meagre, to say the least. The problem has not fundamentally been solved, indeed it has worsened as the principles, targets and the timelines of both the Convention and the Protocol have made no headway. The reason for this rests on the fact, that the COP-process has not yet acknowledged the real roots of climate change: Globalisation and a profit-driven economy devoted to never ending growth at the expense of genuine development. This fact also holds for the negotiations at the present Climate Summit in Copenhagen, why the probable outcome seems very inadequate.

Nevertheless we must make our voices heard and put forward our demands also in this context. These can be stated clearly and plainly:

1. We demand a clear strategy for dismantling the fossil fuel era within the next 30 years.

2. We demand this strategy to be accompanied by an equally clear strategy for compensating the poor – especially in the south – for the climate and broader environmental debt created by the rich – especially in the north.

3. We express strong opposition against market-oriented and technology-centred false solutions put forward by many corporations, northern governments, and international financial institutions., especially the undue influence of corporate interests in the crafting domestic regulations related to energy. So-called technological ‘fixes’ such as nuclear energy, biofuels, carboncapture and storage, biochar, genetically “climate-readied” crops, geo-engineering, etc. only produce new types of environmental threats, without really solving the climate problem. The premise of emission trading is the granting of tradable property rights over the atmosphere, which is a common planetary resource essential for the survival of all beings. So far the system has not proven its merits, and by allowing rich countries to offset their reduction obligations, it has maintained the unjust and unsustainable system of the past.

4. We propose instead a political commitment to reintegrate our economies into the realm of our natural ecosystems, which are always local by nature. It is only within such a framework that it is possible to re-power our local communities, re-vitalize democratic participation and re-install a truly sustainable relation between man and nature.

5. Any solution, seeking to restore the balance between human society and nature as well as just relations among people, requires a profound reorganization of our societies towards meeting basic social goals with an awareness of planetary limits.

6. For this reason unjust, unsustainable and unaccountable global economic and financial institutions like the WTO, the World Bank, transnational corporations etc. should be disempowered in favour of local and national sovereignty over resources and productive assets.

7. We finally offer our full and active support and involvement in promoting a sustainable transition of our societies a long the lines put forward in this Declaration.

The declaration, final version

6. A global movement for sustainable transition

Irrespective of the outcome of the Copenhagen Summit on Climate Change there is an urgent need
to build a global movement of movements dedicated to the long term task of promoting a
sustainable transition of our societies. Contrary to the prevailing power structures, this movement
must grow from the bottom and up. What is needed is a broad alliance of environmental
movements, social movements, trade unions, farmers, and other aligned parties that can work
together in everyday political struggle on the local as well as national and international level. Such an
alliance entails at the same time the creation of a new mindset and new types of social activisms, and
must be capable not only of reacting to unsustainable practices, but also showing by example how a
new sustainable economy can indeed function.We, participating peoples, communities and social organizations at Klimaforum09 are all committed
to build on the results achieved at this event in the further development of a global movement of
movements.

This Declaration aims to inspire the further development of such a movement by pointing to the
general direction in which we choose to move. Together, we can make global transitions to
sustainable future. Join us.

1st draft

7. A global movement for sustainable transition

Irrespective of the outcome of the Copenhagen Summit on Climate Change there is a strong need to build a global movement of movements dedicated to the long term task of promoting a sustainable transition of our societies. Contrary to the prevailing power structures this movement must grow from the bottom and up – which means that it must be founded locally and be of importance to the daily life of people. Such a movement entails at the same time the creation of a new mindset and of a new type of social activism. This movement must be capable not only of reacting to unsustainable practices, but also by example show how a new locally based and sustainable economy can indeed function.

A movement of this sort cannot be based on environmental NGO’s of the classical type. What is needed is instead a broad alliance of environmental movements, social movements, trade unions, farmers, teachers etc. that can work together in the everyday political struggle on the local as well as the national and international level.

At Klimaforum09 many contacts of this kind have already been formed and we are all committed to build on the results achieved at this event in the further development of a global movement of movements that includes all spheres of society on all levels. It is our hope that this Declaration will inspire the further development of such a movement by spelling out the direction in which to move.

Finally at midnight your observer Tord Björk was allowed to touch the holy declaration tablet drafting a piece on urban planning

Oh good, drafting is not an easy task. Especially when trying to include what a french climate justice activist thinks about urban planning in 200 words into a short sentence. To not talk about including something on the spirit of being a human with fundamentalist secularists from France around.

 

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