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#COP15 Climate Treaty set to Fail: Time for Action

Climate Action Now! | 06.11.2009 11:51 | COP15 Climate Summit 2009 | Climate Chaos | World

The grim (but not unexpected) admission that the COP15 UN Climate summit next month will not secure a new treaty on climate change has finally been made (see links below).

Those watching the developments over the last month will not be surprised. Each day seemed to bring another statement pushing the hope of a deal back further and further.

Over the last week at the Barcelona pre-COP15 talks, there have been crisis meetings to discuss fall-back positions. The African bloc walked out with the support of the G77 group of 130 countries, with further support from other countries and NGOs whilst campaigners demonstrated in the streets and blocked entrances (see

Barcelona sessions suspended after African walk out
Barcelona sessions suspended after African walk out

Barcelona demo
Barcelona demo

Barcelona protest 1
Barcelona protest 1

Barcelona protest 2
Barcelona protest 2

Barcelona banner
Barcelona banner

Saleemul Huq from the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) said of the African walk-out: "It's a moral stance, it points out the difference between a good and a bad deal. A good deal is defined by what is good for the planet. Africa will feel the consequences most of a bad deal. If you are an African country you have much more at stake than a rich country. They are rightly confused by the talks and angry."

Kamese Geoffrey of Friends of the Earth Uganda warned: "Rich countries are attempting to dodge their legal and moral responsibilities to reduce emissions. Developing countries and communities have historically had practically no fault in the creation of climate change, yet they will be the first to face the devastating impacts of climate change."

The last three days has seen the reality hit home with announcements that there will be no deal at Copenhagen. Perhaps a legally binding framework some said on Wednesday - today even that looks ambitious.

With around 30 days left before the Summit starts you can expect much talk of Plan B. Perhaps Copenhagen will be the start of a process leading up to a real treaty in Mexico in 2010? Perhaps it will simply be business as usual.

Over the last few years we've seen the likes of Al Gore and Jim Hansen (NASA climate scientist) asking why people are not engaging in more civil disobediance and direct action around climate change.

A few weeks ago we saw over 5000 events taking place in over 180 countries, a truly global outpouring of support for radical reduction of CO2 emmissions via the initiative.

Recently writing about direct action against climate change, Kevin Smith from Carbon Trade Watch said:

"A whole host of inspiring and crucial struggles are taking place in Southern countries that don’t necessarily identify themselves as being about ‘climate direct action’ and don’t enjoy the privilege of as much media coverage. Yet these struggles are also of key importance in the fight for climate justice – such as the indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon fighting to resist the expansion of oil companies, and the organising efforts of peasant communities the world over...

With the Copenhagen summit doomed from the outset from agreeing anything that would begin to meaningfully address the threat of climate change, and with governments the world over failing to stem the tide of new carbon-intensive infrastructure, there is a clear role for mass civil disobedience and targeted direct action."


And so back to Copenhagen. While the world watches thousands of people will come together at the to discuss and plan their own strategies, from increasing lobbying efforts to strengthening global networks of resisitance and comparing adaption strategies. Whilst it's true they represent a tiny minority of the people worldwide engaged in campaigning and solution-based action, it's essential their voices are seen and heard during the summit and not just as a forerunner to the main negotiations.

Similarly thousands will demonstrate on the streets of Copenhagen, mirroring the marches, protests and conflicts around climate change seen across the world.

Saturday 12th December will see a massive march towards the conference centre organised by multiple coalitions of NGOs ( - the event is part of a Global Day of Action; see

Other demonstrations are taking place including an Agriculture Day of Action on 15th December called by ASEED Europe and La Via Campesina (

Perhaps the biggest direct action will be the Reclaim Power! protest on Wednesday 16th December, that intends to push towards the COP15 summit venue and hold a People’s Summit for Climate Justice (see

A spokesperson said: “On the 16th of December, CJA will put climate justice and the voices of marginalized peoples from across the North and the South at the top of the agenda. Led by activists from the Global South we will challenge the corporate and governmental elites at the UN climate talks, overcoming police barriers with civil disobedience to hold a People’s Climate Justice Summit.”

The action is called for by Climate Justice Action, a network of a wide diversity of groups from both the global north, and the global south. Among them are Terra de Direitos (Brazil) and Focus on the Global South, international Climate Camps, Rising Tide and Indian Social Action Forum. Importantly the action is supported by members of the Climate Justice Now coalition which was formed in Bali during the COP13.

The fact that the COP15 summit is taking place hot on the heels of the ten year anniversary of the Seattle WTO protests (November 30th 1999) is not lost on many commentators. The massive protests and direct action that initially shut the summit down were characterised not only by severe police repression, but also by the wide breadth of coalitions who stood together united against exploititive policies which put profit before people and planet, both inside and outside of the talks. The WTO talks collapsed amidst accrimony and tear gas and thus Seattle became a symbolic reference point for an 'anti-globalisation' movement that had already held co-ordinated protests throughout the world earlier that year on June 18th.

The parallels are striking, yet there is a key difference. Seattle and the 'anti-globalisation' movement was also characterised by what was often called a rainbow coalition of campaigns and concerns, who (despite some pretty clear demands) often faced criticism for failing to articulate what it stood for, rather than what it stood against.

The cause uniting people around COP15 is clear, and it's not going to go away.



UN: Climate treaty talks may go on for another year

All hope is lost for Copenhagen climate treaty, British officials say

Britain rules out climate treaty at summit

No global climate change treaty likely for up to a year, negotiators admit

Consensus grows to extend summit treaty timeframe

Climate deal 'unlikely' this year

U.N. climate treaty may need extra year





(+UK London 5th Dec The Wave demonstration

7 - 18 Dec:
* Klimaforum (

11 Dec:
* Our Climate! Not Your Business! (organised direct action to stop Corporations taking part in COP process - Anti-corporate day, Don’t Buy the Lie!

12 Dec:
* March for Climate Justice (including 'System Change, not Climate Change bloc')
* Flood for Climate Justice (demonstration by FoE,
* Global day of Action (

13 Dec:
* Hit the production! (shut down capitalist industrial production: blockade Copenhagen’s harbors:
* Farmer's action (Via Campesina against agro-industry)
* Ecumenical service in Copenhagen (

14 Dec:
* No Borders, No Climate Refugees! (Day of action in Copenhagen. Call to action to international no borders groups during the COP 15 in Copenhagen:
* Reparations for Climate Debt

15 Dec:
* Resistance is Ripe! Agriculture Action Day (Change the food system not the climate:

16 Dec:
* RECLAIM POWER! - Pushing for Climate Justice! (Mass action to enter the COP15 conference area to hold a People's Summit for Climate Justice. Confrontational non-violent civil-disobedience

18 Dec:
* (last official day of the summit) – NTAC actions throughout the city (

See listings at:

Climate Action Now!


Display the following 3 comments

  1. Another action in Barcelona in the last day of the Summit — maqui (translated repost)
  2. Feature on IMC-Climate — maqui (more reposting)
  3. Activists evicted from closing plenary of Barcelona climate talks. — maqui (even more reposts)