Naomi Klein on Climate Justice in Copenhagen

In the light of the current economic crisis, many developed countries are trying to get out of their prior, binding deals to reach upcoming emissions targets. Or, as Naomi Klein put it, “They want to start from zero.” Much to their dismay, Klein says, “The world does not have a restart button.” (I will have a short video from the event on here later)

Naomi Klein, author of No Logo and The Shock Doctrine  spoke at the Climate Justice themed side event I attended this morning, along with environmental lawyer and Eco Equity Director Tom Athanasiou, and three other leaders of regional environmental rights organizations from India, the Phillipines, and Ethiopia. The  “polluter pays principal” is something Klein believes poorer nations should use, and have used, to collect damages from the richer countries whose emissions are many times higher than those of the lesser developed countries.

Climate change is a type of class warfare, according to Klein, because the “actions of the wealthy disporoportionately affect the poor.”

“20 percent of people live in rich countries and produce 75 percent of greenhouse gas emissions,” said Klein,. “While 75 percent of the effects of climate change affect (everyone else on Earth living in) poor countries.”

“Hurrican Katrina,” Klein says,”was a snapshot of climate aparteid.”

Klein, a Canadian, strongly criticised the Canadian government’s efforts to block a stronger Copenhagen resolution. Due to its exploitation of tar sands in Alberta, Canada’s CO2 emissions have risen 25.3 percent since 1990. 1990 is the benchline year set by the Kyoto Protocol that countries are supposed to strive to have their emissions below 1990 levels. She believes Canada’s actions are a far bigger environmental crime than the rising emissions of the United States because, unlike Canada, “the US at least didn’t sign it.”

Klein also believes in the light of climate change, all of the once fractured “soft” rights movements of water, food, and environmentalism are now merging to form a much “harder” organization because climate change is the factor underpining everything.


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