Sunday, December 8, 2019

Huge climate march in Madrid calls for action from COP25 as world faces climate emergency

Madrid turned out on mass to send a message to the delegates in the UN Climate Change Conference COP25 at Feria de Madrid on Friday night. Organisers estimated 500,000 people. whether this number is accurate is irrelevant, the crowds were huge, families, activists, yoiung and old were present demanding climate justice and action in this time of climate emergency.

There mood was determined, but there was passion and dancing and chanting and singing as people walked the 5 kilometre route from Atochia to Neuvos Ministerios.

Greta Thunberg attended the march in it's early stages, but was then transported by electic car to the stage at Neuvo Ministerios on the security advice of police. Greta received a standing ovation for her short speech on stage.

The demonstration finished with a concert and with various people of differents constituencies reading the common manifesto in Spanish and english (English version below):

The World Woke Up Facing A Climate Emergency

Last September, millions of people took to the streets to fight for their right to a prosperous present and future, leaving no one behind. Young people demonstrated in thousands of countries, demanding appropriate measures to stop the unacceptable social and environmental degradation, thus confronting our climate emergency.

After Brazil refused to host the COP25 (as its anticlimactic policies have led to the biggest deforestation of the Amazon in recent decades), the government led by Sebastián Piñera decided to cancel the celebration of the climate summit in Chile. Thus, they ignored the Chilean and Latin American social movements and their work in the preceding months. Now, Spain’s Pedro Sánchez’s caretaker government is finally hosting the COP25 in Madrid. An opportunity to stand for the people who are already suffering from the climate crisis and those who will soon join them have a chance to make their voices heard.

We unreservedly condemn the violation of human rights in Chile and demand its immediate end. The government’s repression of the Chilean people is an attack on democracy and on the struggle for environmental and social justice. We extend this condemnation to all corners of the world where these or similar processes are taking place.

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The last report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was published last August, points out that the reduction of greenhouse gases in all sectors is the only way to keep global warming below 1.5°C. The scientific community warns us about the degradation of a great number of ecosystems, both on the land and in the sea. It also warns us about passing the point of no return. Recent reports on the state of biodiversity from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) says that roughly 1,000,000 animal and plant species are on the verge of extinction as a consequence of human activities. Moreover, a failure to answer quickly and forcefully to the climatic, environmental and social emergency will entail the growth of extreme poverty for millions of people, not to mention the extinction of many species, even whole ecosystems.

The reality is that emissions keep increasing globally while the states’ lack of ambition sentences our planet to a warming well beyond 1.5°C.

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Next year, the Paris Agreement will come into effect. However, many key questions are still unresolved. In addition to setting the norms on accountability and enforcement of commitments (known as the rulebook), COP25 must decisively push for the provision of enough funds and for major improvements to institutions like the Green Fund for the Climate and the Warsaw Mechanism. These would ameliorate the present and future consequences that stem from the burning of fossil fuels.

It is unacceptable that so many governments, political parties and public institutions represent the interests of major companies, banks, and financial markets. Instead, they should defend the greater good, for the people and the planet that sustains us. Confronting the climate emergency is incompatible with fossil fuels receiving hundreds of billions on public subsidies each year. We demand that governments participating in COP25 recognise the current climate inaction and state that the insufficient ambition of their agreements will lead the planet to a disastrous global warming scenario, surpassing the 3.5°C mark.

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It is irresponsible that, one year before the beginning of the Paris Agreement application, we still have no mechanism capable of regulating measures for the national commitments to adopt an emissions reduction plan that is compatible with scientific estimates. COP25 must enshrine the will of all countries to elevate the ambition of their agreements ahead of the COP26 in 2020. The European Union and the G-20 must lead this commitment to a greater ambition, especially since the former is now hosting the celebration of the present summit inside its borders.

Hence the European Commission must put forward a new ambitious 2030 target latest in March 2020, anything less will be unacceptable.

The governments must unequivocally align itself with this calling for greater ambition. This must reflect more demanding measures than the current ones in economic, political, energy, transportation, agricultural, farming, conservation, and international cooperation areas.

Similarly, the ecological transition requires the participation of all citizens in the decision-making process. Real, effective mechanisms for climate policies must include the full participation of the people.

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A capitalist development model based on endless economic growth is incompatible with our planet’s limits. A transition towards more sustainable eco-social models is required: one that would make a key issue of reduced consumption of materials and energy in agreement with the biophysical limitations of our planet. Our new energy model must discard false solutions such as nuclear energy, geoengineering, or biofuels like palm oil.

This year's COP is yet again helping the biggest polluters greenwash their activities through corporate sponsorship. Rather than giving them a platform, the Spanish government should be keeping big polluters as far away from COP25 as possible. But the problem isn't limited to the UN talks, it is also a reality in our national capitals, where the fossil fuel industry and its friends shape climate policy.

Aware of the ecological emergency in which we live, and of the fearful inaction of our governments, we, the many platforms, social movements, trade unions, and environmentalist groups in the Spanish state, are joining forces with the call made by the international community (and especially the youth mobilised in the Fridays for Future movement). We return to the streets next Friday, December the 6th, demanding real, ambitious measures from the politicians from all around the globe meeting for the COP25.

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We will demonstrate against the social and environmental degradation that neoliberal policies have brought to the planet in solidarity with the peoples’ suffering. Chile offers a clear example of how human and environmental rights are systematically violated. The extractivist policy, the sacrifice zones and hydraulic policies in Chile have devastated whole regions and are therefore unacceptable. Denouncing these atrocities and demonstrating how to move away from that situation in a fair, equitable transition should be the two key points in the COP25.

There is little time to stop this climate emergency and we need everyone in Santiago, Madrid and beyond to hear our voices. We need the people to hear the voices of the climate youth, of indigenous people suffering the causes and consequences of climate change. We need the people to hear the voices of women carrying out an essential role in the climate struggle and the voice of all life on earth.

COP25 Marcha por el Clima Madrid

Civil society issues Call to participate in the Social Summit for Climate in Madrid

Beyond COP25: People for Climate

The unilateral decisions of, on one hand, Sebastián Piñera’s Chilean government to cancel the hosting of COP 25 in Chile, ignoring the months-long work already done by Chilean and Latin American social movements, and, on the other hand, Pedro Sánchez’s government to host the event, force Spanish social movements to take over a task they have not been consulted about, in an almost unfeasible time frame to guarantee adequate participation and social response.

Aware of the clear Eurocentrism that holding a COP in a European country for the third consecutive year implies, we accept the challenge of articulating protests and criticisms against these policies as a huge responsibility. We do so in anger and powerlessness in the face of the injustices and atrocities being committed against the Chilean people, out of solidarity and support for the decision to continue holding the Peoples’ Summit and the Social Summit for Climate Action in Chile, and in the determination to try to create a space where their voices can also be heard.

We strongly condemn the human rights violations in Chile and demand their immediate stop. The Government’s war declaration against the Chilean people is an attack on democracy and on the struggle for social justice. We demand that those responsible for this repression be punished. We want to put under the spotlight that the social protests in Chile, and elsewhere in the world, are also an expression of the environmental crisis. The paradigm of unlimited economic growth is crashing humanity against planetary limits that the economic system insists on making invisible.

We live in convulsive times of genunine ecological, climate and social emergency. The scientific diagnosis is clear regarding the seriousness and urgency of the moment. Economic growth happens at the expense of the most vulnerable people: racialised people, indigenous people, people living in rural areas, the poor, migrants, LGBTI and queer, the avant-garde communities in resistance… And it also occurs at the expense of our environment, other species and ecosystems. Women, who are part of all these collectives, are affected differently and are victims of the worst consequences of the cisgender patriarchal capitalist model.

As activists based in Spain and the European Union, we want to accept the responsibility of exposing the exploitative role of the rich regions of the world and their key role in the creation of “sacrifice zones” in impoverished countries, through cultural, material and energy extractivism which destroys communities and common goods. We are living in countries that promote the consumption and destruction of humanity and nature, imposing our world models and visions to other parts of the planet.

In these same countries, which own a large military capability (especially nuclear weapons), a new concept of climate securitisation is promoted in order to protect their interests by means of the occupation of important power niches and leaving the control of key technologies for energy transition in the hands of large security companies, while the militarisation of borders increases and land is grabbed in a large scale all over the planet. Climate change will continue to fuel armed conflicts and large-scale wars and violence between communities.

From this privileged position, we pledge to take responsibility for our common past, present and future. We rebel to change this lethal system.

It is necessary to expose the hypocrisy of governments that have failed in climate negotiations for decades, while at the same time shielding trade and investment treaties as tools of capital domination, aimed at perpetuating the imbalance of power that allows the luxury of a few people at the expense of the suffering of the majority, hoarding, privatising and financing ever-greater spheres of life. Those same governments feed the fossil fuels industry with millionaire subsidies and protect and bail out fossil banks that profit from the climate crisis and the environmental and social devastation.

The role of Spanish and European transnational corporations in regions like Latin America has led to a lengthening of the long night of the 500 years of colonialism, deepening the environmental crisis and undermining the possibilities of peoples’ sovereignty. Chile, today, is the expression of the exhaustion of neoliberal and extractivist policies throughout the continent. Latin America is Chile and Chile is Latin America.

We believe in climate justice as the backbone of the social fights of our time: sustainability is impossible without social justice, and justice does not exist without respect for all beings living on the planet. Climate justice is the broadest umbrella that exists to protect all the diversity of struggles for another possible world: environmentalism, climate activism, feminism, LGBTIQ +, trade unionism, anti-racism, anti-fascism, anti-militarism, de-colonial movements, indigenous movements, rural movements… We promote climate justice as a movement of movements in which many diverse worlds can fit.

We pledge to work to give visibility to the demands that guarantee a just transition carried out quickly enough to avoid new catastrophes, such as warming above 1.5°C or the collapse of ecosystems and society. It is necessary to make decisions based on science. The scientific community has already clearly indicated the need to leave most fossil fuels in the ground to achieve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that are in line with the climate challenge.

That is why we rebel against extractivist models connected to fossil fuels production and consumption throughout the world, as well as rejecting with special emphasis the civil and military use of nuclear energy.

We urge for radical change in the mobility model, leading to the reduction of mass transportation of goods and people — responsible of, among other problems, the excessive tourism and gentrification in cities, generating serious social inequalities. The transport model must at the same time mitigate the increasing isolation of rural areas, one of the causes of their increasing depopulation.

We denounce the attempts to promote false solutions such as those based on geo-engineering, which seek to maintain the status quo of the current production system, moving the focus away from true solutions and threatening us with unequal impacts on a planetary scale, that will again sacrifice the more disadvantaged communities first.

We also denounce the imposition of a production and consumption model that does not recognise food as a right and is responsible for the climate and biodiversity crisis that condemns more than 800 million people to starvation. We demand an agro-ecological transition that promotes fair and sustainable systems that respect peoples’ food sovereignty.

Similarly, we denounce the imposition of a production and consumption model based on “use and disposal” that once again affects the the poor people the most. The huge amounts of waste produced by enriched countries are mostly transferred to countries in the South, forcing the most vulnerable communities and groups in these places to live in a spiral of poverty, violence and unhealthy conditions.

On the other hand, the Chilean social explosion and its brutal repression shows that the civilisational crisis we are experiencing is also a democratic crisis. We need to move towards the construction of more democratic models of society that guarantee collective decision making by putting the common good at the centre. In this regard, the decision to move COP25 to Madrid is also a democratic loss, as it jeopardizes the months-long work by numerous networks, groups and organizations around the world that now cannot participate in the way they would have wished to.

We stand in solidarity with those who suffer the most, with workers and communities that are on the front line of resistance in all continents. We also stand in solidarity with those who have participated in fueling the climate crisis the least and those who suffer its impacts the most. We support all people, regardless of their gender, origin, language, race, ethnicity, physical abilities, sexual orientation, experience, age or belief.

We call on people and groups to rebel against an oppressive capitalist system that expels more and more people – many of whom are forced to migrate from their territories – and increasingly depletes the foundations that sustain life. We call on everyone to participate in the social response to COP25 and to network and build communities in the face of this climate crisis, that is just the most visible symptom of a deeply unfair system.

We invite all people and groups who feel compelled by these demands to participate in the construction of the Social Summit for Climate, to rebel, to propose and to build communities. In the face of increasing repression and strategies to divide and demobilise movements, we will show more unity than ever in the common struggle for justice.

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