Climate Debt

The climate emergency is already impacting all our lives. As it gets worse, we will be affected by more catastrophic floods and storms, bushfires and droughts. Globally there will be less clean water and farmland available. It is a result of an economic system — capitalism — in which private companies’ profit-making is privileged over the real needs of communities and their environments.

The Bolivian government's national contribution to the COP 21 climate talks scheduled to start in Paris on November 30 contains a series of radical proposals for safeguarding the future health of the planet, Euractiv.com said on October 14.

Bolivia's contribution insists that capitalism is responsible for “consumerism, warmongering and [...] the destruction of Mother Earth”.

Another round of United Nations climate talks were being negotiated in Warsaw, Poland, this week when the strongest typhoon recorded to hit land swept across the Philippines before moving on to Vietnam.

Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda, has killed an estimated 10,000 people in the area of Tacloban, mostly from the strong tsunami-like storm surges that accompanied the typhoon. Entire villages were flattened and a large rescue effort is underway to evacuate survivors.

If at first you don’t succeed, redefine success. This phrase has become the unofficial motto of this year’s United Nations climate conference in Cancun, Mexico.

A week out from Cancun, which runs over November 29 to December 10, there is little hope of meaningful progress. Yet key players have sought to throw a shroud of official optimism over the looming failure.

Few Western politicians want a repeat of last year’s Copenhagen climate conference. They consider it a public relations disaster.

A key demand adopted by the World People’s Summit on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth was for the industrialised First World nations to pay their “climate debt” to the underdeveloped nations. The summit was held in Cochabamba, Bolivia, over April 19-22 and attended by 35,000 people from around the world.

A key concept promoted at the summit was that of vivir bien — living well. This is similar to the common idea expressed in the West, “live simply so that others may simply live”.

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