Thursday, December 8, 2011

Occupy Climate

One of the ruptures bubbling under the surface and threatening to tear negotiations apart every year at the climate talks is the divide between the have's and the have-nots.  In a formal way, this is one of the reasons why the biggest bloc of countries is the G77 and China representing about 130 countries falling into the broader UN category of "developing".  In many ways, this is simply a euphemism for "poor".  While individually the countries that make up the G77 (except perhaps China) have an equal voice in the UN process, they do not have the same sort of economic gravitas of countries like the United States, Germany, Japan, etc.  Speaking as a unified bloc ensures that they have some sort of coherence and influence beyond their GDP's.

In Durban, there have been some interesting challenges to the traditional north-south, rich-poor divide.  The BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India, China) are a bloc of the largest economies of the developing world.  There have been rumblings that the normal unity that these countries share with the G77 is starting to fracture.  Because of their growing economic interests the BASIC countries seem to have a bit of an identity crisis. While they steadfastly hold to the position that the Annex I countries (the developed world) are historically responsible for the accumulation of Greenhouse Gasses in the atmosphere and therefore should be primarily responsible for funding any solution, they are also starting to realize the tangible benefits of becoming leading economic powers in their own right.  We now have rich, poor, and aspirational nations of the BASIC bloc. 

Many of these discussions come down to interpretations of fairness and justice. In many ways these same impulses are behind the Occupy movements that are occurring in various cities worldwide.  So it shouldn't be all that surprising perhaps that the two have been combined in Durban.  OccupyCOP17 has a presence outside the talks and is trying to link the broader Occupy movement more explicitly to the issue of using markets and the commodification of carbon to the processes of mass industrialization which generated this problem in the first place.With slogans like "keep the oil in the soil and the coal in the hole", OccupyCOP17 is another voice trying to maintain pressure on the industrialized countries to play fair. 

Carbon Markets: Trading with our Future from Occupy Cop17 on Vimeo.

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