Focus on Trade special issue on Bali Climate Change Conference

Focus on Trade (# 135, December 2007) has published a special issue on the Bali Climate Conference. Some of the contributions presented here had already been posted on ESSF website, the others are now online too.

Plese find below the introduction from Focus of this issue, its content and the links with the articles.

Focus on Trade introduction

IN THIS ISSUE: DURING the recent United Nations Conference on Climate Change, it became clear that the core issue of “justice” - who bears the historical responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions and who pays the price — and the essential question of how to improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people in the Global South in an ever shrinking ecological space, must be at the heart any viable future climate regime. Anything less is simply not acceptable. However, few are ready to acknowledge this because, in contrast to the techno-fixes and market mechanisms being promoted as “win, win, win” solutions, a new climate regime that reduces greenhouse gas emissions in a fair way will require rich countries to make very deep cuts in their emissions, and very soon. They will also have to make major financial and technical contributions to compensate and support transitions in the South and assist those already dislocated by climate events.

The reluctance of the rich countries - especially the US - to make these commitments is shameful. Most analysts agree that the US is unlikely to shift its position before the 2008 presidential election, but they all assume that the US will be more reasonable in the post-Bush era. But if 2004 presidential candidate John Kerry’s Bali press conference is any indication of how the Democrats are thinking, there is little cause for optimism. In a 30-minute speech aimed exclusively at the US media, Kerry spoke of the necessity for “global solutions”. This is precisely the same language used by the Bush negotiating team throughout the Bali conference, and is code for “we won’t move until China does.” Kerry also rejected totally per capita targets, championing instead a cap and trade system, which, he said, would give “certainty to the market”.

Corporations are central to Kerry’s vision of the future and he spoke enthusiastically of the 27 Fortune 500 companies - including Dupont, Dow and BP — who are positioning themselves to “take on the climate challenge” (that is “profiting from the climate challenge”). He also mentioned a recent meeting at Clarence House (that’s where Prince Charles lives) of 150 companies where they all happily agreed that there is money to be made in a “green economy.” In fact Kerry was so gung-ho about the central role of corporations in solving the problem that I had the unworthy thought that the US is dragging out the negotiations simply to give American corporations time to position themselves to reap the climate change windfall. (In the meantime, big coal and big oil will continue to make a lot of money blowing the tops off mountains and digging up the boreal forests.)

In the Kerry vision of the future, some corporations will win and others will loose, but capitalism itself will survive. For some, capitalism is the problem, for some it is the solution. Others argue that the climate crisis is too urgent to even ask this question: we simply have to do what needs to be done to reduce emissions. However, we are inevitably entering a new energy paradigm that will necessitate new patterns of production and consumption and possibly new forms of ownership and control. The opportunity for transforming our societies is real, not theoretical, because things will (indeed must) change. It’s not too late to put justice at the centre of that future, rather than leaving it to the corporations.

In this “Bali special” issue of Focus on Trade, six people who were at the climate change conference give their take on what happened, and what didn’t, and what we need to do next. We have also included the press statement from the newly formed “Climate Justice” coalition which is starting to bring together the environmental and global justice movements: this is definitely the most positive outcome of the Bali conference. And just to remind us that some things never change, we finish with an article by Aileen Kwa about the EU’s dirty tactics in the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations.

Enjoy the articles and best wishes for the New Year.


IN THIS ISSUE

ENVIRONEMENT-BALI
THE DAY AFTER...

Walden Bello

See on ESSF: Bali: The Day After

NGOS REGROUP AROUND CLIMATE CHANGE AFTER BALI

Marwaan Macan-Markar

See on ESSF: NGOs regroup around climate change after Bali

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? BALI, AND THE LESSONS LEARNED

Tom Athanasiou

See on ESSF: Where do we go from here? The Bali meeting, and the lessons learnt

WHAT WAS GAINED IN BALI? NOT MUCH...

Janet Redman

See on ESSF: What was gained in Bali? Not much...

REDD: FUNDING FORESTS, PLANTATIONS OR FORESTERS?

Simone Lovera

See on ESSF: Reducing deforestation under the Climate Convention: funding forests, plantations or foresters?

TRADE, CLIMATE, AND BALI

Victor Menotti

See on ESSF: Trade, Climate and Bali

PLAYERS AND PLAYS IN THE BALI CLIMATE DRAMA

Walden Bello

See on ESSF: Players and Plays in the Bali Climate Drama

PRESS RELEASE: WHAT’S MISSING FROM THE CLIMATE TALKS? JUSTICE!

See on ESSF: What’s missing from the climate talks? Justice!

*****

TRADE-AFRICA: EU is Using ’’Bully

Aileen Kwa

See on ESSF: EU is using “bully tactics” to push through EPAs


Focus on Trade is a regular electronic bulletin providing updates and analysis of trends in regional and world trade and finance, the political economy of globalisation and peoples resistance, and alternatives to global capitalism. Nicola Bullard edits Focus on Trade. Your contributions and comments are welcome. Write to n.bullard focusweb.org

Focus on Trade is translated into Spanish and Bahasa Indonesian.
Some articles are translated into French. The links for these pages are:
Spanish:http://www.focusweb.org/main/html/index.php?module=PostWrap&page=spanish&height=500&width=800
Bahasa:http://www.focusweb.org/main/html/index.php?module=PostWrap&page=bahasa&height=500&width=800

French: http://www.focusweb.org/main/html/Search-topics-15.html

If you would like to receive these editions, contact n.bullard focusweb.org.

Nicola Bullard

Focus on the Global South

CUSRI, Chulalongkorn University
Bangkok, Thailand, 10330

n.bullard focusweb.org

www.focusweb.org

+662 2187363 (Thailand)

+336 70454404 (France)

P.S.

* FOCUS ON TRADE, NUMBER 135 DECEMBER 2007.