Barcelona Pre COP15 Climate Change Talks – Main entrance shut down by activists while Africa boyotts talks
Ecological crisis – Can we really rely on them to solve the worlds problems?
This week (monday 2 – friday 6) the Barcelona International Climate Change Talks are happening, five days of formal negotiations, in the lead up to COP 15. Since Saturday there have been a series of actions in the cities streets as well as at the conference centre to raise awereness, to unite eco movements and to try to force change during this window of opportunity in the conference centre at the far side of Montjuic. But will it be enough to get us out of our AGE OF STUPID? Perhaps not, news has just come through today that African countries have abandoned the talks.
Saturday – Manifestation in Barcelona streets; “The climate is not for sale” (vid | report)
Sunday – Outdoor film screening in city streets – 11th hour – Age of Stupid – Eco hopes (poster)
Monday – TckTckTck wake up call for climate talks – Greenpeace banner drop – Anarchist night greeting
Tuesday – Africa boycott U.N. climate talks – Evening Water Lobby group targeted
Wednesday – Main entrance shut down by activists
Eh sorry there, COP 15?
In mid december COP 15 (15th UN Conference Of Parties) happens in Copenhagen, Denmark. It has been labelled the “only venhicle for an international agreement which can tackle climate change”. Many people from all over the world are learning the sciencea about 350, changing their normal ways, raising their voices and taking action to help bring about change. Basically, it will probably be the most important period in world history, as the outcome of these days dictates what type of world we are aiming to create. If we get it wrong we will no doubt spiral further and much deeper into Climate Chaos, the beginnings of which we are only starting to see as Irish summers are nothing but rain while many areas around the Mediterrainian are in drought, overheated and on fire.
Theres something strange going on in the streets of Barcelona
Many people walking in the busy tourist shopping street leading from Place Catalunya to Placa Universitat late on Sunday night might well have been wondering what was going on. Sitting on the street, with their backs against the wall and looking up to the outside wall of the FNAC building on the other side of the street were about 50 people, many of them were clearly moved by that which they were witnessing. A 3 way multi bill outdoor film screening had been organised, the main feature being THE AGE OF STUPID film, and while many passers by didn’t get eactly what was going on, some stopped to watch and soon saw much critical views of the way in which we humans, especially those of us in the “developed world” live, how fat we are getting, how unfair our present system is, why capitalism is not sustainable and why the US entered Iraq. And if they stayed long enough they would have seen this films sobering message that unless we radically change the “normal way of life in the industrialized world” around the years 2009-2020 then the human species will have committed collective suicide.
The Age of Stupid ‘Contract & Converge’ Animation on CO2 emissions ween out plan (full download torrent here)
The night before, Saturday, many tourist might have heard and seen the many hundreds strong demo through the streets under the banner of “el clima no està en venda” (The climate is not for sale).
Saturdays night demo on the streets – Do we have a Future?
THE CLIMATE IS NOT FOR SALE – Barcelona street demo video
On Monday morning hundreds of people and 1000+ alarm clocks gave the delegates entering the building the TckTckTck WAKE UP CALL. The TckTckTck campaign is an unprecedented global alliance which represents more than 200 development, humanitarian and environment organizations. The TckTckTck Campaign Director Ben Margolis told the assembled crowd, “We stand here today united to tell our leaders that time is running out to agree on a fair, ambitious and binding climate deal. Real money must be put on the table now by rich nations to ensure that the people in the poorest countries who are suffering the most from climate change and who are the least responsible [for the problem] are able to adapt to this growing crisis. Delay is not an option, delay kills.”
TckTckTck WAKE UP CALL outside the Barcelona Climate Talks 2009
During the day GREENPEACE activists scaled the cities famous landmark, the still unfinished Cathedral, the Sagreda Familia, designed by the architect Antoni Gaudi to hang a huge bannner declaring “WORLD LEADERS – MAKE THE CLIMATE CALL”, subsequently this action recieved much news coverage and appeared on the following days paper before a lovely twilight.
WORLD LEADERS – MAKE THE CLIMATE CALL – greenpeace
That night there was also an anonymous anarchist attack on a corporate headquarters building in the city, showing how the city still has its fair share of old violent tradition.
Late on Tuesday night activists armed with pots, pans, hooters, drums, banners and a big banner paid a visit to a restaurant in the Barceloneta barrio to vent their anger at International lobby groups who have come to the conference to seek new oportunities for big dams and other such projects which result in private corporate profits, normally coupled with devestated eco systems and terrorized communities. Especially those in Africa and Latin America.
Stop dams and lobbies – CLIMATE JUSTICE
On Wednesday morning, at 10am, 40+ white t shirted activists with various messages printed on them, walked up to the front entrance of the Conference building, chained 3 sets of the main doors shut, plastered the glazed walls with builders closed for work tape and large stickers and unfolded a 12 metre long banner stating “Without DRASTIC reductions there is NO way out” (In Spanish). They recieved quite a lot of press coverage, including Catalan TV3 and Japanese national TV. They chanted songs about climate change, read out statements and spoke from the heart as to the reasons for their actions in Catalan, Spanish and English. At one point an excellent eco rap tune was sung. Amongst other things mentioned was the following; the fact that Africa feel they have to boycott the talks due to lack of seriousness from the rich countries, the fact that people were there to speak on behalf of indigenous in Bagua, Peru who are defending their land, which has been sold off by Peruvian state along with 70 of the countries Amazonian rainforest area, all communities in struggle around the planet, trying to defend their resourses and communities against multinational climate injustice, including the Rossport community in North Western part of Ireland. There was no police or security attempts to remove the activists. After an hour they stood up and left. They had much support and were applauded from people outside.
Without DRASTIC reductions there is NO way out (BCN climate talks entrance blocked for an hour Wednesday)
These are just some of the events so far that have happened in the lead up and duration of the BCN CLIMATE CHANGE TALKS. Here in Catalunya, things might be a little bit more choatic and un-cordinated than in Northern Europe but there exists here a deep analysis of the way the world is working, there are many different groups and projects seeking to build alternatives which are sustainable and there is much people who are angry at the way the world is working at present with its twin paws of destruction; the killiing of our life system which relys on a delicate balance of nature, and the social injustice, misplacement and death to many caused by the capitalist market system of profit over all else (including, in time, human existence)
The BCN climate Talks, views from the inside
On Sunday evening, writing for the Guardian, John Vidal stated:
“Five days of formal negotiations remain before countries meet in Copenhagen to finish the most complex international agreement in UN history. As the teams of negotiators from 191 countries come together tomorrow for a last week of talks in Barcelona, huge political gulfs remain between rich and poor.“
On opening day, after the Wake up call and inside the conference Connie Hedegaard, the Danish environment minister who will be the official host of the Copenhagen talks, took the diplomatic gloves off within minutes of the Barcelona talks opening by challenging the US to set an emissions target:
“I feel it [is] very hard to imagine how the US president can receive the Nobel peace prize on December 10 in Oslo only a few hundreds kilometres [from Copenhagen] if he has sent an American delegation to Copenhagen with no offer. I remind the US that it is not the only country in the world that has to have discussions with its domestic parliament. The expectation out there worldwide among populations and the young [is for] the US to deliver on one of the key challenges of our century. The Americans will have to come up [with an offer] one way or another.”
Then Tuesday; bad news. Frustrated and feeling the rich nations are not serious in their desire to solve these massive problems, African countries have walked out and abandoned the conference. As reported in Reuters:
“African nations boycotted U.N. climate talks on Tuesday in a protest to urge rich countries to set deeper 2020 cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
Meetings about extending the U.N.’s carbon-cutting Kyoto Protocol, one of two tracks for a new global climate deal due to be agreed in Copenhagen next month, were all canceled by the protests.
“Africa believes that the other groups are not taking talks seriously enough, not urgently enough,” said Kabeya Tshikuku, of the Democratic Republic of Congo delegation.
They have since then temporarily ended their boycott and returned to the talks but threathen to repeat their boycott if sufficient political will is not shown by the rich countries.
So where do we go from here?
Who knows, this is just a lead up to COP 15 and you can be sure there will be more things happening before The talks end on Friday.
Audio and Video will be available online soon. To keep up to date watch the following: El clima no està en venda | IMC-BCN | IMC Ireland | Guardian Eco Twitter | TCKTCKTCK Twitter | 350.org | Its A Funny Old World | Climate Justice Action |
El clima no està en venda (The climate is not for sale)