Le Lézard
Classified in: Environment
Subjects: ENI, ENP

Workers and frontline communities: "UN climate conference steers away from climate justice, caving to fossil fuel corporations"


GLASGOW, Scotland, Nov. 16, 2021 /CNW/ -- At the conclusion of the 26th UNFCCC Conference of the Parties, dozens of delegates representing workers, frontline climate justice communities, and environmental justice groups who made up the It Takes Roots delegation to Glasgow said:

If the goal of the United Nations' global climate effort was to halt climate change and hold warming to 1.5 ?, the UN climate conference in Glasgow was designed for failure. The resulting Glasgow Climate Pact is a farce. Global North nations allied with fossil fuel corporations have eschewed responsibility for climate loss and damage, obstructed human rights protections, and endorsed harmful market-based carbon offset schemes. The only thing the Glasgow Pact ensures is that the Global South and frontline communities around the world will continue paying the highest price for the Global North's economic greed, with no concern for human lives or the survival and sustainability of the planet.

Much of the conference focused on net-zero targets, which are a fig leaf for fossil fuel corporations determined to keep making money from oil, gas, and coal and continue to endanger our planet and its people. Politicians came to Glasgow to take credit for these targets and other unproven policies, like carbon capture and storage and carbon pricing. These policies are really false promises that do not match the scope of the crisis, and cannot reduce emissions fast enough to stave off the worst effects of climate change.

In Glasgow, the It Takes Roots delegation represented more than 200 organizations and affiliates in 50 states, provinces, territories, and Native lands on Turtle Island, aka North America. The 60-person delegation representing Indigenous, Black, brown and other frontline communities of color found itself dwarfed by over 500 fossil fuel company representatives. And while like most civil society groups, It Takes Roots delegates were excluded from the rooms where negotiations were held, fossil fuel lobbyists seemed to have no problem influencing negotiations directly.

For decades, communities on the front lines of climate change and pollution have been dealing with the worst effects of the climate crisis, while playing a negligible role in its creation. Rather than waiting for far-off diplomats to decide their fate, they have developed their own practical solutions to climate injustice--solutions that work for our own communities.

It Takes Roots continues to demand the U.S. match the urgency of the moment by immediately ending the expansion of fossil fuels, declaring a climate emergency, reducing emissions at source, and investing in real community-driven solutions. If President Biden wants to really be a climate leader, then he needs to take strong action to stop fossil fuel expansion, including not opening public lands to extraction and halting all new pipelines.

The following are quotes from members of the It Takes Roots delegation to COP 26:

The world must move quickly and boldly to end the use of fossil fuels entirely, while keeping the focus on people rather than profits. COP26 was just the latest example of how fossil fuel corporations tout false solutions like "net zero" so they can continue to profit from strangling the planet. They hide behind a smokescreen of misleading carbon accounting and unproven and harmful carbon capture technology, while politicians cheer them on. We must stop this madness and do what we all know the world needs to do: eliminate greenhouse gas emissions at their source by ending the use of fossil fuels, and make a just and equitable transition to clean, community controlled, energy, all the while respecting Mother Earth.  
- Ozawa Bineshi Albert, Climate Justice Alliance and member of the Yuchi and Anishinaabe Nations

We cannot meaningfully confront the devastation caused by climate change without confronting the largest single contributor to climate pollution---the U.S. military. The U.S. military is the largest consumer of fossil fuels, and also the largest emitter of greenhouse gases. The U.S. military is one of the most responsible entities for climate disruption. The military again remains exempt from global climate agreements including the Glasgow Climate Pact. It was clear at COP26 that this was not a space for genuine discussions. It was a forum for transnational corporations, industry, and polluting governments to craft strategies to protect polluting, profiteering, planet-damaging business as usual.
- Ramon Mejia, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance and veteran of the war in Iraq

Our recent report "Indigenous Resistance Against Carbon" revealed that Indigenous resistance to carbon over the past decade has stopped projects equivalent to 400 new coal-fired power plants, or roughly 345 million new passenger vehicles. Additionally, Indigenous resistance has helped shift public debate on fossil fuels, carbon pricing, geoengineering techno-fixes, clean electricity standards, food sovereignty, the rights of Mother Earth and the inherent rights and treaty rights of Indigenous Peoples. The traditional knowledge of Indigenous Peoples is essential to finding solutions today and in the future. 
- Tom BK Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network

I came to COP26 as part of a workers delegation to ensure our voices and reality are heard and understood. We joined with Just Transition Alliance to bring workers from different industries?the airlines, healthcare, farmworkers, education and the oil industry. At COP26, it didn't matter what topic you chose, Black, Brown and Indigenous people were not consulted about decisions that were made. With any solutions, the first impacts are to the working people, particularly working Black, Brown and Indigenous people in their communities. Yet, most of the solutions the global leaders came up with ? whether it was carbon pricing, carbon capture and sequestration or any other newer technologies ? the creation and impacts of those so-called fixes are going to affect workers first, particularly marginalized people. We believe it's important to think of workers first and foremost about any climate change and climate justice solutions.
- Jonathan Alingu, Co-Director, Central Florida Jobs with Justice

Media contacts:
Aimee Inglis, It Takes Roots, aimee@ittakesroots.org

SOURCE It Takes Roots


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