No. 53October 27, 2021
On November 6, as world leaders meet in Glasgow for the COP26 Global Climate Summit, towns and cities across the world will take to the streets demanding global climate justice.
The actions are being initiated by the COP 26 Coalition in Britain as part of a program of activities taking place throughout the two week conference. The program also includes a People’s Summit from November 7-10 and daily Movement Assemblies at Adelaide’s Place, Bath Street in Glasgow to hear report backs from the UNFCCC negotiations, develop rapid responses, actions and discuss strategy questions facing global movements for climate justice.
In their callout for the November 6 Day of Action organizers state:
“Global problems need global solutions. The decisions made at COP26 will shape how governments respond (or not) to the climate crisis. They will decide who is to be sacrificed, who will escape and who will make a profit.
“So far, governments have done too little too late: colluding with corporations and hiding behind green washed ‘solutions’ that actually don’t exist yet, that don’t address the scale of the problem, and in many cases rely on more exploitation of people and the planet. Justice won’t be handed to us by world leaders or delivered by corporations. Only we can imagine and build the future that works for all of us. The transformative solutions that we need to survive and build a more just and fair world can only be brought about through collective action, solidarity and coordination, from our local communities and international levels.
“We are bringing together movements from across the world to build power for system change — Indigenous movements, frontline communities, trade unions, racial justice groups, youth strikers, landworkers, peasants, NGOs, grassroots community campaigns, feminist movements, faith groups — to name a few. Wherever you are in the world, now is the time to join the fight for climate justice. We need all hands on deck: in workplaces, communities, schools, hospitals and across national borders. We will be putting Indigenous, frontline and Global South communities front and centre. We need your help to amplify their voices and demands.”
Friday, November 5 — 11:00 am
Bishop’s University, 2600 College St.
March for Climate and Social Justice
Saturday, Novembre 6 — 1:00 pm
Parc Renaud, coin De Lanaudière et Père-Wilfrid-Pelletier
Friday, November 5 — 1:00 pm
332 rue Perreault Est
Funeral March and Silent Theatrical Demonstration
Friday, November 5 — 1:30-4:30 pm
Details and location to be confirmed
For information: email@example.com
Saturday, November 6 — 1:00 pm
Queen’s Park, Wellesley St. on north side of Legislature
For information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Action in Berlin, Germany ahead of COP26, October 22, 2021
The United Nations Climate Summit called COP26 starts in Glasgow, Scotland on Sunday, October 31 and goes through to November 12. COP stands for Conference of Parties and this is its 26th meeting.
Since 1992, heads of state, high level ministers, diplomats and business executives, along with a few non-government organizations (NGOs), have gotten together to issue promises to address the climate crisis which is getting worse every year. They signed a treaty promising to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere and prevent dangerous changes to the climate.
How to carry out production, development and distribution in a manner which is sustainable is not rocket science but it does require governments which vest decision-making power in the peoples and put the interests of the natural and social environment at the centre of decision-making, not the interests of the rich. Solving how to do this is the problem facing the peoples in the 21st century. What is needed to protect mother earth which is well-known but the decision-making power is not in the hands of the peoples of most countries, especially those of the big powers which do not permit issues to be settled rationally and peacefully.
For the peoples of the world, it is a matter of making way for political renewal so that they can replace corrupt governments which use every opportunity to make sure the oligopolies they serve make more money.
The Big Powers in fact block taking any action which is not in line with meeting the demands of the rich they serve. At this time it involves paying the rich the cost of building carbon capture facilities, establishing eco-friendly energy projects, renewing their infrastructure to bring it in line with the developments in science and technology which emphasize the use of artificial intelligence, new production techniques, rare earth minerals and competition in the neo-liberal world market.
Terms like “green economy” are used to suggest the methods used are sustainable and friendly to the environment when they do not meet the demands of the peoples of the world who demand accountability. The expression “greenwash” has been coined to underscore the fraud involved in the claim that various projects are eco-friendly, especially those designed to further the aims of war production and the military which is the greatest polluter in the world at this time. In this regard, we are told:
“The Paris Agreement created a novel method for getting to this goal. It works like a GoFundMe, except for the planet. Countries offer their individual ‘contributions’ — their specific plans to cut heat-trapping emissions. The UN then adds them all up and calculates if that sum is enough — or, as now, if a gap remains between those plans and what climate scientists say is needed to avoid the most catastrophic effects.”
“The Glasgow meeting is forcing countries to declare their plans to cut emissions, and maybe go bigger.”
The climate crisis has become very serious and is wreaking havoc all over the world. Hot air is not going to solve it. Renewal Update encourages Canadians and Quebeckers to join forces with the youth and peoples of the world who are speaking out for climate justice. Join the November 6 Global Day of Action for Climate Justice, the People’s Summit from November 7-10 and actions which support the natural environment such as in Canada the Wet’suwet’en peoples’ defence of the right to make decisions on their territories which protect the natural environment in a significant way.
Tremendous hype accompanies the UN Climate Summits with the present one billed “as a potential turning point in the struggle to avert the worst effects of climate change.”
One news agency describes it as a “multi-ring circus.” “In the innermost ring, blue-badged diplomats from almost 200 countries will debate the wording of a statement that’s released at the meeting’s conclusion, which contains any actual decisions. Other venues in Glasgow will be flooded by celebrities, industry groups, climate activists and academic researchers, all with their own priorities. Protests are expected. It will be like a session of Congress, a trade show and a political demonstration all rolled into one.”
This sets the tone for not discussing anything seriously. We are told:
“There’s one main goal: get closer to fulfilling promises that nations made six years ago at COP21 in Paris. Under the Paris Agreement, countries pledged to collectively cut their greenhouse emissions enough to keep the planet from heating up more than 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), compared with pre-industrial times. Wealthy countries also promised large amounts of aid to poorer nations to help them cope with climate change and to reduce their own greenhouse emissions.”
About what is done to implement those promises, we are told:
“Progress toward those goals has been halting at best. But pressure is growing for bolder action because scientists say that planetary warming is accelerating, leading to more frequent and intense heat waves and storms and destruction of ecosystems. The planet already has warmed by about one degree Celsius. Keeping warming below 1.5 degrees C will require quick, drastic cuts in global greenhouse emissions, bringing them practically to zero within about 30 years.”
“This is arguably the most important COP since 2015” says Christiana Figueres who was the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 2010-2016.  “We’re going to [go] around the table, we’re going to be transparent with each other. We’re going to say what we did. And above all, what more we are going to do.”
“People want to be seen to be doing the right thing,” says Rachel Kyte, dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
In other words, COP26 will generate more hot air.
According to the nonprofit Climate Action Tracker, major polluting countries have submitted plans that are either “critically insufficient” or “highly insufficient.”
The U.S. this year promised to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half (compared with 2005 levels) by 2030 and to deliver $10 billion a year in climate-focused economic aid to lower-income countries. Congress has not passed legislation, such as a proposed Clean Electricity Performance Program, that would accomplish this, “and it’s increasingly looking as if that won’t happen,” National Public Radio (NPR) in the U.S. reported.
NPR continues that nations also have not delivered on their promises regarding ‘climate finance’ — commitments for $100 billion a year which poor countries say is not only unmet but woefully inadequate. “Developing nations emit small quantities of heat-trapping pollution but still suffer from its effects and have fewer resources available to cope with it.
“According to the latest estimate from the International Energy Agency, if all countries fully carry out their current climate pledges, the global curve of greenhouse emissions eventually will start to bend downward. Under this scenario, average global temperatures would increase by 3.7 degrees Fahrenheit compared with pre-industrial levels by the end of the century. (Those average temperatures have already risen by about two degrees Fahrenheit.)”
In addition, negotiators will be trying to work out final details of what’s called “The Paris Rule Book.” These include rules for how countries shall report their emissions targets and how a system of “carbon markets” might work, in which one country can effectively purchase emissions reductions from another country.
All of it shows that safeguarding the natural environment and averting climate disasters will be up to the people taking matters into their own hands as concerns making way for renewal of the decision-making process at every level. Those who represent the people’s interests are left outside the decision-making which takes place at COP26, as seen in their posters and the claims they are making on behalf of the natural and social environment.
1. Assuming responsibility for the international climate change negotiations after the failed Copenhagen conference of 2009, Christiana Figueres was determined to lead the process to a universally agreed regulatory framework. Building toward that goal, she directed the successful Conferences of the Parties in Cancun 2010, Durban 2011, Doha 2012, Warsaw 2013, and Lima 2014, and culminated her efforts in the historical Paris Agreement of 2015. Throughout her tenure Ms. Figueres brought together national and sub-national governments, corporations and activists, financial institutions and communities of faith, think tanks and technology providers, NGOs and parliamentarians, to jointly deliver the unprecedented climate change agreement. For this achievement Ms. Figueres has been credited with forging a new brand of collaborative diplomacy.
Reuters reports, “Oil and gas companies have asked the Canadian government to design a tax credit to pay for 75 per cent of the cost to build carbon capture facilities that will curb greenhouse gas emissions, the country’s main energy industry group said on October 21.
“The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) made the request in August to the Department of Finance just before the federal election campaign, setting the tax credit at a level high enough to provide an economic return, Ben Brunnen, CAPP’s Vice-President of Oil Sands, told Reuters.”
The CAPP demand in effect is an admission that the old organization and property relations of the economy to benefit private companies and investors no longer works. A new direction is necessary that recognizes that the economy today is socialized and for the various enterprises and sectors to play their role in a socially responsible manner they need to be human-centred and under the control of the people not global private interests.
Building carbon capture facilities is one aspect of meeting the challenge facing the energy sector to carry out production in a socially responsible manner. Others recently reported include dealing with the enormous numbers of abandoned or orphan oil and gas sites, for which the private owners refuse to be accountable.
Energy production on the massive scale needed in the modern era has long been recognized as a social responsibility that should be organized as a public utility. How to do that while taking the health and well-being of Mother Earth and her human beings into consideration has never been a concern of the rich oligarchs. Their aim for maximum profit at all costs is what drives their adventures in production, which is precisely why a new pro-social aim and direction and human-centred control are needed for the economy. How to bring a new direction into being is a challenge working people face.
Oligarchs View Public Funds as Their Right to Possess
The oligarchs throughout the economy want energy to power their facilities while also demanding a maximum return from energy production and distribution. How can the provision of energy required in a modern economy occur in a socially responsible manner if the central and determining aim is maximum private profit?
Within the current direction of the economy even posturing in defence of the environment let alone actual deeds cannot and do not happen without pay-the-rich schemes. If private energy producers are asked to produce in a responsible manner and clean up the pollution and mess they leave behind, they demand that pooled resources from other parts of the economy are made available to pay the rich. They refuse to even contemplate an alternative of a new pro-social aim and direction for the economy with property relations in conformity with the socialized nature of modern production. Such a thought would assault their class nature and being.
Brunnen tells Reuters that carbon capture for oil and gas operations is more costly because the amount captured is “less concentrated than that of some other large emitters, such as fertilizer plants. That means that capture costs are higher on a per tonne basis for oil companies. […] ‘Because of that, this [pay-the-rich credit] needs to be designed to drive a balance and reflect the economic realities. The government role should be providing the playing field to enable companies to make these investments.'”
Why is the government role to find a “balance” to pay the rich? Why is the role of government to “provide a playing field to enable companies” to make private profits to defend and enlarge their personal wealth and class privilege? It can only be because the oligarchs control the political affairs of the country and the direction of the economy. To “reflect the economic realities” requires a new direction to stop paying the rich, increase funding for social programs and bring the property relations in the base of the economy into conformity with its modern socialized nature.
Brunnen takes for granted the status quo of private ownership of the main sectors of the economy. In so many words he declares that because the private global oligarchs who own and dominate the energy sector expect and must receive maximum profit, then anything that arises such as carbon capture, which may detract from that aim and prospect, has to be funded by the government. He does not find irony and backwardness in his position because his privileged position is found in the status quo and his patrons are the global energy oligarchs.
Why should the rest of the economy hand over money to the private oligarchs of the energy sector or any sector for that matter? The other main sectors of the economy likewise owned and dominated by global oligarchs also want maximum profit and do not want to have their enterprises and sectors forced to hand over money to other oligarchs. This creates crises and conflict, even conditions for civil war among competing sections of the rich battling to control and benefit from the state treasury and political power.
To pay the rich is the priority for the oligarchs and their representatives. Social programs or any other program that directly benefits the people and Mother Earth are denied, cut back and drained of public funds and resources in order to pay the rich. Nothing is done unless private profit can be squeezed from it. Just look at the obscene profits the pharmaceutical oligarchs have seized from the pandemic.
The CAPP demand for a 75 per cent tax credit is comparable to the proposed “sweetened” credit in the United States. The Trudeau government responded dutifully as it always does to serve the rich and organized “industry consultations in June on the make-up of its proposed carbon capture investment tax credit,” Reuters reports. “Although the government calls its proposed carbon capture support a tax credit, CAPP wants it to function more as a grant, with Ottawa reimbursing carbon capture proponents a percentage of their costs as they build the facilities, Brunnen said.
“Canada aims to provide incentives for at least two massive carbon capture hubs by 2030 and sequester at least 15 million tonnes of carbon annually in total by that year. Realistically, Canada might advance two projects in the next three years with combined capacity for 3 million tonnes of carbon sequestration per year, costing about C$3 billion, Brunnen said.
“Several companies have stepped forward with proposals for carbon capture hubs in Alberta, including Royal Dutch Shell, TC Energy and a consortium of the five biggest Canadian oil producers.” Hurray for the global oligarchs of Shell et al! They swear to do their best to save the planet as long as they are paid handsomely for doing it.
The ruling elite in political and economic control refuse to face, let alone accept the reality that private ownership of the now completely socialized economy is a contradiction that must be resolved. They demand pay-the-rich schemes for virtually any development. This alone proves the necessity for a new direction. If the public purse is required to pay for carbon capture and any other development then what is the role or use of the private ownership and class privilege of the rich oligarchs? They have proved in practice to be a drag on the economy and society that should be cut loose.
The people are being forced to prop up an imperialist system of property relations controlled by a social class of rich oligarchs who refuse to recognize the obvious because their private interests and class being preclude them from doing so. This means working people themselves must do it. They must organize and force through the necessary change towards a new direction where the main enterprises and sectors of the economy are under human-centred ownership and control with an aim to serve the well-being of the people and humanize the social and natural environment. The time is now for a new direction. The ruling elite in control are the first to prove that necessity through their words and deeds. Time to leave them behind!
Quebec City, October 16, 2021
A Long March for the protection of our forests began in September and culminated on October 16 in the City of Quebec. People left from the four corners of Quebec — Outaouais, Laurentides, Lanaudière and Mauricie, among others — to protect the forests of Quebec and support the First Nations in their approach to the environment.
For the organizers, the march is a movement of all the peoples of Quebec to highlight the importance of biodiversity and of the one hundred protected areas in Southern Quebec. For them, the march is a turning point in the economic, ecological and social transition which is required to ensure the health and well-being of the generations of today and of tomorrow. In light of the fact that participation in the march includes environmental groups, joined by Indigenous nations, citizens and school children, “the consciousness of the movement can only grow in this era we are living in”.
What initially motivated the march from was that one hundred projects for protected zones on public land in Southern Quebec have been proposed over the years by public servants from the Department of the Environment and of the Struggle against climate change (MELCC), Indigenous communities, citizens’ groups, regional municipalities (MRC), municipalities, community and scientific associations. Yet, these projects for the protection of important territories in terms of biodiversity were ignored by the government. The Long March Collective emphasizes that these zones would have contributed in meeting Quebec’s UN commitments for the protection of ecologically representative systems of well-connected protected zones and also to acknowledge the basic needs of Indigenous communities. Instead, territories to the north of the tree lines where the economic interests are less prevalent have been declared protected, as if the Southern Quebec biodiversity need not be protected.
Quebec City, October 16, 2021
Within this movement, a place of honour is given to Indigenous peoples who are the stewards and protectors of the forests, animals, plants and water since time immemorial. The Long March Collective states: “Inspired by their experiences past and present, we march forward together for our common future.” The Anishinaabe community and the Atikamekw Grand Council are among the communities in support of the Long March for the protection of our forests.
The demands and proposals of the Long March Collective are as follows:
– The protection of 100 projects of priority protected areas on public lands in Southern Quebec;
– The 80 biodiversity reserve projects submitted to the government by the MELCC and MRC’S, municipalities, community organizations, Indigenous, citizen and scientific communities;
– Indigenously initiated protected areas projects;
– The creation of an independent scientific institution for forest management, including Indigenous science;
– The immediate protection of all the urban and suburban forests threatened with development in Quebec and the passing of legislation facilitating the creation of protected areas in heavily populated regions.
The Long March petition can be found at: sauvonslesforêts.ca
Quebec City, October 16, 2021
Sherbrooke, October 16, 2021
Beauport, October 15, 2021
Pipuakan, October 14, 2021
(Photos: G. Hartog, GMPF, SNAP, RU)
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