COP out - why Paris won’t deliver and what we need instead

August 2015

Climate change is already hitting the world’s poorest people hardest and it needs to be stopped. The responsibility for the climate crisis lies squarely on the shoulders of the rich, whose consumption and greed has driven us to the brink of disaster. This makes it a problem of social and economic justice.

Some groups consider the upcoming Paris climate summit to be the answer. Campaign messages exhorting us to take action over the UN climate summit include ‘24 months to save the world’ and ‘show David Cameron our love’. Progressive newspapers and blogs carry a similar message of false hope. The Paris summit, a recent Guardian’s editorial argues, is ‘the world’s last, best chance’ to combat climate change.

The bad news is that the Paris Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) won’t work because it will not be dealing with the underlying problem – the unfair economic system that puts the interest of fossil fuel addicted corporations above those of the people.

So instead of being distracted by the false hope of a summit breakthrough, we should concentrate on putting pressure on our politicians to reduce emissions at home and building a broad and diverse movement to change the political context of climate policy. This means fighting trade deals that bestow rights on fossil fuel corporations. It means fighting the politics of austerity that forces us to accept ‘cheap’ coal instead of investing in clean, democratically controlled energy systems. And it also means fighting against the privatisation of energy globally.

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