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The Government Scandal That Shows the People Have to Take Radical Action to Prevent Climate Change

The corrupt failure of the United Nations COP 19 climate summit makes revolt irresistible.

Photo Credit: Korshunova


The world has been rapidly approaching a crossroads not only on climate change but also on mass extinction, destruction of the oceans, poisoning of the air, land and water and deteriorating food quality and security. A global revolt has been building and after this week in Poland, another reason to explode against the world’s richest governments has been provided. It is time for a world-wide environmental justice revolt. 

The Corrupt Climate Summit Falls Apart as Nations “Do Nothing”

The United Nations COP 19 climate summit has fallen apart because it is rooted in deep corruption. The overt domination by polluting industries is highlighted by Michael Klare who wrote in Tom Dispatch this week: “few governments are as yet prepared to launch the sorts of efforts that might even begin to effectively address the peril of climate change, they will increasingly be seen as obstacles to essential action and so as entities that need to be removed. In short, climate rebellion.”

At COP 19, the Corporate Europe Observatory reported that the conference was sponsored by “major car manufacturers, oil companies, steel manufacturers and coal firms.” In addition “the Polish Ministry of Economy has teamed up with the World Coal Association to put on a parallel ‘International Coal & Climate Summit,’ also in Warsaw.” In other words, the people profiting from industries that create the climate crisis took control of the climate summit. The coal industry pushed all sorts of nonsensical clean coal schemes to claim we can mitigate climate change and burn coal.

People were forced to protest as the only means of trying to shape the debate. Their question was: “ Who rules the world, the fossil fuel industry or the people?”  Amy Goodman whose Democracy Now! has been doing excellent reporting on COP 19 asked UN representatives about the sponsorship of corporate polluters, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon defended the practice saying everyone has to be at the table.

Goodman pointed out there were corporate logos all over COP 19 and the message seemed to be corporations are welcome, civil society is not. She asked about the banning of three protesters who merely held up signs in support of the Philippines whose chief climate negotiator, Naderev “Yeb” Saño, was on a hunger strike to protest the inaction of the world on climate. Saño had just made an emotional plea to the delegates for action, and the young protesters held up a banner behind him at a press conference that read: “2012, Bopha, 1,067; 2013, Haiyan, 10,000-plus? How many more have to die?” Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, defended the ban saying they had not told security they were going to protest.

In fact climate justice activists were harassed from the outset. Chris Williams, long-time environmental activist and eco-socialist reports they were stopped at the border, even though the EU has open borders, met b SWAT teams at the train station and quickly saw the corporate-insignia dominated COP 19 as unwelcoming to activists.  He describes the “pervasive smell of inaction seeped like a suffocating gas throughout the inside of the conference, outside, the choking effects of coal smoke waft from all corners of a country that obtains 90 percent of its electricity from coal and whose government has pledged to keep it that way until 2060.”

The Hindu reported on leaked US State Department documents which instructed US diplomats across the world to essentially do nothing on climate and say the US is doing enough.  In particular, the leaked documents showed that the US refused to help poor countries adversely impacted by climate change and urged private corporations to finance such assistance; and they wanted no country to be forced to take higher emission reduction pledges then already had been volunteered.  While urging “do nothing” they also hypocritically told diplomats to claim that President Obama and Secretary Kerry have climate change as a high priority.