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Naomi Klein: Why Rich Countries Should Pay Reparations To Poor Countries For The Climate Crisis

A grassroots movement says that the countries that created the climate crisis should pay for the costs of adapting to a more hostile ecology.

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So, we have to be very careful about what is called success, because if you turn around and say “It is a success to have U.S. commit to 14 percent cut from 2005 levels,” and a throwing a couple billion dollars a year out of the goodness of their hearts while still recognizing historical responsibility, then you lose some of this crucial urgency, in confronting this crisis. So, I think is very important for the climate justice movement not to allow politicians to pass off the failure as success.

AMY GOODMAN: Naomi Klein, the issue of President Obama going. He's going to be in the region, he's going to pick up his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo. He also just recently was in Copenhagen. He was there to push for Chicago to get the Olympics. But, he has not said he is going, although 65 world leaders have. The top three carbon polluters, the U.S., China and India, have not said they will attend the meeting. Your response?

NAOMI KLEIN: Well, you know John Kerry is publicly calling on Obama to go and I think now that that is happened, my assumption is Obama will go. I do not think Kerry would be saying this if it was not already pretty much decided that he will go. And I think this whole process of lowering the definition of success, so essentially failure can be passed off as success, is really, much of it is about creating conditions for Obama to go and claim that failure is success. So, frankly, I think he will go, but I do not think we should allow that to be a definition of success.

AMY GOODMAN: Now of course we will be there, “Democracy Now!” will be there in force, en masse, to cover what is happening for the two weeks. We will be covering what is happening at the summit and we will be covering what is happening in the streets. Naomi, it is the 10th anniversary of the Battle of Seattle, the protests in Seattle, Washington. I’m going to be there in a few days and there’s a lot of conversation about what that has meant. But, before we go to break and talk about this 10 years later, talks specifically about what is planned for Copenhagen in the streets.

NAOMI KLEIN: Well, the latest column I wrote for The Nation is about this line that you can draw from Seattle to Copenhagen. I call the column “Seattle Grows Up,” because I think we're also seeing an evolution of a movement that can to world attention on the streets of Seattle. I think there has been a profound deepening of the coalition between groups that are primarily focused on poverty, on development, on debt, and environmental groups that have traditionally been focused on environmental issues. We saw that in Seattle, the beginnings of that coalition, with the famous "Teamsters and Turtles" coalition. Now we are seeing something much deeper.

It is this idea of climate debt that is bringing together groups, like I was saying, Jubilee South, like Action Aid, groups that have been mostly focused on anti-poverty and development and are now are seeing climate change as the single greatest barrier to human development around the world, but also seen the call for climate reparation as an opportunity for, to quote Angelica Navarro, Bolivia's ambassador to the climate negotiations, who I was talking about earlier, when she talks about the need for the developing world- developed world to pay our climate debt, she says if this happened and we would have a Marshall Plan for planet earth, which is a very exciting prospect because it means you have the opportunity to tackle simultaneously two of humanities most intransigent challenges, most intransigent problems, climate debt on the one hand, and inequality on the other. So, the bringing together of these two forces. That is what's going to be really, really exciting in Copenhagen. And a lot of the people, a lot of networks that grew out of Seattle are going to be activated in Copenhagen and have only grown stronger in recent years.

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