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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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AMY GOODMAN: When we will come back, we’ll talk about ten years after the Battle of Seattle protest overall, its also the 10th anniversary of the release of your book, No Logo, I want to talk about "world branding."


... But Naomi, before we talk more specifically about Seattle, what about the specific actions planned for the streets of Copenhagen at the Climate Summit?

NAOMI KLEIN: Well, you know, it's going to be a maze, Copenhagen. It's the largest environmental gathering in history, larger, even, than the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. So there's going to be a lot happening all around the city.

But, here is where I think it's really different from Seattle: in Seattle, the World Trade Organization was really the enemy for the activists in the street, and the goal was to shut down the meeting, both from the outside and inside. And you had this interesting coalition of activists in the street with that message, that "No WTO" message. And then you had coalitions of developing countries inside, emboldened by these protests in the street, emboldened to stand up to the pressure from the European Union and the United States. And ultimately it was that sort of "pincer" that collapsed the meeting.

In Copenhagen, it's a different dynamic, because the fact is that the people in the streets overwhelmingly support the mission of the meeting in Copenhagen. And, so, they're not saying "no" to the idea of a climate summit. In fact, they're saying "yes," and they're revealing, highlighting that, in fact, it is the world leaders, particularly world leaders from the heavy-emitting countries, like the United States and Canada, who are the naysayers, who are the ones who are saying, "No, we don't actually want to tackle the climate crisis, we don't want to make the emissions cuts that are needed, that are required by science."

So, in a sense, it’s an inversion where it’s the activists who are saying, "Yes, we believe in this mission." And it's the politicians, really, who we need to reveal as being the ones who are actually saying, 'no,' even as they claim to be saying 'yes,' and even as they claim -- even as they sell failure as 'success.'"

So, it’s really tricky for activists in terms of figuring out how you interact with a summit like this. So, there's one day, for instance, the 18th -- December 18th, where activists are going to be kind of storming the conference center, nonviolently, but using civil disobedience. But their goal, they say, is not to shut down the meeting, but to open up the meeting and to have a forum inside the meeting to talk about real climate solutions, like leaving fossil fuels in the ground—dirty fossil fuels, particularly things like the Alberta tar sands -- talking about solutions like climate debt that we’ve been discussing, and exposing the fallacies of the claims that the market can solve the climate crisis.

Because, of course, that's what we’re going to be hearing a lot of in Copenhagen, market-based solutions: cap and trade, emission trading, carbon sinks, basically creating a huge market in pollution. And you have many of the same players that crashed the global economy, like Goldman Sachs, salivating over the idea of being able to have a speculative bubble over carbon.

So, that's the dynamic. It's not saying "no," not saying "shut down," but saying, "Open up. Let's talk about real solutions." And another example of this is that, actually, there will be an attempt to shut something down in Copenhagen, but that is focused on shutting down the port for a day -- Copenhagen's port -- to highlight the corporate side of this equation, the shipping industry and how emissions-heavy it is. And, so, not to shut down a meeting that actually the activists believe in, but to go after industry itself. So, there's going to be a lot of actions like that. A lot of thought and debate is going into how to craft actions that are really consistent with the goals of this movement.

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