Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Civil society rising up: keeping up to date with civil society activism at Copenhagen

As the Copenhagen Summit gets underway it is interesting to see the rising tide of climate justice activism emerging out of civil society and citizen action. Much of this civil society activity is on display outside the Summit, having been excluded from participating directly in the Summit.

Public protests are expected to start later this week in Copenhagen, however in the lead up to Copenhagen tens of thousands of people marched throughout Europe calling on world leaders to reach an agreement to reduce emissions in Copenhagen. Protesters took to the streets in Belfast, Glasgow, Paris, Brussels, Berlin and London. The largest protest was in London, where organizers of the Stop Climate Chaos protest put the crowd total at 50,000.

A major focus of civil society activity is to give voice to people from countries most directly affected by climate change in Africa, Asia, The Pacific and the Middle East. The Global Justice Ecology Project has a blog from Copenhagen here where you can keep up to date and the excellent USA alternative media outlet Democracy Now is broadcasting live from Copenhagen.

There is an excellent couple of pieces from Yes Magazine here. The first is about the growing power of the climate justice movement. Mark Engler, who has written before about the need for civil disobedience on climate change, writes that:
Climate-change activism has been taking place in some form for decades, but in recent years the ripples created by events like the Selby camp have been swelling into something larger—something that is attracting ever-greater numbers of mainstream environmentalists, gathering support from top climate scientists and prominent public figures, and starting to look a lot like a mass movement.
The second piece provides a climate action resource guide.

Leading Climate change scientist James Hansen, recently interviewed on the ABC's Lateline program and in the Guardian, provides important leadership and inspiration for climate justice activism. Hansen has been active in climate change protests in the USA and has recently said in the Guardian that it would be better for the planet for the Summit to fail, as any agreement that comes out of Copenhagen will be deeply flawed.

A group of freelance journalists-the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists- have contributed to the climate justice movement with their eight- country investigative report (including Australia) documenting global efforts by the fossil fuel industry and carbon emitters to stymie any new climate treaty in Copenhagen. The group is reporting from Copenhagen on the power of corporate and business lobbying efforts in Copenhagen and their reports from the Summit on corporate lobbying can be found here.

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