Prelude to Paris: Four Tragic Tactics by President Obama and Four Climate Justice Proposals He Must Support
In December 2015 the world’s governments will meet in Paris for a truly historic event — the United Nations Framework Climate Change Conference. (UNFCCC). The objective of the conference is to protect Mother Earth from the assault of its most ungrateful inhabitants. The challenge is whether Homo sapiens, especially those of the ruling classes of the United States and Europe, can be civilized by the rest of the world before it is too late for all of us.
The challenge to the UNFCCC focuses on the growing world demand that the U.S. and Europe — as the greatest historical polluters, the initiators and beneficiaries of the Industrial Counter-Revolution, and the creators of economies based on slavery and conquest — must lead the way with radical reductions of Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) of at least 50 percent if not 60 percent or more over the next decade. My fear is that the world’s governments, under pressure from the United States, President Obama, and the leaders of the European Union, will be unable to reach any agreement as we move towards the catastrophe of a 2 degree and then 3 degree world — as massive and hysterical production and consumption in “the West” and the world system proceeds unabated.
I am a civil rights and climate justice organizer. I have been working at the United Nations through the World Conference Against Racism in Durban in 2001, the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002. I have spent the last year reading every version of the U.N. Durban Draft, and have attended, along with Strategy Center Associate Director Barbara Lott-Holland, two preparatory UNFCCC meetings in Bonn, Germany in May and October. I have spoken with hundreds of representatives of world governments and international NGOs. Based on this investigation and assessment I am deeply troubled by President Obama’s role in this process and want to put forth some positive and necessary programmatic proposals.