Climate change: Save the planet from capitalism

Climate change: Save the planet from capitalism

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By Evo Morales Ayma

The competition and the thirst for unlimited profit of the capitalist system are destroying the planet. And even "climate change" itself has become a business.

Letter from President Evo Morales to the UN Summit on Climate Change in Pozna, Poland.

Climate change: Save the planet from capitalism

Sisters and brothers:

Today, our Mother Earth is sick. Since the beginning of the 21st century we have lived through the hottest years of the last thousand years. Global warming is causing sudden changes in the climate: the retreat of glaciers and the reduction of the polar caps; the rise in sea level and the flooding of coastal territories in whose vicinity 60% of the world's population live; the increase in desertification processes and the reduction of fresh water sources; a greater frequency of natural disasters suffered by the communities of the planet [1]; The extinction of animal and vegetable species; and the spread of disease in previously disease-free areas.

One of the most tragic consequences of climate change is that some nations and territories are doomed to disappear due to rising sea levels.

It all started with the industrial revolution of 1750 that started the capitalist system. In two and a half centuries, the so-called “developed” countries have consumed a large part of the fossil fuels created in five million centuries.

The competition and the thirst for unlimited profit of the capitalist system are destroying the planet. Capitalism is the source of asymmetries and imbalances in the world. It generates luxury, ostentation and waste for a few while millions die of hunger in the world. And even "climate change" itself has become a business.

"Climate change" has placed all of humanity in front of a great dilemma: continue on the path of capitalism and death, or undertake the path of harmony with nature and respect for life.

In the Kyoto Protocol of 1997, developed countries and countries with economies in transition committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 5% below 1990 levels, with the implementation of different instruments among the countries. which market mechanisms predominate.

Until 2006, greenhouse gases, far from being reduced, have increased by 9.1% in relation to 1990 levels, thus also showing the non-compliance of the commitments of the developed countries.

Market mechanisms applied in developing countries [2] have not achieved a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Just as the market is incapable of regulating the financial and productive system of the world, the market is also incapable of regulating greenhouse gas emissions and will only generate great business for financial agents and large corporations.

The planet is much more important than the stock markets of Wall Street and the world

While the United States and the European Union are earmarking $ 4.1 trillion to save bankers from a financial crisis that they themselves caused, they spend 313 times less on climate change programs, that is, only $ 13 trillion.

Resources for climate change are poorly distributed. More resources are allocated to reduce emissions (mitigation) and less to counteract the effects of climate change that all countries suffer (adaptation) [3]. The vast majority of resources flow to the countries that have polluted the most and not to the countries that have most preserved the environment. 80% of the Clean Development Mechanism projects have been concentrated in just four emerging countries.

The capitalist logic promotes the paradox that the sectors that contributed the most to deteriorating the environment are those that benefit the most from programs related to climate change.

Likewise, the transfer of technology and financing for a clean and sustainable development of the countries of the South has remained in the speeches.

The upcoming Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen must allow us to take a leap if we want to save mother earth and humanity. To do this we propose the following proposals for the process that goes from Poznan to Copenhagen:

Attack the structural causes of climate change

1) Discuss the structural causes of climate change. As long as we do not change the capitalist system for a system based on complementarity, solidarity and harmony between peoples and nature, the measures we adopt will be palliative that will have a limited and precarious nature. For us, what has failed is the model of "living better", of unlimited development, of industrialization without borders, of modernity that despises history, of increasing accumulation at the expense of the other and of nature. That is why we advocate Living Well, in harmony with other human beings and with our Mother Earth.

2) Developed countries need to control their consumer patterns - luxury and waste - especially the excessive consumption of fossil fuels. Subsidies to fossil fuels, which amount to 150-250 billion dollars, [4] must be phased out. It is essential to develop alternative energies such as solar energy, geothermal energy, wind energy and hydroelectric power on a small and medium scale.

3) Biofuels are not an alternative because they put the production of food for transport before the production of food for human beings. Agrofuels expand the agricultural frontier destroying forests and biodiversity, generate monocultures, promote land concentration, deteriorate soils, deplete water sources, contribute to rising food prices and, in many cases, consume more energy of which they generate.

Substantial emission reduction commitments that are met

4) Strictly comply by 2012 with the commitment [5] of developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 5% below 1990 levels. It is not acceptable that countries that historically polluted the planet talk about bigger reductions for the future in breach of their present commitments.

5) Establish new minimum commitments for developed countries of 40% by 2020 and 90% by 2050 to reduce greenhouse gases, taking 1990 emissions as a starting point. These minimum reduction commitments must be made internally. in developed countries and not through flexible market mechanisms that allow the purchase of Emission Reduction Certificates to continue polluting in their own country. Likewise, transparent monitoring, information and verification mechanisms must be established, accessible to the public, to guarantee compliance with said commitments.

6) Developing countries that are not responsible for historical pollution must preserve the necessary space to implement an alternative and sustainable development that does not repeat the errors of the savage industrialization process that has led us to the current situation. To ensure this process, developing countries need, as a prerequisite, financing and technology transfer.

A Comprehensive Financial Mechanism to meet the ecological debt

7) In recognition of the historical ecological debt they have with the planet, developed countries must create a Comprehensive Financial Mechanism to support developing countries in the implementation of their plans and programs for adaptation and mitigation of climate change; in innovation, development and technology transfer; in the conservation and improvement of its sinks and deposits; in response actions to serious natural disasters caused by climate change; and in the execution of sustainable and nature-friendly development plans.

8) This Comprehensive Financial Mechanism, to be effective, must have at least a contribution of 1% of the GDP of developed countries [6] and have other income from taxes on hydrocarbons, financial transactions, transportation maritime and air, and the profits of transnational companies.

9) The financing provided by developed countries must be in addition to Official Development Assistance (ODA), bilateral aid and / or channeled through organizations other than the United Nations. Any financing outside the UNFCCC cannot be considered as the implementation of the commitments of developed countries under the Convention.

10) The financing must go to the national plans or programs of the States and not to projects that are under the market logic.

11) Financing should not be concentrated only in some developed countries, but must prioritize the countries that have contributed the least to greenhouse gas emissions, those that preserve nature and / or that suffer the most from the impacts of climate change.

12) The Comprehensive Financing Mechanism must be covered by the United Nations and not by the Global Environment Fund (GEF) and its intermediaries such as the World Bank or Regional Banks; its administration must be collective, transparent and non-bureaucratic. Its decisions must be made by all member countries, especially developing countries, and not just by donors or administering bureaucracies.

Technology transfer to developing countries

13) Innovations and technologies related to climate change should be in the public domain and not under a private patent monopoly regime that hinders and makes their transfer to developing countries more expensive.

14) Products that are the result of public financing for innovation and technology development must be placed under the public domain and not under a private patent regime [7] in such a way that they are freely accessible to developing countries.

15) Encourage and improve the system of voluntary and compulsory licenses so that all countries can access products already patented quickly and free of cost. Developed countries cannot treat patents or intellectual property rights as if they were something "sacred" that has to be maintained at any cost. The flexibility regime that exists for intellectual property rights, when it comes to serious public health problems, must be adapted and substantially expanded to heal Mother Earth.

16) Collect and promote the practices of harmony with nature of indigenous peoples that over the centuries have been shown to be sustainable.

Adaptation and mitigation with the participation of all the people

17) Promote actions, programs and mitigation and adaptation plans with the participation of local communities and indigenous peoples within the framework of full respect and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The best instrument to face the challenge of climate change is not market mechanisms, but human beings organized, aware, mobilized and endowed with identity.

18) The reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation REDD must be based on a mechanism of direct compensation from developed countries to developing countries, through a sovereign implementation that ensures broad participation of local communities and indigenous peoples , and a transparent and public monitoring, reporting and verification mechanism.

A UN Environment and Climate Change

19) We need a World Organization for the Environment and Climate Change to which the multilateral commercial and financial organizations are subordinate to promote a different model of development that is friendly to nature and to solve the serious problems of poverty. This organization must have effective monitoring, verification and sanction mechanisms to enforce the present and future agreements.

20) It is essential to structurally transform the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the international economic system as a whole, in order to guarantee fair and complementary trade, financing without conditions for a sustainable development that does not waste natural resources and fossil fuels in the processes of production, trade and transport of products.

In this process of negotiations towards Copenhagen it is essential to guarantee active instances of participation at the national, regional and global levels of all our peoples, in particular of the most affected sectors such as the indigenous peoples who have always promoted the defense of Mother Earth.

Humanity is capable of saving the planet if it recovers the principles of solidarity, complementarity and harmony with nature, as opposed to the rule of competition, profit and the consumerism of natural resources.

La Paz, November 28, 2008

Evo Morales Ayma
President of Bolivia


[1] Due to the “Niña” phenomenon, which occurs more frequently as a result of climate change, Bolivia lost 4% of its GDP in 2007.

[2] Known as the Clean Development Mechanism.

[3] Currently there is only one Adaptation Fund of about 500 million dollars for more than 150 developing countries. According to the UNFCCC Secretariat, 171 billion dollars are required for adaptation and 380 billion dollars for mitigation.

[4] Stern Report

[5] Kyoto Protocol, Art. 3.

[6] The percentage of 1% of GDP has been suggested by the Stern Report and represents less than 700 billion dollars a year.

[7] According to UNCTAD (1998), in some developed countries public financing contributes 40% of the resources for innovation and technology development.

La Paz, November 28, 2008

Video: The In-depth Story Behind a Climate Fraud (May 2022).