COP21: “Fumata bianca, habemus papam”?


Last Sunday, newspapers opened their editions with a message of hope: there has been a binding agreement to limit the raise of Earth’s temperature to 2ºC. In every interview and article, it is justified that this was the best agreement possible. But without being catastrophic, does“the best agreement possible” suffice in order to stop climate change?
Most agree that this deal is good as a basis to start working with more ambitious proposals, but critical voices coming from the climate justice movement, haven’t shut up.

The main reason of this optimism is the binding nature of the deal: it allows justice courts to condemn those states that don’t reach the CO2 goals; but which goals? Only those that every state decides to set. This formula also leaves a wide margin to the states to choose the measures that they should implement, which are neither explicitly stated in the agreement.

For too much time we have accepted the argument that a bad deal is better than a no deal. The climate change is here, and it has already produced thousands of victims among those communities who ironically are not responsible for it. We cannot claim that climate change mitigation is a responsibility for everyone when the company Shell has emitted more tones of CO2 in the air than all the South-African countries together. We cannot understand climate change mitigation without global justice. Neo-colonial states are the main responsible for the victims of climate change, either human or from other species, and these countries are the ones that have to pay for the reparations.

One again, indigenous peoples of all around the world are the first affected by this “climate crime”. Those marginalized, despised, and silenced indigenous communities from the Amazon, the Pacific Islands, or the North Pole, are paying for what the colonialist states have done, and the costs are rising day after day. Unfortunately, these communities have been invited to the COP21 without voice or vote, to show “what has the bad Western done to these poor Indians” in a -for many- ridiculous image-washing strategy.

Despite having reached a binding agreement, more or less everything remains the same: Earth continues rotating and the climate changing, indigenous will continue paying the consequences of neo-colonial states’policies without having a voice to be taken into account. The only certainty is that we will have to foster our struggles at home. Thousands of demonstrators challenged the emergency state last Saturday in Paris. Let’s challenge now our governments, let’s boost a bottom up movement for climate justice.

Max Zañartu/Vicepresident of EFAy