After 21 years of Conference of Parties (COP), the Paris COP21 is one of the first times that the U.S. is expected to sign and support the new agreement on the table. That is crucial, and I support the fact that that the U.S. must take action, however, the problem is that the agreement is a bad deal that does not move global forces in the direction necessary to avoid global catastrophe. The agreement is rooted in voluntary, rather than mandatory, emission cuts. It is also deeply rooted in Carbon Markets and false techno fix strategies that protect the interests of the fossil fuel industry.
While the right is attacking the Obama Administration and COP process for slightly acknowledging the crisis of global warming, the reality is that the COP21 Agreement is so deeply embedded in the Carbon Market strategies of the fossil fuel industry that it will provide cover for polluting industries continuing to burn the planet. A saying said is that the COP21 Agreement is like a brick with icing that is trying to be passed off as a piece of cake.
My generation is going to live with the consequence of these compromises that are being made to protect the interests of the fossil fuel companies.
Fossil fuel industries provide false solutions like Carbon Trading/Carbon Markets, “clean” power plants, the Clean Development Mechanism created under the UN Kyoto Protocol, and REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation). These threaten communities, especially Indigenous Peoples, and enhances the burning of the planet. The air we breathe is being privatized, but our negotiators need to know that our lungs are simply not for sale.
In addition, the COP 21 agreement is lifting up fracking and nuclear power as clean energy alternatives. From my neighborhood’s, surrounding neighborhood’s, and neighborhood’s around the world’s experiences in fence line communities living near nuclear power plants and fracking camps – these are not clean energy solutions. I would include fracking and nuclear as key false solutions in the COP21 agreement.
I agree with the Pope, who stated that market based solutions will not work. Genuine climate solutions will require a shift in the over-consumption of energy and resources by the Global North, a commitment to cutting emission at the source, leaving fossil fuels in the ground and deeply investing in a comprehensive transition to renewable energy. The five core demands of the U.S. Delegation and President Obama are to:
1. Establish mandatory emissions cuts at the source
2. Keep fossil fuels in the ground
3. Reject Fracking, Nuclear Power, Carbon Markets, and other false solutions
4. Strengthen human rights and Indigenous Peoples Right’s
5. Support Community-Rooted Solutions; including regional and local Economic structures that support the production of renewable energy