At “COP 19” — the 19th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol — in Warsaw, activists are “demanding action on climate change.” The best coverage of the meeting is on Democracy Now!
For years, activists have been pressing the need for “climate justice,” a call for a worldwide accounting climate change that recognizes that developed countries have contributed most to the problem but most of the negative effects will be experienced in the developing world. Now even the mainstream news media are paying attention, as in this front-page story in the New York Times, “Growing Clamor About Inequities of Climate Crisis.” As the Times story points out”
Although the divide between rich and poor nations has bedeviled international climate talks for two decades, the debate over how to address the disproportionate effects has steadily gained momentum. Poor nations here are pressing for a new effort that goes beyond reducing emissions and adapting to a changing climate.
Despite the compelling moral case to be made, don’t expect quick action. A U.S. official made that clear:
“The fiscal reality of the United States and other developed countries is not going to allow it,” he said. “This is not just a matter of the recent financial crisis. It is structural, based on the huge obligations we face from aging populations and other pressing needs for infrastructure, education, health care and the like. We must and will strive to keep increasing our climate finance, but it is important that all of us see the world as it is.”
Many organizations are focused on these issues, such as the Indigenous Environmental Network, Climate Justice Action and Mobilization for Climate Justice, along with a variety of writers and activists, such as Naomi Klein.