(Last update: 20. 12.)
On this journey, I would like to understand how we can change the COP and UN system and processes. They need to be in line with the Paris agreement and set the political framework for the demand to create a safe pathway to a just world society on a living planet which has not warmed more than 1.5 degree.
Let us see how we can achieve this. Life is short and the planet feverish. We dont accept the political inaction anymore.
2 December, 8.15, Stockholm
I will especially follow the Swiss amd Swedish delegations (having lived my life in both countries and having a “spy” at least in one of the delegations) on the one side, and all my friends and co-rebels of FridaysForFuture and ExtinctionRebellion on the other, supported by many small NGOs as for example “klimataktion” in Sweden. How to change the rules?
2 Dec, 9.16
Swedish countryside. Some dreams are popping up about all delegations getting the mandate of their governments to really change the global rules: banning new fossil infrastructure, helping with renewable grids, funding the just transition, changing and democratizing the financial and economic system… Pop. Somebody wants to see my train ticket.
This dream will not become alive, so we have to act.
2 Dec, Linköping, 10 am
The basic idea which I dont get out of my head is the following: we should create a platform, a global political movement, which everyone can join, standing up for the same basic principles, which are: we consider ourselves as one dependent and interconnected people on one living planet which we are a part of and depend upon. The political rules have to be changed so that they become an expression of this simple idea. The goal of our societies and of pol7tical economy is to help each other and provide the infrastructure for a live in dignity for everyone, covering the needs, without hurting the planetary boundaries (climate, biodiversity etc). And this rapid and drastic transition to near-zero emission societies (in twelve years in richer countries and in fifteen in poorer) must be guided by the principle of non-dominance (in all intersectional aspects) and radical democracy/equality.
There is no place and no political movement to join now, if one wants to stand up for this transformation, especially no one which acts and thinks globally and locally at the same time. So let us build it up. I will use the time at COP to understand how. Maybe, the new movements FFF and XR can be complemented with this idea, using the civil disobedience to push through this new framework and global political attitude.
More about this idea is written here:
The COP-processes could go in this direction but more often tend to put forward the competition between nation/states. This time, a lot of the negotiations are about article 6 in the Paris agreement and the question of how to count for emission-reductions done in a different country (and the market mechanisms of trading these emissions).
Here some info about this topic: https://www.carbonbrief.org/in-depth-q-and-a-how-article-6-carbon-markets-could-make-or-break-the-paris-agreement
2 December, 13.1o, above the Swedish-Danish border
If you would ask a child or any reasonable person what a COP should look like, you would expect something like: well, the grown-ups sit around a table, see the problem of climate and ecological breakdown and decide that the oil, coal and gas has to stay in the ground, all of it basically (because even if “we” produce in total”only” 400 gt co2, and “we” use 50 gt per year now, we cannot be sure that the warming stops at 1.5 degree). This is the intiutive solution because it solves the problem. Let us say, next week on thursday, dec 12 2019, all delegates agree with it, we could go on to the real challenge to build an alternative energy system and economy instead.
That this way – of taking care of the toxic fossils together – is blocked, even in the heads of most world citizens, is in itself grotesque. It mirrors a world order of nationalist governments acting against the dignity and in the end the survival of their or “the” people. We should never close down this pathway.
Oh, following what brave and great people they are, the young ones and old which prepare the big climate strike on Friday, home in Stockholm. Isabelle, Mina, Tindra, Ell, Sofia, Edit, Eira, Morrigan, Melda, Simon, Anton, Edward, Ivan, Helena, Jonas, Andrea, Torbjörn and the rest of you. They need some help to pay the bills for safety and stage equipment…
3 December, Tuesday
Breakfast at T…rainstation Basel.
Coffee and croissants and the daily budget is almost gone. Will be cheap french soup for lunch.
While admiring how the Austrian painted the ceiling of the nighttrain (no joke, see picture), following thoughts came up about the COP and the climate crisis:
There is one dimension missing. Or rather two. One of the children and their future, and one of the historic past and the way how the world order from today developed.
I would like to suggest two pairs of tennis referee chairs in the COP plenary room. One on the left side with a young one whisteling when ever an argument or decision doesnt garantuee a life in dignity on a living planet for the next generations, and one on the right side with an elderly whisteling when crimes and injustices from the past are ignored. And there is the big problem or elefant in the room. COP25 in Madrid is about article 6 and how rich countries can count in emission reductions which they “do” in foreign countries. As my colleague Nathan Thanky says it: it is about rich countries – which get a lot of their wealth by colonising and using the poorer ones – to find solutions how not to reduce the emissions and change their lifestyle amd societies…
That is why the theme for the big school strike now on Friday in Santiago, Madrid and Stockholm (and many other places) is climate and social justice.
Hm, justice. Big word. I am afraid that justice is not enough. We need even more, a kind of global cooperation.
The train is soon leaving Switzerland for France. And not so far away, somebody is arriving on the Portuguese coast which belongs back to Stockholm…
We can not just accept these processes year after year and the governments inactions. This has changed. We find ways to pull the emergency break. But we need to become many more. And we need to unite even more over the borders.
So, the political economy of most governments justifies a social injustice between and within countries, and a destructive relation to nature. This has to change. That is why we need a global movement standing up for the changed principles (see above and Raworth doughnut). Hm, how can we use COP to go on establishing them? The governments won’t suddenly change their basic assumptions. But the COP gives an opportunity to make clear how much we need a global order based upon the voices which dont forget the future or the past. There is no presence without them, only a stressed blink of an eye. And if the governments dont adjust to a sustainable system, we who stand up for it, need to give a platform to everybody globally for doing the same, and stop the destruction. (Or, as a wise sailor once said: “everything has to change.”)
Somewhere in France, 12.39
After having been over 30 hours in a train, one gets a little bit dizzy. And the french TGV-trains dont have any internet-connection (which works).
If anybody wants to follow the plenary discussions live:
Some things are given during the meeting: the big strike with FFF at Friday evening, 6 pm. The alternative summit from Thursday to Monday. Some XR actions during the week, and a lot of meetings and talks with NGOs and other participants on place. I will try to find interesting interview-partners to drive forward the One-people-One-planet-koncept. And present them here.
Windmills at Mont Ventoux…
But back to the idea that the COP should be about all nations agreeing upon letting the coal, gas and oil stay in the ground. There are two ways to think about this. One is just not realistic: that countries “compensate” the states with oil reservoirs for not digging it out. Nobody would do that. That is why the whole COP process is directed towards “mitigation”, towards cutting the emissions instead of focusing directly on the fossils. And as it developed after Copenhagen 09 there is only the way open for every nation to come up with its own numbers for what a fair share of the emissions would be. And, as now everybody knows, this sums up to an amount which correlates to 3 degrees warming instead of 1.5 degree. Basically no country at all puts its math with the emission budget on the table. This is nuts. Because in this way there cant be a discussion and comparison if the reduction targets are in line with Paris and if they are just.
All this said, there is another way to look at the non-possible wa yof focusing directly on the fossils in the ground. Instead of keeping our mindset and framework of nation-states owning their ground and private firms owning fossils as commodities, one could at least imagine a world-society which changes this concepts: what if we start by saying that we are one people on one planet, nobody owning the natural ressources (to use an ugly word), reminding us that we should care for and share what is given to us. This would change everything. It would make the path free to a different conception of citizenship, of the foundation of the UN and so on. The people of this planet have to rise up and declare itself as one, caring together for nature. This pathway has never been tested. Maybe we should start doing it.
Obviously, at the same time we have to stand up and force the governments to plan for just emission cuts of over ten per cent per year in richer countries. Still, there is no single climate action plan in sight which follows this Paris agreement demand. A COP could also be the place where standards for systemic transformative climate action plans are designed. Maybe I can find some hint about such a process…
In the train from Barcelona to Madrid. (Image title: “People in a train station”)
40 hours in the train now. But who am I to complain when others travel in a nutshell over oceans… Good night, everybody, on safe land!
4 December, Madrid metro
Heading to the press conference by ScientistsForFuture at 11 am and FridaysForFuture at 11.30 at the conference center Ifema.
The ScientistsFF present themselves in the “green zone”, the part of the buildings and halls which is open for the public. They talk in the area “youth” which is built together with the one “indigenous people”. The FridaysForFuture press conference is taking place in the halls of the offocial COP negotiations and one can see it here:
For breakfast i read the article which the young climate strikers from Stockholm (and Falun) published together with Right Livelihood in Swedens biggest (?) Newspaper “Aftonbladet”. It is a determined critique of Swedens climate politics. I would add: and which could be applied to the Swiss context as well, and the German and probably to the context of all richer European nations.
Oh, my head is falling down or exploding or both. So many people and places.
First some comments on FfF press conference and talks with the strikers.
Afterwards some comments about maybe (for me) the most important new idea here at COP, a treaty to keep the fossils in the ground, in analogy to the “nuclear treaty”.
And finally some comments on the Swiss and Swedish delegations and their politics.
And at the samte time home in Stockholm our FridaysForFuture young people receive the Right Livelihood award for Greta and them in a ceremony which one can follow here:
The FFF press conference at 11.3o was led by young people from all continents. The COP-process of the last 25 years has failed us, they said. And we dont accept that anymore. We are rising up as a generation making clear that this kind of political inaction cant go on.
Here you can see a part of the speech.
One possibility to change the logic of these COP-meetings would be the following one. Instead of talking about market-mechanisms (article 6) which maybe reduce the emissions maybe in a couple of years, maybe…, the delegations could negogiate a new “treaty” which has one goal: to keep the fossils in the ground, to treat them as “toxic” substances which have to be seen by the world community as such. There are great minds at the COP developing this new idea, using tools which led to the success of the nuclear weapon treaty some years ago, working on different levels, from cities to nations, from grassroot movements to organizations. Obviously (very modest…), this is very similar to the idea sketched above and which I call the One people One planet idea.
But anyway, the emissions have to down, now, drastically. How do the nations and delegations think about this? Every nation has a pavillon here, an own space. Some are enormous like the spanish, some very small like the U.S. which looks more like a toilet, and some are used to give presents. That is why everybody goes to the German place where one gets free cappuccino. The Swiss and Swedish places are quite neutral.
This is maybe the most difficult thing to understand for me: the Swedish and Swiss ministers for climate, Lövin and Sommaruga, are seemingly reasonable people with a genuine intrest to keep the warming of the living planet down. But, they say at the same time that 2045/2050 is a good goal to reach net zero emissions. This is the premise for all negotiations here. This premise is failing the young generation. It has nothing to do with science. It is not to justify. It is an expression of a rich country’s complete neglect of fairness or justice. This is not acceptable. It is outrageous. Even quite conservative scientists like Schellnhuber from the Potsdam climate impact institute say that the world must reach zero emissions around 2040. And obviously this means, according to the equity principle by the Paris agreement that richer states have to reduce faster. The emission budgets are smaller. But Sweden and Switzerland dont even present an emission budget in line with scientific evidence, and therefore no action plan. Sweden has around 370 mton CO2 as budget if one follows the 1.5 degree target. And puts out now, per year, around 40. The emissions dont go down. At all. During year after year of a red green government. They must go down by over ten percent. And these climate ministers sit in tv studios and act as if everything would be all right. It isnt. They are betraying the young ones. The world is heading towards three degree warming or more. This behaviour is not acceptable. But shown by almost everyone which will show up here in Madrid next week when the high level negotiations begin.
That is why everyone should block this ongoing madness, stand up and join the rebellion, as strange as it may sound. And unite behind a new global movement standing up for the principles sketched above.
5 December, COP
Everybody is preparing tomorrows climate strike inside and outside the COP area.
And home in Stockholm, the last preparations are done for the strike in Rinkeby 12.oo also tomorrow Friday where everyone should join.
Searching for information how to organize the actions, we get the information that everything has to be applied for through UN-application forms, even if you want to enter with a small signpost or if you want to strike. As some say, the COP area is during the meeting under UN law, not specifically Spanish law (I have to get that confirmed). Only this information opens up a space to think about the way how “we” normally see or think in terms of territory, citizenship, nature, and the ground we stand on, exclusion, rights and safety, Europes indifference towards the suffering just some miles from the coast… We have to change this. Nature cant be owned, we are one people, and we should create a world order beyond structures of dominance. I think that the climate and ecological breakdown can only be met if we change this framework.
Even if I get more and more sad among these absurdly busy pavilions of all nations with all advertisement and so on, the idea of a meeting of the “united nations” in itself is provoking also good ideas but we have to change the premisses. Let us see who can help getting them into place.
News from German strikers. There are, as in Sweden, a lot of …-ForFuture groups as for example the Scientists- and the ArtistsForFuture. All these grown-up groups created the TogetherForFuture group which is an official association. This can, when the help is being done right, not leading but supporting the young ones, make things easier maybe, maybe not. We in Sweden are still experimenting with these forms of FF-groups and a peopleForFuture connection-group, but they are like in Germany growing fast and in some groups there are more than thousand people organizing themselves. Everybody can join (often via facebook).
As it looks like now, the global young strikers will start striking within COP at 10 am (to be confirmed) tomorrow Friday and join the big march in town at 6 pm. XR has developed the attitude to let the day be FridaysForFutures day and not to go for big actions at the same time.
Soon you can hear here Vega from Sweden, Annika from Germany and Erik from the Netherlands greeting their fellow strikers in Sweden and else where.
From the official negotiations we here (Finnish info) that the article-6-draft text is going at least in the right direction so that there is no double-counting. Still there is nothing clear about the exact formulations and the justice aspects linked to it (and as I said the whole mechanism is problematic or rather completly nuts.)
Sorry for a long break. I had some battery problems. Or my phone. There is a health station in the COP for technical injuries.
Now, the plans for tomorrow are made: at 10 the FridaysForFuture global strikers are striking in the COP. (At 12 the Swedish ones in Stockholm.) At 16 or little later, Greta will give a press conference and than at 18 starts the big strike march through Madrid, starting at the station.
Every day now, the strikers from all continents have a daily meeting, and a lot of other civil society groups want to talk to the young ones. (I will publish the interviews with the strikers during the weekend, technical challenge.)
I met with people from the Philippines, Australia and Sweden to go on discussing the idea of the global political movement. (Some of them are true heroes fighting for human rights for a life time.) It is quite and surprisingly easy to unite behind possible leading principles (zero emissions within ten years in richer countries; ban of new fossil infrastructure worldwide; system change in food/transport/energy-system and so on, and all this in form of a just transition, getting rid of the structures of dominance and counting in historic injustice). We had long talks about what that would mean in every country and w how different this transition will look like, dependent on the way the fossil industry is rooted in society and how one can change working structures. It is extremley intresting to listen to experienced people reasoning about the existing structures of dominance in their countries and regions, and what it means to change it, challenge it. There is a lot of research avaliable, even here at COP, about system change theories and what it means to reach the relevant people, structures, ideologies which are upholding the destructive system now, and how one could reach a real transition. Obviously, you habe to know the details very well.
At the same time, I think that parallel to this very specific processes to for example challenge the foodindustry etc there must be a bigger one on the ideological level, establishing the idea of a one people on one planet society which has stopped the emissions within a very few years (nearer to 10/5 than 25 or 30) globally in the hearts and minds. And to make clear that there can be relations beyond dominance towards each other and towards nature.
Some of these people work on the “treaty” idea which I mentioned before. They follow the idea that we need a global “fossil-treaty” in analogy to the “nuclear weapons proliferation treaty” with its three pillars: 1 ban all new production, 2 close down the existing 3 use the joint forces to build cooperative sustainable projects instead.
It is getting late and the day starts early tomorrow. I hope that all Stockholmians go to Rinkeby at 12 and the Madrilenians to the station at 18. (And all thoughts to the people in Santiago de Chile!)
6 December, Friday
Expectations are in the air, 9 am.
The weather in Madrid looks ok, the weather in Stockholm more like a challenge but when has rain and wind stopped FridaysForFuture? Everyone is needed, on the feet…
In the COP building the strikers are gathering. Every morning at 9 there is a debriefing by YOUNGO, the youngs association within the UN. But today, most will leave for the Friday strike.
The strike within COP has begun. The around fifty strikers from all continents sit there in silence.
How on earth can anyone neglect this and their ongoing statement?
This is what they see.
And here they are:
And the circle is complete.
I hear that there are great speeches at the samte time from the stage in Rinkeby/Stockholm.
Here the Swedish national tv:
The silent strike at the COP went on for 45 minutes. Greta joined and it felt for some minutes like on Mynttorget in Stockholm. Great important time. For a short while. Then, cameras and people behind them turned up, hundreds, and everything got insane.
Afterwards, there were many discussions about how to react to the ongoing conference. Should one take up important themes like the “loss and damage”-negotiations which are so important to get the funding for the affected communities? Or is better to just say how much the governements are failing the people?
Soon I will sort out my impressions of the day. Everything is overwhelming. Halv a million people here in the streets, thousands and thousands of young ones with their posters. Tomorrow more…
7 December, Saturday, 12.30 at COP
In some sense, it was a magical afternoon and evening. Hours and hours walking through the dreamy light of Madrid. Seeing all these people, families, children with their great posters. Talking to Greta, and of course Svante, about their big and small adventures and the days to come now at COP as if we were back on Mynttorget; they are greeting all of you in Stockholm! Half a million people in the streets, in such a peaceful atmosphere, creativity just everywhere. The texts on the posters talking about stopping the climate breakdown, the inactive politicians, global solidarity, the animals to save. (Some more words about the hysterical and dangerous media-behaviour come another day.)
But then: what a privilege, I think, absurd. The bad conscience kicks in, quite hard, walking in the evening sun. First I think, oh no, an uninvited guest, but that doesn’t help.
More thoughts come up. A lot of people wrote about the good and bad side of this, our ability to feel bad conscience, more or less since the start of FridaysForFuture and the school strikes: children provoking bad conscience in grown-ups and if this is good or not. Different people react to it in very different ways. Some react through shutting it down with the price of becoming tensed up, hiding beyond a mask, others through action. (And there are psychological mechanisms behind these reactions, I think, linked to the concept of “authoritarian character”.)
My way of thinking about the global situation and the situation at COP feels more like that: let us get out of this terrible global situation as quick as possible. Some impulse is just a one of reason or compassion, of the evidence that we should take care of another and share what we have got; apologize and compensate for injustice. Maybe there is a selfish aspect in it too, a kind of: saving the world, getting rid of all these unjust structures of dominance (gender, ethnicity, relations to nature, global economic relations) because we or I feel uncomfortable with this situation. When one describes it like this, it becomes a question of moral and ethics, being good and just; which I think Is failing the real dimension of the problem which is a kind of deeper. If one focuses on the psychological, ethical dimension, an interesting description for most of us is the following one comparing it with the cake-choosing situation. If there is only one piece left or a very small one and a bigger, it is polite to take the smaller. I think it is so important not to deny the impulse of taking the bigger one if one has this intuition (but of coure not just to act upon it). There is no need to shame this impulse. Teaching ethics, I always used roleplay where one can live out some situations where one goes against the demands of equity, equality and justice. By playing with these impulses, it is possible to get in a situation where really “meeting as equals” becomes possible, beyond this psychological dimension of greed or goodness becaue we can admit this dimenion in us. Really meeting as equals, not just treating one another nice. And this meeting forces to get rid of structural inequality.
It is not only about being good. Also, our conscience kicks in not to make us jut good, I think. It is something deeper. Seeing all of us as sitting in the same boat with us all having these also sselfish impulses and these disposals. And then, act so that we really create a global situation, economic structures and a logic of relating where we can treat us as equals. Not because of only being good or “not greedy”, but rather because of being “humane” which is something slightly different.
But this last step has the world community never done, led by the ones in power. For such a long time. What is true for the Paris agreement is true for the declaration of the human rights; that every nation agreed, and doesnt live up to it, at all, letting so many people die, starving, or living in hunger and poverty without a roof over one´s head. And that the nationalistic approach (both, of the declaration and the agreement) in itself is a problem because it blurs the real structure of power and dominance.
For me, it was always strange to read about the young generation of FridaysForFuture as morally better (even if it is maybe true). So many politician and journalists wrote about the young ones as if they would speech from a moral superiority to the grown-ups; and sometimes or even often it sounds like that. But for me, the young voices are so strong and so right, because they so directly talk about this humane dimension which is deeper than the moral one. It is not about to pretend to be good, not greedy etc. It is about just to stand up for a shared humanity, and this one is not directed against nature, but including it. Some philosophers around the globe, but not official western thinking, tried to find words for this. (Levinas called it “otherness”, some call it “dignity”; different cultures on this planet have different descriptions and names, I could imagine, or struggles to find words.)
That is why bad conscience is not just a feeling, I would suggest. Or a “learned” attitude. It is more a sign of the fact that we are more than psychological mechanisms and stances, a sign of quite a beautiful and slightly mysterious dimension in us, linking us to each other and nature, “earthlings” which we are.
In the world of the COP-delegations, this dimension and the words for it is not there. In the world of the NGOs and alternative community, it is easy to stop at a discourse only of justice, human rights and moral.
That is why the grassroots movements of XR and especially of FridaysForFuture are so central, and different. They open up for the dimension which I tried to describe now, which is much stronger than the other conceptions.
And seeing this humane dimenion means getting rid of structures and relations of dominance. But how? I have my doubts and sorrows about the effect of these huge marches, even if they maybe are crucial for all change, and beautiful and scary as well. One thing is clear: hundreds of thousands of children living in Madrid have prepared this day, created their posters, having a wonderful evening and growing as human beings in relation to political questions. But I am not sure if it is the best strategy of getting rid of the politics practiced by the governments and to provoke real political change and transformation. It may be one way. But we shouldn’t lose the other ones out of sight. The non-violent direct action of civil disobedience have a good potential to change, I guess. The fact that some children don’t go to school, really challenges the core of the governments, and the blockades of the city centers did so too. Real change needs real action. We have to create good ways of finding these actions so that everyone can join (the critique of XR as a Western project is partly right). And linking them to a global political movement which just stands up for the sketched humane-nes, standing up for zero-emission societies within ten, fifteen years, banning the buidling of new fossil infrastructure, banning fossil investments, creating new economic structures beyond dominance and so on – so that there is a continuity, something which is going on between the strikes, the actions and marches.
Maybe there are people interested in this idea at the “alternative COP-summit” which opens its doors in one hour, for four days, at Madrids university, a place for workshops, discussions, meetings, festivals…
Here, the center of Madrid, metro Tribunal.
And here is the breathtaking program of the alternative summit “cumbre”. If one studies the program, one can find so incredible many grassroot movements and NGOs which work for climate justice and against the ecological breakdown all over the world. Voila: https://cumbresocialclima.net/program/
Sunday, 8 december
The morning consists of a four hour workshop about a new global treaty to keep the coal, oil and gas inte ground with 20 people from all over the world, lawyers, system theorists, activists, and so on. We meet in a old theatre in the middle of Madrid.
Monday, 9 December, 14.30
The morning starts with a press conference by FridaysForFuture in a fully packed huge room called Hall 4 “Mocha”, and followed up by an action outside:
From the official negotiations there is no sign of taking the climate crisis serious. And a famous scientist published an article in “The Guardian” calling geoengeneering a possible solution – which may be the biggest betrayal against this young generation. My impression is that very few people here really want to stop the emissions and to keep the fossils in the ground. Which is strange to say.
But back to the group which works with a global treaty for keeping the fossils in the ground. After the workshop yesterday I am even more convinced.
Obviously this can only be a part of the global political movement which we need. Because talking to a lot of people from Nigeria, Ecuador and other countries, it is so clear that the demand of a zero-emission society and of keeping the fossils in the ground must be complemented by the one to guarantee enough resources for a life in dignity for everyone, a kind of global universal basic income. If you have no energy at all it is of no help if someone tells you to go net zero soon.
There is a new problem linked to this because the green climate fund, which has an own pavilion here, seems not to be a good platform to compensate for injustices and provide the money which is needed in all poorer countries for a just transition. The GCF seems to be more made in the problematic spirit of the emission trading market which is negogiated now in the article-6-discussions.
So, what we need, I would suggest, is the global movement sketched above which unites the zero emission world with a just transition, a non-dominance principle and a new financial global structure to provide this. This sounds impossible to achieve but there are people here who believe in this.
And as Greta said in an interview with DN today, we cant just go on, with smaller changes, but we have to stand up for real change. We need new rules now and new democratic governments which represent and implement them.
The Gap-report published some days ago shows that even the now planned and existing fossil infrastructure is enough to make the life of the young ones to hell.
You find a critical daily analysis of the ongoing COP-negotiations here:
Tuesday, December 10, 8.oo
The big thing everyone talks about now in the middle of the second week is that the US delegation not only backs off from the Paris agreement but still actively disrupts any progress in the negotiations.
In half an hour Greta will be part of her “unite behind science”-session with top IPCC-scientists highlighting the dimensions of the climate and ecological crisis, hall 4.
There were hundreds of people listening including many big media companies. Even high-level scientists speech not very often in a language which transports the severity of the situation even if they try to.
Tomorrow will be the last day at COP/Madrid for me. Everyone is curious about Gretas speech tomorrow morning at around 9 am in the plenary room. And FridaysForFuture is planing a bigger action for tomorrow too. The NGOs are so furious about the non-process in the negogiations that they themselves plan a statement/action for tonight. The word “debadging” is often used now because the UN can withdraw your license/badge to visit the COP if you engage in an action, often with the consequence that your whole organization loses all its badges.
Soon it is time to sum up the last ten days and look forward. There will be plenty of time in probably a bus during the next three days because the french train workers are on strike and no one gets through France as planned.
Wednesday, December 11, 8.14
This is the entrance to the plenary room.
Yes, it is our right as people and living in democracies to stand up and stop the governments and to create the change the planet and we need. We dont have to wait to the next elections. We can manifest what we see as reasonable and garantueeing a life in dignity now, every day. Non violent but effective to stop the ongoing destruction.
I cant believe that this one hour was possible within the COPs biggest plenary room full with delegates and media. First Johan Rockströms speech about the scientific facts and the desastrous situation which our planet and humanity is in (and this time without absurd hints to geoengeneering). Gretas speech about the democratic rebellion we need now. Hildas speech about the situation in Africa and in the end, hundred FridaysForFuture young people from literally all continents gatecrash the stage and make clear that this generation wont accept the inaction by the ones in the audience.
Everybody sais, including the most important IPCC-scenarios that the emission curve has to bend down in 2020, in one month. There is no sign that the politicians of the world united here in Madrid pushed or push forward the rules, the new standards which would make this possible. They fail. It is such a total failure that their politics is a threat to humankind. We all have to stop this. This is what 2020 is about. We know how the new rules should look like.
Here is the speech (Greta from min. 30).
Such an action by FFF in the morning session in the UN plenary room needs a lot of preparation.
The 70 young ones from over 15 countries worked every day in one of the meeting rooms in hall 9. Hall 9 is an enormous hall within the COP-buildings which is full of professional meeting rooms, with microphones at every place.
First they needed to make reservations for the room, than to unite behind and action plan; to understand how to get into the plenary room; develop ideas what to do on stage and what to say or chant (of course they discussed also other aspects of the FFF movement.) And then you need to be brave and dare to stand suddenly up, to pass by the security which tries to protect the scene, and dare to start to chant even if it sounds not so brilliant right in the beginning – and this in front of 1000 ministers and delegates.
Now, around 5pm, the UN asked the police to ban for the first time ever the whole civil society present in the hall. Which means that the NGO people (very different networks like CAN, the climate action network) were driven out of the COP-buildings and debadged. There has something fundamental to be changed if the governments and their international organisation put the people out of the rooms instead of listening to them. As Greta sais, democracy means to stand up for the democratic values every day, not only on election days. All of us have to take this serious.
As a reaction to these events, FFF declared the Friday now (december 13) to a global action day. It should express that the young ones and the whole civil society reacts strongly against this act by the COP. And the day should be a sign against the failing UN-process.
We cannot go on observing this kind of failing political process. We have to interfere and stand up for a different kind of democracy.
By the way, the double-counting mechanism is still on the table, mainly because of Brasils government. If there is no clear solution on the table of the negotiations at the end of the week, this would be devastating for the emission reduction process. And even without this double-counting mechanism the whole idea of the global market is an expression of a Western unwillingness to change the rules. We have to stand up for a process of stopping the emissions by getting new standards into place which provoke a system change within every single sector, from agriculture to energy.
Thursday, December 12, 10.55
Somewhere near Girona.
We all are still thinking about how to react to yesterdays banning action. After pressure, the civil society is aloud back in the COP space today.
Greta is heading to Turin for the Friday strike tomorrow, I am on my way to Switzerland for christmas time, following the last two days of the UN meeting in Madrid from a bus seat. The trains still are affected by the strike of their drivers, and so no option to get through France. So it is a bus. I can see now the Pyrenees, the sky very high above us, clouded but friendly. Everybody is asleep or in the phone-space.
Today and tomorrow I try to get down some thoughts about democracy and about the logic of the fossil society which will be short digressions.
Just now, the feeling is that these young ones and their collective intelligence and determination are the best thing which happened to the planet during the last 30 years.
But now, just a short description how the negotiation process is linked (or not) to the people from civil society, the specialists of greenpeace, germanwatch and so on.
Just now, one important topic at the negotiations is the worldwide definition of what counts as a green investment. A lot of new mechanisms and financing, for example through the green climate fund, are linked to the qualification label as “green”. So the politically institutionalized world community, the delegations, need to agree upon a definition of the green and sustainable economy which everyone wants. (As said before, the whole framing of this process is more than problematic but I go with it just here to describe a specific process.) The German minister for economy, Altmaier, wants now suddenly to have such a broad definition so that obviously greenwahing projects (especially gas-involving) would become a part of the green transition. The NGOs present here, in a first step are able to see this manoeuver (by reading new drafts of the final texts and by informantion from within the delegations). And they then use their contacts or direct pressure through media to influence the position of a minister or delegation. In this sense, there is a hidden negotiation process going on between the delegations and civil society. This is one reason why the presence of the NGOs is important. On the other side, all this is also blurring the whole story. I think sometimes it is better not to try to make something stupid a little less stupid, but to critize it and build up opinion for a different framework.
FFF and XR as grassroots movements stopped this form of “complicity” of all established NGOs with the official negotiations and opened up a democratic space where it is possible to name the foundations which we need.
Near Avignon, 17.oo.
Tomorrow is the last day of my journey, the last day of COP and a Fridays-strike day. But I will continue some more days to sum up the impressions and to look forward.
And here they are again:
Friday, December 13, 10.20
The last day of the COP-meeting.
The voices in the french radio talk about the UK election and the majority for the Tories. Depressed voices on twitter. The other news are about the EU leaders celebrating the 2050 “green deal”. This deal sais basically only one clear thing: the richest part of the world will go on burning fossil fuels and warming the ecosystems in more than 30 years. Net zero emissions means: counting in already now non-existing negative emission technology. The only thing which counts are real emission reductions. If you say: net zero 2050, you could still ignore aviation, shipping, imported emissions and so on. What we need now, what a responsible politican would do, is to present laws which guarantee a ten percent emission reduction every year, in the country of this politician, not else where, and a climate action plan how this can go on in ten more years with more than 10 percent real emission reductions every year.
To achieve this, we need “holistic solutions” (Greta), and these solutions should have been the topic of the COP. But they havent.
Today is Friday. In a lot of German and Swiss cities, the children started one year ago leaving their schools and joing the climate strike, and will have some sort of sad-anniversary celebrations.
For the COP, there are big plans for the strike actions. The negotiations in the plenary room go into the final round. Still, the double-counting is on the table, nightmare, and the financing for the “loss and damage” can become an injust nightmare as well, for the ones most affected by the climate crisis.
Finally passing the French-Swiss border.
At 3.3o and 4 pm, there will be new statements and actions by FFF within the COP-spaces.
Back to the quest for a global political movement. I met hundreds of strikers and grassroots activists from all over the world, as well as NGO specialists. There is a common desire, and an astonishing unity: first, we have to go on spreading understanding and knowledge about the climate and ecological crisis, especially the (non existing) emission budgets and the concept of equity and fair shares. Second there must be a bigger pressure for political change, now, not only every four years. Democracy happens every day. If a gov goes against what scientista say is the foubdation for a human life in dignity, we have to act, with determination, in acts of civil disobedience.
For this to happen there is a need of a “middle ground”-picture of the change we need (which is slightly more specific than the reminder of the Paris agreement but not as specific as a party program). Actions and blockades can be linked and organized around the new united movement of the one people on this one planet standing up for the new rules. And every government can be questioned if they are not in line with these principles. Even parties can be measured in this way. So that it is possible for the people to stand up and unite behind the systemic change we need.
One central idea linked to these new rules is the one about a global treaty, a treaty which is similar to the nuclear weapons non-profileration treaty and guarantees that the fossil fuels stay in the ground.
We have to stop the emissions and we have to stop the extraction of the fossil fuels. Both. And we have to do it in a way which is linked to a just transition.
Saturday, December 14
The COP meeting should have come to a result already yesterday evening, but the negogiations are still going on. Everything seems still be on the table: the double-counting, the problems with the financing of “loss and damage” and so on. Here is the high-level plenary meeting, Saturday noon:
Here some pictures and tweets from the protest actions by FridaysForFuture and the civil society within COP from yesterday.
And here is Hildas speech:
The negogiations are still heading towards a nightmare for the young ones and the living planet. Now, the formulations about article 6 are full of loopholes, but the even more desastrous part is the text about the national emission reduction ambitions which suddenly not even mentions higher ambitions.
Within the world od NGOs and civil society, there is a discussion coming up whether it is meaningful just to protest next year in Glasgow at COP26 or if one should try to block the entire COP or some of its days. I will go into a reasoning about the strategy for the next year here soon.
The final meeting of the COP delegations will begin at 22 tonight. Everyone can follow it here live:
Sunday, December 15, 11.oo
It is over. Halv an hour ago, Brasil agreed even to the paragraphs on oceans and land, and so there is a final agreement. I can just say that all of us have to stand up and use the unity within all our movements. The world is on fire and the governments dont act reasonably.
See you every Friday in front of the parliament, or wherever you can strike.