Republican Representative John Sullivan’s made a statement at the Republican’s press conference at COP15. Like the other Republican panelists, Sullivan repeatedly uses the word “scheme” to describe cap and trade. He also describes climate change science as fraudulent, part of a culture of corruption. He blames developing nations’ failure to agree to emission cuts for the climate treaty failure. Video excerpts of his statement:
Text transcription of excerpt:
“I’m John Sullivan, I’m from the state of Oklahoma, and I agree with my colleagues here that the Waxman-Markey bill, the cap and trade scheme, is not going to work. You know like chairman Barton said, it barely got through the house, it’s being bogged down for the reason is our economy is suffering in the United States. Unemployment is very high, people are losing jobs, and if this bill in its current form went into effect, we would lose about four point seven million jobs in the United States of America, and that’s just unacceptable to the American people. Also setting up some kind of scheme to auction off credits with the wall street debacle that’s gone on, it’s just also unacceptable…”
“This conference is very exciting to me, I’ve never been to a world conference and I think it’s exciting to be here, I’ve learned a lot. But you know I hope everyone else will learn something from this. I don’t think anything beneficial is going to come from it, that some kind of treaty will be signed, I don’t think that can happen. Because anything that we do right now has to involve developing nations as well. They have have to be responsible for emissions that they put out, and they’re not wanting to. And right now too, they’re basing it on science that’s fraudulent. There is culture of corruption that’s going through the scientific community that’s not being addressed right now that should be. And we certainly should not be basing any treaty on corrupt data that this culture of corruption is permeated through. So I think that we all should learn from this, go forward back to our respective countries, and come up with different ways to address this issue.”
U.S. Representative (Massachusetts) Edward Markey appeared with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Chairman Harry Waxman, and others at a press conference at the Bella Center in Copenhagen.
Text transcription of Markey’s statement:
“The planet is running a fever, there are no emergency rooms for planets, we must find a way of putting in place the preventative measures that will protect the planet and the people who live on it against the most catastrophic consequences of this dangerously warming planet. That’s why the Speaker has created a select committee on energy independence and global warming a few years ago. That’s why Mr. Waxman and I, working with the Speaker beginning in January of this year once President Obama was sworn in, made it first … legislation to pass through the Congress in June of 2009.”
“But it didn’t really begin there, it began when Speaker Pelosi took over three years ago. So far in the last three years, we have increased the fuel economy standards of vehicles which we will drive in the United States from 25 to 35 miles per gallon by the year 2016. We have changed the direction of our biofuels policy towards billions of gallons of cellulosic fuel. Tough new standards for appliances, for buildings are the role that we have now set for our country. It is comprehensive, it is across the board.”
“Within the Waxman-Markey bill. Mr. Waxman and I, working with the Speaker, the other members of Congress, we worked very hard, we put in the funding for international deforestation efforts, the money for international adaptation efforts, the money that would insure that offset programs, that would insure that across the world the United States would be participating in creating incentives for new ways to deal with the way in which God’s lands are treated. So all of this is part of the legislation, and that legislation makes it possible for us to meet the commitments which Secretary Clinton made today in Copenhagen. And combined with private sector efforts which will also be unleashed. Because much of what we are proposing in the United States will be market based. It is going to be something that creates a technological revolution that will make it possible for us to say to the rest of the world, ‘we want to work with you, we want to partner with you’, because the alternative is unacceptable. Otherwise we will, rather than helping, we will be hurting each other on the planet, and that is something which we cannot contemplate by the year 2050. Our goal is to work with the world in order to make it possible that children will have to look to history books to find that there ever was such a thing as global warming. We thing we can accomplish that if we work together. If every country in the world steps up to accomplish that goal, the United States will do its fair share and Secretary Clinton and the Speaker today reflect the commitment that our country is willing to make.”
This video features Tom Goldtooth speaking to the media while Indigenous People representatives greeted participants at the entryway to the COP15 with ceremonial songs and banners. Here Tom raises questions which challenges a fundamental building block of the cap and trade model, which seeks to curtail carbon emissions by placing a price per ton on carbon emissions. He begins by asking “how can one own the air?”.
Excerpt: “You know, how can one own the air, how can one own the carbon, because whenever you trade anything in the world it’s a form of commodification then it becomes a property right. So that’s a violation of many Indigenous People’s cosmo vision. So you know many of our Indigenous Peoples are asking some serious questions, and even under REDD initiative, Reducing Emissions of Deforestation and Degradation, it’s moving like a fast train, bulldozing over many communities who still don’t know fully about what it’s about, but yet we’re being forced to accept these carbon market solutions, but the question is, will it save the planet at the end of the day, or is it just a mechanism to sort of bring billions of dollars into a market, and billions of dollars into polluters? You know and it allows the polluters of the North to continue to pollute and dump poisons and carbon into the atmosphere and greenwash and try to balance and offset by being able to get cheap carbon credits in the Global South, and that’s one area that we have many concerns, and why rights is the big issue. Rights of Indigenous Peoples have to be recognized, and one of the instruments that we’re pushing forward is the U.N. declaration of the rights of Indigenous Peoples, has to be adopted and incorporated in the political declaration as a statement and any other negotiating texts, you know that insures a mechanism where Indigenous Peoples’ rights at least will be recognized.”
Naomi Klein gave the opening address at the Klima Forum. Unlike the COP15, which had limited access and in fact expelled the majority of NGO representatives half way through the forum, the Klima Forum was open to everyone. Naomi Klein discusses many topics as they relate to climate change, including climate debt, Obama, “Hopenhagen”, and hope. Text transcription excerpts are provided below.
Naomi Klein Part 1
Introduced as a ‘globalization skeptic’, Naomi Klein begins,
“It’s wonderful to be here. I think that word skeptic has been getting a bad reputation lately. Although my friend Johann Hari who’s here had a great piece saying that we shouldn’t call them skeptics, we shouldn’t give them that. We’re all skeptics. We’ve looked at the science, we’re serious about facts. These guys are denialists, they don’t deserve to be called skeptics.”
Further Excerpts from Part 1: “On one level it’s so exciting that the whole world is talking about climate change, and that at the highest levels of power there appears to be some kind of a consensus about the problem. You know, every bus shelter has an advertisement and even the fact that there are these concerts outside, and this is what the world is talking about, and at the it’s all emanating from this city. But then there’s this strange dissonance because we remember that despite the fact that we are all seemingly agreeing – denialists aside – and we have all of this urgency and we’ve been told again and again that this is the last chance to save the earth, and all of this rhetoric, we know that what is being proposed at the Bella Center does not come close to addressing the climate crisis. It’s not on the table. We have to be realistic about that. I think the time for naivite is really over. Just sitting there and hoping and praying for a deal that is not on the table. It’s silly. We know what’s on the table . We know the paltry emission cuts that the Obama administration is talking about – 17% below 2005 levels when science calls for 40% below 1990 levels. We know the levels of funding that they’re talking about for deeply climate affected countries, and they’re insulting. They’re insulting because we in the rich world are the one’s who created this crisis. And on the most basic principle of ‘polluter pays’, or as Colin Powell would like to say before the invasion of Iraq, ‘you broke it you bought it’.”
“This is not about charity. This is not about more aid for the needy in Africa. This is about a crisis that we created through our consumption. 75% of thie historical emissions that created the climate crisis came from 20% of the worlds population in the developed world, in the industrialized world. According to the world bank, hardly a radical source, 75% of the effects of climate change are being felt in the developing world, so there is a direct inverse relationship between cause and effect, between where the crisis was created and where the effects of the crisis are being felt. And then we come here, our governments come here and talk about giving the level of funding that AIG finds you know, loose in the couch, as some sort of a favor to the needy. And this is a conversation that needs to change, this cannot be discussed as some kind of charitable giving.”
Naomi Klein Part 2
Excerpt from Part 2: “But the alternative that I’m finding most inspiring and I think has the most potential to take our movement forward is the idea of climate dept and the fact that the rich world must pay reparations for the creation of the climate crisis. I’ve already talked about those statistics that we know that the rich world is responsible for 75% of the historical emissions and 75% of the effects of those emissions are being felt in the developing world”
Naomi Klein Part 3
Excerpt from Part 3: “So how do you repay a debt like that? Well the position of the Bolivian government, and they have backing from the coalition of least developed countries as well as other countries, is that it’s very clear. You pay this debt in three ways – One: through very deep emission cuts. By creating atmospheric space, freeing up atmospheric space for those countries that have emitted the least and need some of that cheap fuel in order to develop. So it’s not about just splitting the difference the way it’s been formulated here, ‘we’ll cut some, poor countries will cut some’, it’s about rich nations cutting very very deeply in response to this historical debt, the fact that we have taken up so much more of our share of a limited resource. There is a global carbon budget, and we are way over it.”
“The other way you pay a debt is you pay it, you pay it with money, and there’s two areas in which we need to pay it. One is helping countries adapt to the realities of climate change that is already underway. That means responding to droughts, that means building flood walls. That just is the direct response to the way in which the climate is already changing. The world bank estimates that developing countries are facing costs of a hundred billion dollars a year just adapting to current climate change. We can debate those numbers, it’s the world banks so we can assume it is low. A team of uN scientists added what it would cost not just to respond to the reality of climate change, but to leapfrog over fossil fuels and adopt green technologies, green energy, and they put that figure at 500 to 600 billion dollars a year. So it’s a lot, but still, not coming anywhere near the levels of funding that the banks got.”
“So that’s the dept, but what’s exciting about this and why it is really the embodiment of the idea of climate justice, is that we hear a lot about this idea of win-win solutions to climate change – that’s the phrase your constantly hearing from climate entrepreneurs. you know, “we can get rich and save the plaent at the same time”. Well, I think we’re all a little skeptical about that. But this is the real win-win. Because this is the way we get off the carbon path and we tackle the deep inequalities that cleave our world at the same time. We’re talking about a massive transformation…”
“…having gone unpaid, depts for colonial pillage, for slavery. Economists, political scientists have been making the case for years – to no avail – that the case for climate dept is stronger than any of these other historical debts before, and that’s because these 192 countries signed the climate convention in 1992 that recognized the principle of historical responsibility that rich countries, annex one countries have a historical responsibility to cut their emissions and pay the cost of adapting to climate change. So there’s actually a document and there’s a basic principle that the polluter pays, which is a familiar principle, so this is a winnable case.”
Naomi Klein Part 4
Excerpt from Part 4: “What we are witnessing at the Bella Center is an almost unbelievable betrayal – of past promises, like the ones my country [Canada] has made, of past treaties, which have been made a mockery of. And then there is the betrayal that Barack Obama represents, not just a betrayal of his own voters, but of the incredible hope and faith that was placed in him by the whole world. I don’t think Barack Obama is the worst U.S. president by any means, I think he’s is way better than most. But I have certainly never witnessed a U.S. president blow as many once in a generation opportunities as this US President. He has blown so many opportunities in his one year. It is absolutely unforgivable and he needs to hear from the world.”
Nancy Pelosi spoke before the press at the COP 15, making statements which seemed directed more towards shoring up support with the U.S. public than to explaining the U.S. position to the international audience before her. After hearing nearly two weeks of testimony about the projected extreme impacts of climate change, such as hundreds of millions expected to be displaced by rising sea levels, Pelosi’s meandering series of comments seemed out of place and overly U.S. focused. The most focused comment of her press conference is included in this excerpt, where Pelosi says “We come here about one word – it’s about jobs”. For other nations the focus obviously went beyond “jobs”, with island nation Tuvalu and G77 nations discussing climate change in terms of “survival” and calling a weak agreement a “suicide-pact”.
Excerpts from Al Gore’s speech inside the Bella Center at the COP 15:
“The alternative to success is unacceptable.”
“This historic gathering is being attended by leaders from almost every nation in the world, some of them already here, most of them due to arrive in the next forty eight hours. But there is one important part of humankind not present and not formally represented at these negotiations. Even though I have no credentials entitling me to speak for them, I would nevertheless like to advocate their interests. They are the generations that will follow us. The decisions made here in Copenhagen will powerfully determine the shape and the nature of the future that they will inherit from us. They will not care very much about some of the disputes that are raging here in this conference. They will find it difficult to understand how some of these disputes could be allowed to interfere with the result that is essential for the survival of our civilization.”
“More is at stake than many seem to realize. Now that global civilization is interconnected on every continent as never before, we here must reclaim our ability to use the rule of law as an instrument of human redemption. That is our challenge. The future of human civilization is threatened as never before.”
Dr. Helen Caldicott delivered the keynote address at a talk entitled “False Promises of Nuclear Energy” in the Liva Weel room in the Bella Center as part of the COP 15. The event, sponsored by Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF) along with several international partners, also included testimony by panelists Nadezhda Kutepova, Kaisha Atakhanova, Olga Podosenova, and Karin Wurzbacher. Helen Caldicott also spoke later in the day at the conclusion of the large climate march through Copenhagen.
Youth Climate Protestors, during their sit in at the Bella Center in Copenhagen calling for a “Fair, Ambitious, and Legally Binding” COP15 agreement, explain all about FOX News and the Climate Bear Skeptic.
Copenhagen, Dec 14, 2009
After a press conference on the report “Melting snow and ice” commissioned by Al Gore and Norway’s minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre, Bob Corell, who is both on the Task Force and a Scientific Contributer to the report, answered a few more questions. Here he states that due to heat already in the oceans, sea levels will rise, even if all emissions were to be completely cut. The troubling implication is that island nations are going to disappear.