STOP CLIMATE CRIMES!
We are at a crossroads. We do not want to be compelled to survive in a world that has been made barely livable for us. From South Pacific Islands to the shores of Louisiana, from the Maldives to the Sahel, from Greenland to the Alps, the daily lives of millions of us are already being disrupted by the consequences of climate change. Through ocean acidification, the submersion of South Pacific Islands, forced migration in the Indian Subcontinent and Africa, frequent storms and hurricanes, the current ecocide affects all species and ecosystems, threatening the rights of future generations. And we are not equally impacted by climate change: Indigenous and peasant communities, poor communities in the global South and in the global North are at the frontlines and most affected by these and other impacts of climate disruption.
We are not under any illusions. For more than 20 years, governments have been meeting, yet greenhouse gas emissions have not decreased and the climate keeps changing. The forces of inertia and obstruction prevail, even as scientific warnings become ever more dire.
This comes as no surprise. Decades of liberalization of trade and investments have undermined the capacity of states to confront the climate crisis. At every stage powerful forces – fossil fuel corporations, agro-business companies, financial institutions, dogmatic economists, skeptics and deniers, and governments in the thrall of these interests – stand in the way or promote false solutions. Ninety companies are responsible for two-thirds of recorded greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Genuine responses to climate change threatens their power and wealth, threatens free market ideology, and threatens the structures and subsidies that support and underwrite them.
We know that global corporations and governments will not give up the profits they reap through the extraction of coal, gas and oil reserves; and through global fossil fuel-based industrial agriculture. Our continuing ability to act, think, love, care, work, create, produce, contemplate, struggle, however, demands that we force them to. To be able to continue to thrive as communities, individuals and citizens, we all must strive for change. Our common humanity and the Earth demand it.
We are confident in our capacity to stop climate crimes. In the past, determined women and men have resisted and overcome the crimes of slavery, totalitarianism, colonialism or apartheid. They decided to fight for justice and solidarity and knew no one would do it for them. Climate change is a similar challenge, and we are nurturing a similar uprising.
We are working to change everything. We can open the way to a more livable future, and our actions are much more powerful than we think. Around the world, our communities are fighting against the real drivers of the climate crisis, protecting territories, working to reduce their emissions, building their resilience, achieving food autonomy through small scale ecological farming, etc.
On the eve of the UN Climate Conference to be held in Paris-Le Bourget, we declare our determination to keep fossil fuels in the ground. This is the only way forward.
Concretely, governments have to end subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, and to freeze fossil fuel extraction by leaving untouched 80% of all existing fossil fuel reserves.
We know that this implies a great historical shift. We will not wait for states to make it happen. Slavery and apartheid did not end because states decided to abolish them. Mass mobilisations left political leaders no other choice.
The situation today is precarious. We have, however, a unique opportunity to reinvigorate democracy, to dismantle the dominance of corporate political power, to transform radically our modes of production and consumption. Ending the era of fossil fuels is one important step towards the fair and sustainable society we need.
We will not waste this opportunity, in Paris or elsewhere, today or tomorrow.
Add your signature to this Manifesto at 350.org or at Attac
Agnès Sinaï (Institut Momentum), Alberto Acosta (économiste), Alex Randall (Climate Outreach), Amy Dahan (Historienne des Sciences), Bernard Guri (Centre for Indigenous Knowledge & Organisational Development), Bill McKibben (fondateur de 350.org), Boaventura de Sousa Santos (sociologue), Catherine Larrère (philosophe), Christophe Bonneuil (historien), Cindy Wiesner (Coordinator of Grassroots, Global Justice Alliance, USA), Claire Nouvian (Bloom), Claude Lorius (glaciologue), Clive Hamilton (philosophe), David Graeber (anthropologue), Desmond Tutu (archevêque émérite), Dominique Bourg (philosophe), Dominique Méda (sociologue), Edgardo Lander (sociologue), Eduardo Viveiros de Castro (anthropologue), Emilie Hache (philosophe), Erri de Luca (écrivain), Esperanza Martinez (ancienne ministre de la Santé publique du Paraguay), Esther Vivas (chercheure et militante altermondialiste), François Gemenne (politiste), Frank Murazumi (Amis de la Terre Ouganda), Gaël Giraud (économiste), Geneviève Azam (économiste), George Monbiot (journaliste), Gerry Arrances (militant anti-charbon), Gilles Boeuf (président du MNHN), Gilles Clément (paysagiste), Gilles-Éric Séralini Godwin Ojo (Amis de la Terre, Nigeria), Gus Massiah (Cedetim), Guy Aurenche (président du CCFD), Isabelle Frémeaux (Laboratoire des Imaginaires Insurrectionnels), Isabelle Stengers (philosophe), Jacques Testart (biologiste), Jean-Baptiste Fressoz (historien), Jean-Pierre Dupuy (philosophe), Jean Gadrey (économiste), Jeanne Planche (Attac France), John Holloway (sociologue et philosophe), Joan Martinez Alier (économiste), John Jordan (Laboratoire des Imaginaires Insurrectionnels), Jon Palais (Bizi !), Kaddour Hadadi (musicien et chanteur, HK et les Saltimbanks), Kevin Smith (Liberate Tate), Kumi Naidoo (Greenpeace International), Larry Lohmann (The Corner House), Lech Kowalski (réalisateur), Leonardo Boff (théologien), Lidy Nacpil (Jubilee South), Mamadou Goïta (Institut de recherche et de promotion des alternatives au développement, Mali), Louise Hazan (350.org), Marc Dufumier (agronome), Marc Luyckx Ghisi (écrivain), Marc Robert (chimiste), Marie-Monique Robin (journaliste), Maude Barlow (Food & Water Watch), Maxime Combes (économiste, membre d’Attac), Naomi Klein (essayiste), Michael Hardt (philosophe), Michael Löwy (sociologue), Mike Davis (historien et sociologue), Noam Chomsky (linguiste et philosophe), Nick Hildyard (The Corner House), Nicolas Haeringer (350.org), Nnimmo Bassey (Oil Watch International), Noble Wadzah (Oil Watch Afrique), Olivier Bétourné (éditeur), Olivier de Schutter (juriste), Pablo Servigne (collapsologue), Pablo Solon (ancien ambassadeur de la Bolivie), Pat Mooney (ETC Group), Patrick Chamoiseau (écrivain), Patrick Viveret (philosophe), Paul Lannoye (ancien député européen), Philippe Bihouix (ingénieur), Philippe Desbrosses (Intelligence Verte), Philippe Descola (anthropologue), Pierre Rabhi (agronome et penseur de l’écologie), Pierre-Henri Gouyon (écologue), Priscilla Achakpa (Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, Nigéria), Razmig Keucheyan (sociologue), Rebecca Foon (musicienne), Roger Cox (avocat), Saskia Sassen (sociologue), Serge Latouche (économiste), Soumya Dutta (Alliance nationale des mouvements anti-nucléaires, Inde), Stefan C. Aykut (politiste), Susan George (économiste), Swoon (artiste), Thomas Coutrot (économiste, porte-parole d’Attac), Tom Kucharz (Ecologistas en Accion, Espagne), Tony Clarke (International Forum on Globalization), Txetx Etcheverry (Alternatiba), Valérie Cabannes (End Ecocide), Valérie Masson-Delmotte (climatologue), Vandana Shiva (physcienne et écologiste), Vincent Devictor (écologue), Vivienne Westwood (styliste), Yeb Saño (ancien ambassadeur des Philippines pour le climat), Yvonne Yanez (Oil Watch).
In my opinion this appeal is just another indication of long the climate movement still has to go before it speaks to the realities of everyday life for most people on the earth.
What would be the immediate effect if fossil fuel subsidies where stopped – for example in Venezuela, where the subsidy rate is 92 % – it would hit working people very hard. Does that mean that they should not be stopped ASAP? No – but the subsidies should be reallocated to other basic necessities and/or to electric cars/scooters/bicycles and public transport. Otherwise – just to cut the subsidies is to hand significant part of the working class to right wing populists who do not care about the climate.
Of course such an appeal cannot go into details, but it *must* indicate that the subscribers are aware of this problem. Indicate that subsidies must be stopped in a socially *progressive* way.
What would happen it 80 % of the fossil fuel was kept in the ground? There would be a massive direct increase in the price of petrol and coal – and indirectly increasing the prices of all products dependent on fossil fuel for their production and distribution.
Again – without any compensation/redistribution mechanism – this price increase is clearly just the same as an regressive tax – which the left always is fighting against.
And we are not talking marginal, incremental price increases here, this is order of magnitude. With only one 20 % pre of the usual supply the price of petrol will roughly be five time higher – before speculation and hoarding sets in.
That the appeal does not mention this – and not with one sentence indicates that some socially just redistribution is need – that’s again a recipe for right wing populism gaining a massive influence in the working class.
Does there excist concrete proposals for increasing fossil fuel prices in a socially just way? Yes it does.
On a national level James Hansen’s “carbon fee and dividend” is an obvious candidate for a socially just carbon tax.
On the international level WWF and Oxfam has proposed to tax fossil fuel used in internastional shipping (https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/bn-out-of-the-bunker-050911-en.pdf) – redistributing the tax revenue to the global south. This proposal should be radicalised by increasing the tax by one dollar a month, starting at 25 USD per ton CO2, making it econmically irrational to transport to much goods all over the world – stimulating local/national production.
The price increase of 25 USD would not have any significant effect on f.ex imported food, but would raise an enormous sum of money.
International aviation fuel should be taxed in the same way.
The appeal does not point to these – or *any* other mechanism for keeping 80 % of the fossil fuel in the ground. Which makes is just another act of will – and not a guide to real action. It is indicative that no well-know trade-unionist has signed the appeal, no party leader of any mass party.
Finally – the proven oil and gas reserves is typically in non-democratic countries (Saudi Arabia, Russia). But even in democratic countries it is very difficult to get people to stop producing oil&gas – many jobs and large export incomes comes from the oil&gas sector.
Isn’t it obvious that the people of Saudi-Arabia, Venezuela, Nigeria has no short or medium term interest in leaving fossil fuel in the ground? It is when the rest of us stop buying fossil fuel that it will happen.
But why should we do that – as long as they are as cheap as they are – and the appeal does not with one word indicate that the price should be increased. On the contrary – the obvious price increase of reducing the supply drastically is not mentioned.
To me it seems that the appeal sees no major consequences of keeping 80 % in the ground which are worth mentioning – and that’s just not good enough any longer.
We must become more concrete and closer to the every day problems that an energy transition will create.