Acts of Protest Can Bring Focus to Oil Lobby

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Today, as Democracy Now! went to broadcast from the climate talks in Poland, a piece of inspirational news that built on the tails of positive news from the talks yesterday. Here’s the video, although the gist of what it covers is addressed in the following paragraphs:

According to RTCC.org, the website of climate change web-newsgroup Responding to Climate Change:
“Greenpeace, Oxfam, WWF, Actionaid, Friends of the Earth, the International Trade Union Confederation and campaign group 350.org will all leave at 2pm local time.”

“Talks like these amount to nothing if countries refuse to come to them and negotiate in good faith or worse, try to drag the process backwards,” the WWF’s Sam Smith said in a statement.
This is the first time in 19 years of climate talks that something like this has happened.
Why? Certainly, the need for action on climate change is more pressing with each passing year, and the recent tragedy of Typhoon Haiyan only serves to amplify that need. But it seems there’s another reason: increased opposition from wealthier countries––or at least a continuance of the status quo by those countries while they’ve publicly professed to act (which essentially amounts to the same thing).

Amy Goodman wrote in a column for Truthdig thatthis year’s meeting has a new feature: corporate sponsorship.” 

She quotes Pescoe Sabido, a worker for the Corporate Europe Observatory, which published the pamphlet “The COP 19 Guide to Corporate Lobbying: Climate Crooks and the Polish Government’s Partners in Crime.”

“This is perhaps the most corporate climate talks we have ever experienced,” he told Goodman. Admittedly, there has been corporate influence in past years, according to Sabido, but “what’s different this time is the level of institutionalization, the degree to which the Polish government and the U.N., the UNFCCC [United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change], have welcomed this with open arms and have actively encouraged it.”

One particularly ironic result of the vast array of support the conference received from the oil lobby was the emblazoning of the LOTOS Group logo (the second-largest Polish petroleum corporation) on the 11,000 tote bags handed out there.

Yesterday, 133 developing nations with the support of China walked out of talks at the conference related specifically to “loss and damage” compensation from wealthier countries to poorer countries for climate change damage already incurred. The thinking goes that the wealthy countries who have primarily caused the climate crisis should be the ones to pay for the effects. The wealthy countries were attempting to push any discussion of loss and damage down the road until 2015.

While these successive walkouts have received little mainstream coverage (Hello, New York Times?) they have received more coverage than the talks did before the walkout, and really are the only logical way for these NGOs and developing countries to respond. Developed countries know their GDPs will suffer from legitimate climate change action, and are willing to march us further on down the path of self-destruction in order to preserve economic gain as a result.

As in all forms of social change, from the most micro-level, to this macro, intercontinental level, when the system is so rigged against you, you’ve got to band together in solidarity, and demand that your voice be heard.

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Russel Brand on Revolution

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The evidence continue to emerge that my only option for sanity may be to continue living vicariously through Russell Brand, as he continues his hilarious bashing of the mainstream media and our broken political system.

“I don’t get my authority from this preexisting paradigm which is quite narrow and only serves a few people,” Russell gleefully proclaims in this interview. “I look elsewhere for alternatives that might be of service to humanity.”