Massive Rally Against Climate Injustice
NEW DELHI -- More than five thousand people marched under the banner of the India Climate Justice Forum (ICJF) from the Gandhi Samadhi, Rajghat to protest against climate injustice. The rallyists, who included the Mahila Jagriti Samiti, Delhi, and several cycle-rickshaw unions, the National Alliance of People's Movements and the National Fish Worker's Forum highlighted the serious deficiencies in the UN conference on climate change being held in New Delhi. Participants belonged to communities affected by climate change from 17 states including Kerala, Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Maharastra. Activists from Malayasia, South Africa, Ghana, Uruguay, United Kingdom, United States and Brazil also joined in the march. The rally culminated at Jantar Mantar, with a colorful and spirited cultural program. Thousands of cycle-rickshaws made their presence felt in New Delhi area, where they are usually prohibited from plying.
The recently concluded two-day Climate Justice Summit (26-27 Oct) was designed to put a human face to the issue of climate change by providing a platform for climate change impacted communities from around the world. That the climate crisis is an urgent issue is apparent from the starvation deaths of over 10 children in Rajasthan this month due to drought. "The biggest injustice of climate change is that those least responsible for creating the problem are the hardest hit by climate change. And they have also been left out of the negotiations to solve the climate crisis," said Amit Srivastava of ICJF.
"The negotiations to solve the climate change crisis have been hijacked by corporations and industrialized nations, especially the US. These meetings resemble a trade meeting to push globalization over developing countries rather than a meeting to address the genuine needs of people," said Medha Patkar, national coordinator of the National Alliance of People's Movements, one of the ICJF constituents. Just 122 corporations in the world account for over 80% of all CO2 emissions. Oil produced by just four companies -- Shell, Exxon-Mobil, BP-Amoco-Arco, and Chevron-Texaco -- accounts for nearly 10% of all carbon emissions.
"We are in a situation where most of the action to prevent climate change needs to happen in the North due to their over-consumption. On the other hand, the people who need to prepare most for the impacts are in the developing world. No equitable solution to climate change will be possible without both of these things," said Yin Shao Loong of Malaysia-based Third World Network, part of the international Climate Justice Forum.
Following discussions at the Climate Justice Summit, representatives of the poor and the marginalized of the world, representing fishworkers, farmers, Indigenous Peoples, Dalits and the youth, resolved to actively build a movement from the communities that will address the issue of climate change from a human rights, social justice and labour perspective. The event culminated in a demonstration at the Vigyan Bhawan (the venue of the UNFCC) and the release of the Delhi Declaration which states, "We affirm that climate change is a human rights issue -- it affects our livelihoods, our health, our children and out natural resources. We will build alliances across states and borders to oppose climate change inducing patterns and advocate for and practice sustainable development. We reject the market based principles that guide the current negotiations to solve the climate crisis: Our World is Not for Sale!"