COP-15 | COPENHAGEN - Position statement by EcoLabs

The deal on the table in Copenhagen will not solve the problems with climate change primarily because it still relies on the carbon trading as the main mechanism to reduce emissions. Carbon trading has not worked since Kyoto and is unlikely to work now. Global carbon emissions have increased by 40% since 1990 and we are no closer to reducing greenhouse gas emissions than we were when negotiations began fifteen years ago. Emissions continue to rise at ever faster rates (including emissions in the UK if the embedded emissions in the products we buy from abroad are included in calculations). Solutions on the table are unjust and are unlikely to reduce net emissions.

Why COP-15 will not solve the problems with climate change...

1. The climate crisis demonstrates that it’s impossible to have infinite growth on a finite planet. The Sustainable Development Commission's report Prosperity without Growth describes how 'perpetual economic growth is totally at odds with our scientific knowledge about the finite resource base and the fragile ecology on which we depend for survival'. The negotiations at Copenhagen do not address this dilemma.

2. The climate talks put corporate profits before the needs of people and the atmosphere. The market based solutions being pushed in the UN Climate talks lead to land grabbing and more inequity. False solutions like carbon trading will not solve the climate crisis.

3. We need systems change not climate change. We need a deeper analysis of the problems and more support for communities developing solutions.  

EcoLabs recommends:

1. Government policy must start to reflect the recommendations of its own Sustainable Development Commission and start a process of dealing with the contractions between endless economic growth and a finite ecological system. New models of prosperity are urgently required.

2. Progressive policy measures such as Contraction and Convergence or those described in Kyoto2 must become part of a new framework.

3. Local communities in transition are in need a much greater level of support and cooperation. £10m has been found for 20 communities in the UK to pioneer the Low Carbon Communities Challenge. Lets put this in context; the refurbishment of Brixton Central Square costs £9.5m. Is £10m, the amount it cost to give Brixton a new square, an adequate amount to help one - let alone twenty communities stop catastrophic climate change? What about the thousands of communities that are not part of the chosen fortunate twenty? The level of support so far is truly pathetic in light of the scale of the problem.

4. A massive communication and social learning project is necessary. The UK advertising industry spends over £7B a year and most of this is advertising is based around promoting consumption. The design industry is an important leverage point in the transformation of our economic and social systems towards sustainability. The design industry must quickly become ecologically literate to be enabled to design a transition to true sustainability. Communication designers can help inform the necessary shifts.

If we can't look to government to solve climate change we must take the lead in pioneering solutions and alternative ways of living well within planetary limits. Fortunately, thanks to the hard work of thousands of  environmental activists there is a global movement of initiatives all working to build a resilient low carbon future. When governments start to support people, not profitable carbon trading schemes - we will have the beginnings of an effective climate treaty.

www.climateradio.org | www.pirc.info | www.thecornerhouse.org.uk | www.climatecamp.org.uk