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Naomi Klein was in fine form as she opened the Klimaforum09 counter-conference in Copenhagen Monday night 7/12. She gave a keynote opening speech to open the summit of ecological NGO?s that bills itself as The People?s Climate Summit. The Canadian author is perhaps best known for her books No Logo and The Shock Doctrine, the latter book based in no small part on her experiences living in Argentina during the crisis of 2001-2002. She shared the stage with Nnimmo Bassey from Nigeria, Chair of Friends Of the Earth International, and Henry Saragih from Indonesia general coordinator for La Via Campesina. Ms. Klein told us that she is ?not an expert on climate change? however she added with gross understatement that she ?knows a little bit about global corporations?.
Referring to the climate, Ms. Klein explained that everyone at Kilmaforum09 was there ?fighting to protect something that is too important to be left to the market?. By the market Ms. Klein was referring to plans to expand the global market in carbon credits to enable those countries who can afford to do so to continue to pollute in greenhouse gasses.
Referring to US plans to extend the global trade in carbon credits Ms. Klein rejected the idea of exporting restrictions from the developed world to the developing world by buying up carbon credits. This puts Ms. Klein firmly in the camp of the eminent NASA climate scientist James Hansen, the director of NASA?s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the first scientist to warn the US Congress about global warming. Hansen has been quoted recently saying that no deal in Copenhagen is better than a bad deal that will not work.
But Ms. Klein was not saying that there would be no deal in Copenhagen, quite the contrary. ?[US President] Obama would not be coming if he did not think that there was going to be a deal? she told the audience. ?These meetings have their own momentum?, Ms. Klein added, as she believes that negotiators from the developed world would strong-arm even the African block into agreement. The Africans walked out of the last meeting on Climate Change in Barcelona because they thought that developed countries were not putting a reasonable offer on the table. The African continent is experiencing serious problems due to Climate change including expansion of deserts like the Sahara. Ms. Klein felt that even Africa would be coerced into signing on to a bad deal by tough negotiating tactics.
Ms. Klein closed her speech referring to the tactics of social groups outside of the official United Nations (UNFCCC) government negotiations in the Bella Center. Referring to tactics that were used ten years ago in Seattle at the WTO conference in 1999, Ms. Klein said ?Rage has a place here and we shouldn?t forget it!?
Social movements, she said, ?had a coming out in Seattle? and they would have ?A Coming of Age in Copenhagen.? Referring to the tradition in social movements of disobedience she referred to the alternative saying “Life may be terminated because of too many acts of obedience.”
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