The Paris Agreement in perspective (or ten or more reasons why elation must be kept on hold, and a serious reality check be done): Page 2 of 3

Posted on 18 December 2015

mechanism to compensate for the "loss and damage" of countries and communities already hit by climate change. While there is reference to ‘loss and damage’ in the outcome document, this is rendered ineffective since countries cannot claim or ever expect to receive compensation either from catastrophic phenomena or from economic dislocations due to climate change impacts spread over time.

Sixth, the only real winners at COP21 are transnational corporations (TNCs) and international financial institutions (IFIs) which are making even more business than usual by turning the climate crisis into 'their best chance for profit' . Unilever president Paul Polman said this climate accord "would free billions of dollars and immense creativity and innovation of the private sector" to address climate change.

Seventh, the Agreement opens the door (even more so than the Kyoto Protocol) to financial speculation and carbon markets, so that any country can engage in trading and purchase carbon bonds. Projects and other initiatives or policies that supposedly reduce emissions, but often negatively impact the environment and violate the rights of local communities, can now thrive even more freely. Through this, transnational corporations from industrialized countries, often working with corrupt governments in the South, continue with their pollutive ways – as long as they can pay for it by ‘investing’ in developing countries. In essence, they buy their way out of their responsibility to transition to more sustainable production systems.

Eighth, false solutions to climate change were given renewed international support. These false solutions, based on large hydro and nuclear mega-energies, agribusiness and plantations, geo-engineering and carbon-offset mechanisms, were confirmed in the Agreement.

Ninth, there is no justice for women in the Paris Agreement. Those least responsible for climate change, particularly women in the most affected countries of the global south, will continue to pay the highest price.

Tenth, human rights and indigenous people’s rights were easily bargained in the past week. Although these have been won and recognized through decades of struggle, references to these rights have been relegated to the Preamble, supposedly as a guiding principle, but lost in the actual substance of the Agreement.

Finally, the Paris agreement does not address the root causes of climate change. It is clear it is not possible to address climate change meaningfully without addressing the over-consumption and entrenched political power of the world’s richest 1%. And so after 21 years of climate summits, GHG emissions have increased by 50% and the world continues to breach its planetary boundaries.

Measured against the imperatives of science and equity, the Paris Agreement is a tragedy for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. This much is clear.  

But Paris has also brought out the strong resolve of the people to stand up, speak out and take action..  Attempts to suppress dissent were no match to the thousands who bravely defied the state of emergency imposed by the French government.

Throughout the two weeks of the climate summit, whether inside the halls of the COP or outside in the streets of Paris, people converged to send their strong messages of climate justice and

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