Challenging the Corporate Climate Crisis

Written by Scott Parkin

Topics: Oil

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It’s only a few days until November 30, an international day of climate action and solidarity with the upcoming protests in Copenhagen.

climate justice

Nine cities are preparing mobilizations, mass actions, protests and civil disobedience targeting a variety of corporate entities complicit in the climate crisis. Right now the U.S. has the deepest carbon footprint on the planet and the world WILL see that there is a vibrant growing resistance to the fossil fuel empire in the belly of the beast. Groups affilited with the Mobilization for Climate Justice (MCJ) and the Climate Pledge of Resistance (CPR) have targeted a variety of financial, extractive and combustive industries that are profiting from the climate crisis and false solutons to it. JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Chevron, Morgan Stanley, British Petroleum (BP) and American Electric Power (AEP) are all designated targets, many more corporations will be called out as well.

In recent years, direct action movements fighting for climate justice in North America have manifested around coal plants, coal mining, tar sands extraction projects, oil refineries, natural gas and other fossil fuels. In southern West Virginia, over 120 people have been arrested this year fighting mountaintop removal coal mining (last week, a group locked down to mining equipment on Coal River Mountain.) In California, community groups have worked with environmental and climate groups in challenging Chevron’s Richmond oil refinery. In Alberta Canada, environmentalists along with native groups have been facing off against the provincial government and oil companies over tar sands extraction projects.

North America is already joining a vibrant international climate movement and the words of many from 10 years ago “Our resistance will be as transnational as their capital.“ Earlier this month in Barcelona, the African delegation walked out of the talks while over a hundred blockaded the entrance. Last week in Australia and Canada, 150 were arrested at the Australian parliment buildings and 6 were arrested at Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice’s Calgary constituency office, both demanding their government’s push for strong binding climate treaties in Copenhagen. This week in Denmark, tens of thousands prepare will face off against an increasingly draconian police state that are creating anti-protestor laws only days before the talks begin.

Ten years ago, I joined the anti-corporate global justice movement after the shutdown of the World Trade Organization in Seattle to challenge corporate power that dominated all aspects of our life (seriously, how many plant and tree species can you identify on sight vs. corporate logos?). Seven years ago, I helped organize the anti-corporate wing of the anti-war movement that challenged the privatization and profiteering in Iraq and Afghanistan by companies like Halliburton and Bechtel. Now the anti-corporate struggle has shifted to the climate crisis. It’s a no-brainer that Exxon, Chevron, Peabody and Massey Energy have long been the culprits in not only destroying the climate and communities most impacted by extraction, but Wall St. banks like JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America continue to finance their activities.

November 30 is only the beginning, more actions are planned throughout December and the post-Copenhagen moment will be especially important for direct action movements that seek to end corporate commodification of the climate. The rest of the world is watching and waiting for us to lead them to something other than weak legislation written by corporate lobbyists.

As global justice activist David Solnit told Naomi Klein “This is definitely a Seattle-type moment, people are ready to throw down.

Resistance is fertile. See you in the streets.

we wont stop

Nationwide Protests in Nine Cities Target Climate Crisis

WHO: Mobilization for Climate Justice (www.actforclimatejustice.org)

A broad and diverse coalition of organizations working for social, environmental, economic and racial justice has come together to call for urgent action on the global climate crisis based on equitable, democratic and science-based solutions.

WHEN: November 30, 2009 (see below)

WHAT: Nationwide protests in cities across the U.S. will take place a week before the beginning of the international UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen, and on the 10th Anniversary of the World Trade Organization protest in Seattle. The world’s major corporations have been dominating international and domestic climate policy – as they did with the international trade policy arena. Activists in major cities around the U.S. are preparing for non-violent direct action against these major climate polluters and their financiers, stating: “Our Climate is Not Their Business!”

Specific Times and Locations:

11 a.m. CST Chicago: Rally at Federal Plaza, marches to the Chicago Climate Exchange, the first and largest carbon trading institution in North America

8:00 a.m. Washington DC: March from US Chamber of Commerce (H St. NW & Connecticut St. NW), to other corporate polluters and their lobbyists.

Nov. 29-Nov. 30 EST Boston “Sleepout” on Boston Commons in front of the State House, followed by morning lobbying and rally at the State House, followed by march to offices of Sen. John Kerry

12 noon EST New York: Rally at Bank of America (16th and 5th Ave. nr Union Sq.); colorful procession with marching band to offices of US CAP member Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) for Speak Out with climate scientist Dr. James Hansen and others. Street theatrics to follow.

Maine: Rally in downtown Portland; rally and march in Bangor

12 noon PST Seattle, Washington: Climate! Justice! Assembly, Westlake Park, 401 Pine

3 pm EST Burlington, VT: Davis Student Center at UVM rally, followed by a march to the federal building.

11:30 am PST San Francisco, CA: Justin Herman Plaza rally, followed by a march to Bank of America, 345 Montgomery St. where non-violent civil disobedience will take place

WHY:With world leaders converging in Copenhagen in early December for global UN climate negotiations, the people hit hardest by this crisis and least responsible for its cause—working class, Indigenous and people of color communities around the world—have been systematically excluded and are demanding a voice at this table. The world’s major climate polluters continue to exert their influence over these negotiations through armies of paid lobbyists, in order to protect their profits and prevent any meaningful climate solutions. These corporations are pushing false solutions, including “clean coal”, nuclear energy, bio-fuels and carbon markets, which delay urgent emissions reductions, threaten ecosystems and subsidize the construction of more toxic industries in the backyards of the poor. The Mobilization for Climate Justice calls carbon marketing a “commodification of the commons, patently fraudulent, unjust and ineffective.”

The protests are directed at those corporations and financial institutions driving the climate crisis and obstructing meaningful reform in Washington as in Copenhagen.

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