Copenhagen will not solve our problems

Today I was surprised to read a Transition Town Brixton Tweet about the Copenhagen conference: “Why Copenhagen will not solve our problems“. Since we met the Transition Town-Brixton people in this summer during our vacation in south England I was curious, so I red their blog article “The Road to Copenhagen: Ed Miliband MP – Q&A session with the Climate Change Secretary | 30 November 2009 | Lambeth Town Hall”.

They write that several hundred people attended a question and answer session last night hosted by Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate’s Chuka Umunna. So even if Copenhagen closes with a good agreement, the problem is not solved. Here their argumentation:

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. We need a deeper analysis of the problem and more support for communities developing solutions.

3. 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.

4. We need a just transition and systems change not climate change! Transition Towns is one example of a grassroots movement working for a world which is both just and sustainable.

First of all I was surprised to read such a comment from a perspective of a Transition Town, since TT are  especially active on a local level. Ok, criticising is one thing but what about possible solutions?

1. Government policy must start to reflect the recommendations of Prosperity without Growth.

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

3. Whatever happens in Copenhagen, local communities in transition are in need a much greater level of support and cooperation.

The argumentation fits directly in the one of this blog. I am happy to read about such discussions in other countries. I think that a lot of actors underestimate the power of grass root movements or movements in general. When we talk about a change process or an energy decent it is crucial to invite local initiatives to be a part of a solution.

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