After COP17….

Between November 28 and December 12, I attended the United Nations Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP17) in Durban, South Africa, where I played a multitude of roles: Primarily I was there as the Comunications Director for Global Justice Ecology Project.  In that capacity, I also coordinated the media work for Global Forest Coalition, and liaised with the media for Climate Justice Now! and other allied groups to help amplify the voices of climate justice activists and front line groups.  I also produced my own reports, which are posted at Earth island Journal, and are linked below, from the last to the first:

African Soil in the Blood and Dust of COP17

by Jeff Conant – December 10, 2011

Last hours of Durban Climate Negotiations Indicate Kyoto Protocol is Set to Lose Its Heart

The rallying cry of the South African hosts of COP17, repeated throughout these two weeks, has been “The Kyoto Protocol will not die on African soil.”

The theatrics of these UN events revolves around a kind of ritual called “high-level negotiations” during which the nations of the world don their battle armor and enter into the fray. The drama reaches a climax in the middle of the second week, when heads of state arrive prepared to defend their national interests at any cost. The drama’s denouement, after two bloody weeks, is the achievement of consensus. On Friday night, as the negotiations stretch into the wee hours in what some describe as a “war of attrition” in which the countries with the strongest reserve troops win, the drama of COP17 is drawing to a close.

To read on, go here.

“We’re Not Very Excited About Kyoto,” the US Says

by Jeff Conant – December 6, 2011

Neither Are People’s Movements in the South – But for Different Reasons

The big question here in Durban during the UN climate negotiations (COP17) is: Will the Kyoto Protocol live or die? The halls are filled with young people waving posters that declare “Save Kyoto,” delegates wearing t-shirts saying “I heart Kyoto,” and rallies by Greenpeace, Tcktcktck, the Sierra Club, and other NGO groups defending “the KP,” as it’s called in the lingo.

But let’s step back for a moment and look at this love for Kyoto. The United States never ratified the agreement, and its position at the COP, today as ever, is summed up by a statement from US Envoy Jonathan Pershing a few days ago: “There is nothing for us to do here.”

Ironically, one of the slogans of Global South social movements – whose positions are as far from the US government as you can possibly imagine – is quite similar.

To read on, click here.

What Will Save Our Forests?

by Jeff Conant – December 2, 2011

Critical Insights from Indigenous Peoples in and around UNCOP17

In this article I wrote for Earth Island Journal earlier this year detailing the fatal flaws of the climate mitigation scheme known as REDD (for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation), I quoted World Bank President Robert Zoellick as calling REDD, “the best chance, perhaps the last chance, to save the world’s forests.”

photo of two women conversing
photo courtesy Orin Langelle


Well, I hope I did a fair job of gracefully skewering the Bank president’s arrogant and unfounded assessment of what I perceive as the deranged, colonialist, land-grabbing nightmare scenario that REDD represents. Even if I did succeed in my humble aspiration, an important question remained unanswered: If top-down, financially-incentivized, multilateral-driven climate mitigation programs don’t work, then what does?

To read on, click here.

A View of the UN Climate Talks in Durban, South Africa

by Jeff Conant – November 28, 2011

Of Elephants and Blind Men and Noah’s Ark and Elephants Again

Like the parable of the three blind men coming upon an elephant and determining, each on his own, that this thing before them is a tree trunk, or an enormous boulder, or a thick scaly snake, one’s perspective on the events here at COP17, the UN Climate Summit kicking off today in Durban, South Africa, reflects one’s position and willingness to grope with searching hands in the dark.

But no matter where you come from, if you are actually concerned about the climate crisis, it’s going to be an ugly two weeks.

To read on, click here.

Published by Jeff Conant

Writer, social and ecological justice advocate, world traveler, family-man, gardener, bee-keeper, baker & tender of life in all her fine forms. Here on The Watering Hole you will find my books, both published, unpublished and in progress, my photographs and artwork, and my short (and long) essays and ruminations here in the late stages of the anthropocene as humanity struggles to turn away from millenia of destruction toward a future of co-existence with all creation…or not.

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