Beyond COP25: People for Climate

TRISE has joined the international call for participation in the Social Summit for Climate in Madrid. For the complete list of signatories please visit the official website of the summit

The unilateral decisions of, on one hand, Sebastián Piñera’s Chilean government to cancel the hosting of COP 25 in Chile, ignoring the months-long work already done by Chilean and Latin American social movements, and, on the other hand, Pedro Sánchez’s government to host the event, force Spanish social movements to take over a task they have not been consulted about, in an almost unfeasible time frame to guarantee adequate participation and social response.

Aware of the clear Eurocentrism that holding a COP in a European country for the third consecutive year implies, we accept the challenge of articulating protests and criticisms against these policies as a huge responsibility. We do so in anger and powerlessness in the face of the injustices and atrocities being committed against the Chilean people, out of solidarity and support for the decision to continue holding the Peoples’ Summit and the Social Summit for Climate Action in Chile, and in the determination to try to create a space where their voices can also be heard.

We strongly condemn the human rights violations in Chile and demand their immediate stop. The Government’s war declaration against the Chilean people is an attack on democracy and on the struggle for social justice. We demand that those responsible for this repression be punished. We want to put under the spotlight that the social protests in Chile, and elsewhere in the world, are also an expression of the environmental crisis. The paradigm of unlimited economic growth is crashing humanity against planetary limits that the economic system insists on making invisible.

We live in convulsive times of genunine ecological, climate and social emergency. The scientific diagnosis is clear regarding the seriousness and urgency of the moment. Economic growth happens at the expense of the most vulnerable people: racialised people, indigenous people, people living in rural areas, the poor, migrants, LGBTI and queer, the avant-garde communities in resistance… And it also occurs at the expense of our environment, other species and ecosystems. Women, who are part of all these collectives, are affected differently and are victims of the worst consequences of the cisgender patriarchal capitalist model.

As activists based in Spain and the European Union, we want to accept the responsibility of exposing the exploitative role of the rich regions of the world and their key role in the creation of “sacrifice zones” in impoverished countries, through cultural, material and energy extractivism which destroys communities and common goods. We are living in countries that promote the consumption and destruction of humanity and nature, imposing our world models and visions to other parts of the planet.

In these same countries, which own a large military capability (especially nuclear weapons), a new concept of climate securitisation is promoted in order to protect their interests by means of the occupation of important power niches and leaving the control of key technologies for energy transition in the hands of large security companies, while the militarisation of borders increases and land is grabbed in a large scale all over the planet. Climate change will continue to fuel armed conflicts and large-scale wars and violence between communities.

From this privileged position, we pledge to take responsibility for our common past, present and future. We rebel to change this lethal system.

It is necessary to expose the hypocrisy of governments that have failed in climate negotiations for decades, while at the same time shielding trade and investment treaties as tools of capital domination, aimed at perpetuating the imbalance of power that allows the luxury of a few people at the expense of the suffering of the majority, hoarding, privatising and financing ever-greater spheres of life. Those same governments feed the fossil fuels industry with millionaire subsidies and protect and bail out fossil banks that profit from the climate crisis and the environmental and social devastation.

The role of Spanish and European transnational corporations in regions like Latin America has led to a lengthening of the long night of the 500 years of colonialism, deepening the environmental crisis and undermining the possibilities of peoples’ sovereignty. Chile, today, is the expression of the exhaustion of neoliberal and extractivist policies throughout the continent. Latin America is Chile and Chile is Latin America.

We believe in climate justice as the backbone of the social fights of our time: sustainability is impossible without social justice, and justice does not exist without respect for all beings living on the planet. Climate justice is the broadest umbrella that exists to protect all the diversity of struggles for another possible world: environmentalism, climate activism, feminism, LGBTIQ +, trade unionism, anti-racism, anti-fascism, anti-militarism, de-colonial movements, indigenous movements, rural movements… We promote climate justice as a movement of movements in which many diverse worlds can fit.

We pledge to work to give visibility to the demands that guarantee a just transition carried out quickly enough to avoid new catastrophes, such as warming above 1.5°C or the collapse of ecosystems and society. It is necessary to make decisions based on science. The scientific community has already clearly indicated the need to leave most fossil fuels in the ground to achieve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that are in line with the climate challenge.

That is why we rebel against extractivist models connected to fossil fuels production and consumption throughout the world, as well as rejecting with special emphasis the civil and military use of nuclear energy.

We urge for radical change in the mobility model, leading to the reduction of mass transportation of goods and people — responsible of, among other problems, the excessive tourism and gentrification in cities, generating serious social inequalities. The transport model must at the same time mitigate the increasing isolation of rural areas, one of the causes of their increasing depopulation.

We denounce the attempts to promote false solutions such as those based on geo-engineering, which seek to maintain the status quo of the current production system, moving the focus away from true solutions and threatening us with unequal impacts on a planetary scale, that will again sacrifice the more disadvantaged communities first.

We also denounce the imposition of a production and consumption model that does not recognise food as a right and is responsible for the climate and biodiversity crisis that condemns more than 800 million people to starvation. We demand an agro-ecological transition that promotes fair and sustainable systems that respect peoples’ food sovereignty.

Similarly, we denounce the imposition of a production and consumption model based on “use and disposal” that once again affects the the poor people the most. The huge amounts of waste produced by enriched countries are mostly transferred to countries in the South, forcing the most vulnerable communities and groups in these places to live in a spiral of poverty, violence and unhealthy conditions.

On the other hand, the Chilean social explosion and its brutal repression shows that the civilisational crisis we are experiencing is also a democratic crisis. We need to move towards the construction of more democratic models of society that guarantee collective decision making by putting the common good at the centre. In this regard, the decision to move COP25 to Madrid is also a democratic loss, as it jeopardizes the months-long work by numerous networks, groups and organizations around the world that now cannot participate in the way they would have wished to.

We stand in solidarity with those who suffer the most, with workers and communities that are on the front line of resistance in all continents. We also stand in solidarity with those who have participated in fueling the climate crisis the least and those who suffer its impacts the most. We support all people, regardless of their gender, origin, language, race, ethnicity, physical abilities, sexual orientation, experience, age or belief.

We call on people and groups to rebel against an oppressive capitalist system that expels more and more people – many of whom are forced to migrate from their territories – and increasingly depletes the foundations that sustain life. We call on everyone to participate in the social response to COP25 and to network and build communities in the face of this climate crisis, that is just the most visible symptom of a deeply unfair system.

We invite all people and groups who feel compelled by these demands to participate in the construction of the Social Summit for Climate, to rebel, to propose and to build communities. In the face of increasing repression and strategies to divide and demobilize movements, we will show more unity than ever in the common struggle for justice.

December 5, 2019


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