Letter to Editor

The Clamor we have always with us

New York Times

Growing Clamor About Inequities of Climate Crisis

Published: November 16, 2013 575 Comments

Dear Editor,

In 2002 I had the opportunity to observe the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties aka “COP 8” in Delhi. I remember how dry the proceedings were and how shocked I was that rather than taking decisive measures towards changing energy policy, they talked about “emissions trading” as if this was some kind of a stock market. At the time, I was shocked. But I was young and believed that the delegates at such meetings would be at least as courageous and dedicated as the most hardworking campaigners in the movements for environmental and social justice.

I gradually came to recognize that the passion of activists and grassroots organizations working outside the system would not be found inside such conventions.

So it is like oxygen to hear Philippine delegate Yeb Sano bridge the two worlds, demanding accountability for the impacts of climate change.

Isn’t this the point? But even the media was surprised to see the convention become newsworthy: “a routine international climate change conference here turned into an emotional forum.”

Now even UNEP director Achim Steiner admits the pointlessness of these conferences:

“We are at these climate conferences essentially moving chess figures across the board without ever being able to bring these negotiations to a conclusion.”

The only question left to ask is “but who,we?” Because conclusion is coming, often without notice, for millions of climate refugees every year. Forgotten pawns on this imaginary chess board.

Aravinda Pillalamarri

See also

“We can stop this madness. Right here in Warsaw.”  Yeb Sano speech at 2013 UN Climate Convention broadcast on Democracy Now!
Eco-warriors: A Different Conference of Parties that Actually Addresses Climate Change  (Rajasthan, 2013)
and “If not now, when?” from 2012:


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