“We are angry with the people who are doing this. We have made no contribution, but suffer the highest impact… the global nation states must take action. If not, we’ll be calling it climatic genocide.”

[Dr Atiq Rahman, Bangladesh]

Last night I went to this meeting. Ricardo Navarro from El Salvador gave his perspective on how climate change is affecting poor communities around the world. I liked that it took a development slant more than an environmental slant on it.

We were addressed by a man from the Transport & General workers union, then by Kirstie Shirra who works for WDM, and finally by Ricardo Navarro, before the floor was opened for questions.

Some thoughts:

It’s not just that climate change is happening, but climate change is killing – in huge numbers too.
– If the glaciers disappear, 1/6 of the worlds population will lose their water supply.
– Reducing poverty can’t be done without addressing climate change.

CO2 emission is the result of consumption, which is the result of production.
– The solution is relatively simple – reducing emissions reduces climate change. But the CO2 already in the atmosphere has an inertia – it will continue to affect us for 50-100 years, even if we completely stop emissions now.

– Trade means more consumption/production. Governments are pushing for free-trade agreements, but they are pushed by big corporations.
– Trade as such isn’t bad – but it is promoted at the expense of social and environmental concerns.
– Countries are made poor through a process. The process of impoverishment and enrichment are the same side of a coin – for example, you can’t look at the wealth of Shell without looking at the poverty of Nigeria.

– The most effective weapon of mass destruction is poverty – it kills the equivalent of one Hiroshima bomb every 2 days.

– We have to be conscious about the problem – that means looking at the whole process.
– We have to be committed – it’s a 24/7 thing.
– We need to convince others – discuss what to do in your local context.
– We have to stop it by acting at every level – economic, social, religious, etc.