Unfortunately I couldn’t travel to Copenhagen for the UN COP 15 climate summit. So, along with other climate campers who were equally outraged by the unfolding travesty across the North Sea, I decided that I had to do something to mark my anguish. For many months it had been clear that any deal made at the summit would be so flawed that it would do nothing to stop climate change and would mark the beginning of a new age of colonialism: a colonialism of emissions. The only deal left on the table was one based around the Clean Development Mechanism and carbon trading. Carbon trading has been shown to be hopeless at stopping climate change but brilliant at creating huge profits for Western corporations (for more about carbon trading check out the short video: The Story of Cap and Trade.)
The only question left was: what could our small band actually do? After reading the article Taking Care of Business in the New Internationalist, it became clear that the impending failure of the Copenhagen summit was due to the fact that corporate interests had captured the UN process. These interests are hidden behind lobbying federations, chief among them being the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), which was set up for the 1992 Rio Earth Summit and has relentlessly argued for less regulation and less tax, as well as unproven mechanisms such as carbon capture storage and cap and trade. Even US Congressman Rick Boucher admitted cap and trade strengthens the case for utilities to continue coal use. Anything which promotes coal isn’t a solution but a dangerous distraction. The ICC represents thousands of corporations including BP, Exxon-Mobil and Shell.
I sent the article to my friends and we agreed decided to try and highlight the role of the ICC in derailing the talks and to also disrupt the work of the ICC as much as possible. We donned robber outfits, painted a banner which read ‘ICC: International Climate Criminals’ and proceeded to super-glue and bike D-lock ourselves to the front entrance of the ICC offices. The action was a great success: we managed to stay there for over five hours before the police were able to cut, unglue and arrest us. We were, however, released just in time to pick up one of the remaining Evening Standards which had printed a large photo of the action.
Last Tuesday we were fined £400, but we would do it again to highlight that the businesses the ICC represents stand to make billions from the carbon racket. We should be putting people before profits! We want strong caps, solid laws, and climate taxes on business, the very thing the ICC are fighting against. We can’t let them steal our future.