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A Cabal of Campaigners

There’s news from the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) quarter.

A whole bunch of Aid and Development, charity, Third Sector and green groups got together today and were instilled with their responsibility to “hold politicians’ feet to the fire” by Ed Miliband, who just happens to be a politician.

Not just any old politician, no. Only the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change in the United Kingdom.

Expect to be leafletted in every highway and by-way. Expect homilies, moralising, enthusiastic youngsters, pledges to click and postcards to complete. Expect moving speeches, public protest, random acts of street communication. Expect a campaign. But don’t expect it from me.

Rousing public support for a range of flawed policies seems to be what Ed Miliband was asking for today at the Fabian Society conference “Six Months to Copenhagen”.

I was clear : I’m not going to wear a wristband for Carbon Trading.

And I’m not going to flag wave for a treaty that binds the world to the so-called “Clean” Coal technology, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), new Nuclear Power, the so-called Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), and especially not the policy known as REDD, the “deforestation” agenda, which would virtually guarantee a loss of 50% of the remaining rainforests to sold to “save” the rest.

But that’s what’s on the Copenhagen Agenda. You can read the draft from the “Ad Hoc Working Group on Long Term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA)” for yourself here :-

especially pages 22 and 41.

It doesn’t mention the technologies explicitly, but new Nuclear and CCS always appear in the UK’s Energy papers, there’s a lot of renewed declared interest in Nuclear Power worldwide, and there are budgets for CCS both in the UK and Europe.

The UK is continuing to push support for the options that make Cap-and-Trade and CDM the key mechanisms for our “Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action” (NAMA) plan – hence reducing the urgency for de-Carbonising our power and transport and domestic energy sectors, by buying in the Carbon offsets.

There are two other bodies in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to consider for the broadest scope on the Copenhagen Agenda : the “Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex 1 Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP)” and the “Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA)”, which discusses the technologies.

For more, here’s one summary about what happened at the UNFCCC meeting in Poznan :-

Christian Aid were represented at the gathering today. Young, bright, eager things. Campaigning bunnies. I challenged them on their postcard campaign to Gordon Brown. The postcard in the pack handed to delegates talked about a “fair deal for the world’s poor”, but there was another version of the postcard that used the word “equity”.

I said, “I can’t sign that. It’s too open. “Equity” means “Carbon Trading”. For Nicholas Stern and others the fairest, most efficient way to reduce emissions is by trading them.”

One of the Christian Aid bunnies said “Ed [Miliband] knows we don’t agree with Carbon Offsetting. We regularly talk to him about what we want.” Which means they haven’t the faintest idea about what political engagement with the Non-Governmental Organisations is all about from the point of view of Government.

I said, “there’s a real danger that you can get 11 million people signing one of these cards and it gets turned into a vote for emissions trading. It could so easily be co-opted for the Government’s purposes.”

Actually, as it happens, Christian Aid have a fully fledged analysis of what constitutes equity for the world’s poor in the form of their adherence to Greenhouse Development Rights : a scheme from Paul Baer and Tom Athanasiou. Subtitled “The right to development in a climate constrained world”, it’s basically a formula for allowing the as-yet developing countries to take a different path than the developed ones.

In my view, they should be explicitly saying this in their postcard campaign, and getting people to engage with their analysis instead of signing a blanket statement of support.

Their rationale seemed to be summed up by one of the bunnies saying, “Ed [Miliband] does not have the power to unlock the negotiations. We are asking Gordon Brown as a world leader to [use his power]”.

I don’t agree with the framework of Greenhouse Development Rights, but that’s a whole other story.

I’ll leave the final comment her to a Christian Aid bunny, “we’re not going to deliver a campaign for him, [for him to use] to support his policies”.

Ed Miliband, you have been warned. The NGO bunnies are restless.

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