Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Note from Bolivia President, Evo Morales

Evo Morales: Save the Planet from Capitalism

Climate Change:
Save the Planet from Capitalism

Sisters and brothers:

Today, our Mother Earth is ill. From the beginning of the 21st century
we have lived the hottest years of the last thousand years. Global
warming is generating abrupt changes in the weather: the retreat of
glaciers and the decrease of the polar ice caps; the increase of the sea
level and the flooding of coastal areas, where approximately 60% of the
world population live; the increase in the processes of desertification
and the decrease of fresh water sources; a higher frequency in natural
disasters that the communities of the earth suffer[1]; the extinction of
animal and vegetal species; and the spread of diseases in areas that
before were free from those diseases.

One of the most tragic consequences of the climate change is that some
nations and territories are the condemned to disappear by the increase
of the sea level.

Everything began with the industrial revolution in 1750, which gave
birth to the capitalist system. In two and a half centuries, the so
called ?developed? countries have consumed a large part of the fossil
fuels created over five million centuries.

Competition and the thirst for profit without limits of the capitalist
system are destroying the planet. Under Capitalism we are not human
beings but consumers. Under Capitalism mother earth does not exist,
instead there are raw materials. Capitalism is the source of the
asymmetries and imbalances in the world. It generates luxury,
ostentation and waste for a few, while millions in the world die from
hunger in the world. In the hands of Capitalism everything becomes a
commodity: the water, the soil, the human genome, the ancestral
cultures, justice, ethics, death ? and life itself. Everything,
absolutely everything, can be bought and sold and under Capitalism. And
even ?climate change? itself has become a business.

?Climate change? has placed all humankind before great choice: to
continue in the ways of capitalism and death, or to start down the path
of harmony with nature and respect for life.

In the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the developed countries and economies in
transition committed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by at
least 5% below the 1990 levels, through the implementation of different
mechanisms among which market mechanisms predominate.

Until 2006, greenhouse effect gases, far from being reduced, have
increased by 9.1% in relation to the 1990 levels, demonstrating also in
this way the breach of commitments by the developed countries.

The market mechanisms applied in the developing countries[2] have not
accomplished a significant reduction of greenhouse effect gas emissions.

Just as well as the market is incapable of regulating global financial
and productive system, the market is unable to regulate greenhouse
effect gas emissions and will only generate a big business for financial
agents and major corporations.

The earth is much more important than stock exchanges of Wall Street and
the world.

While the United States and the European Union allocate 4,100 billion
dollars to save the bankers from a financial crisis that they themselves
have caused, programs on climate change get 313 times less, that is to
say, only 13 billion dollars.

The resources for climate change are unfairly distributed. More
resources are directed to reduce emissions (mitigation) and less to
reduce the effects of climate change that all the countries suffer
(adaptation)[3]. The vast majority of resources flow to those countries
that have contaminated the most, and not to the countries where we have
preserved the environment most. Around 80% of the Clean Development
Mechanism projects are concentrated in four emerging countries.

Capitalist logic promotes a paradox in which the sectors that have
contributed the most to deterioration of the environment are those that
benefit the most from climate change programs.

At the same time, technology transfer and the financing for clean and
sustainable development of the countries of the South have remained just

The next summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen must allow us to make a
leap forward if we want to save Mother Earth and humanity. For that
purpose the following proposals for the process from Poznan to Copenhagen:

Attack the structural causes of climate change

1) Debate the structural causes of climate change. As long as we do not
change the capitalist system for a system based in complementarity,
solidarity and harmony between the people and nature, the measures that
we adopt will be palliatives that will limited and precarious in
character. For us, what has failed is the model of ?living better?, of
unlimited development, industrialisation without frontiers, of modernity
that deprecates history, of increasing accumulation of goods at the
expense of others and nature. For that reason we promote the idea of
Living Well, in harmony with other human beings and with our Mother Earth.

2) Developed countries need to control their patterns of consumption -
of luxury and waste - especially the excessive consumption of fossil
fuels. Subsidies of fossil fuel, that reach 150-250 billions of
dollars[4], must be progressively eliminated. It is fundamental to
develop alternative forms of power, such as solar, geothermal, wind and
hydroelectric both at small and medium scales.

3) Agrofuels are not an alternative, because they put the production of
foodstuffs for transport before the production of food for human beings.
Agrofuels expand the agricultural frontier destroying forests and
biodiversity, generate monocropping, promote land concentration,
deteriorate soils, exhaust water sources, contribute to rises in food
prices and, in many cases, result in more consumption of more energy
than is produced.

Substantial commitments to emissions reduction that are met

4) Strict fulfilment by 2012 of the commitments[5] of the developed
countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least by 5% below the
1990 levels. It is unacceptable that the countries that polluted the
planet throughout the course of history make statements about larger
reductions in the future while not complying with their present commitments.

5) Establish new minimum commitments for the developed countries of
greenhouse gas emission reduction of 40% by 2020 and 90% by for 2050,
taking as a starting point 1990 emission levels. These minimum
commitments must be met internally in developed countries and not
through flexible market mechanisms that allow for the purchase of
certified emissions reduction certificates to continue polluting in
their own country. Likewise, monitoring mechanisms must be established
for the measuring, reporting and verifying that are transparent and
accessible to the public, to guarantee the compliance of commitments.

6) Developing countries not responsible for the historical pollution
must preserve the necessary space to implement an alternative and
sustainable form of development that does not repeat the mistakes of
savage industrialisation that has brought us to the current situation.
To ensure this process, developing countries need, as a prerequisite,
finance and technology transfer.

An Integral Financial Mechanism to address ecological debt

7) Acknowledging the historical ecological debt that they owe to the
planet, developed countries must create an Integral Financial Mechanism
to support developing countries in: implementation of their plans and
programmes for adaptation to and mitigation of climate change; the
innovation, development and transfer of technology; in the preservation
and improvement of the sinks and reservoirs; response actions to the
serious natural disasters caused by climate change; and the carrying out
of sustainable and eco-friendly development plans.

8) This Integral Financial Mechanism, in order to be effective, must
count on a contribution of at least 1% of the GDP in developed
countries[6] and other contributions from taxes on oil and gas,
financial transactions, sea and air transport, and the profits of
transnational companies.

9) Contributions from developed countries must be additional to Official
Development Assistance (ODA), bilateral aid or aid channelled through
organisms not part of the United Nations. Any finance outside the UNFCCC
cannot be considered as the fulfilment of developed country?s
commitments under the Convention.

10) Finance has to be directed to the plans or national programmes of
the different States and not to projects that follow market logic.

11) Financing must not be concentrated just in some developed countries
but has to give priority to the countries that have contributed less to
greenhouse gas emissions, those that preserve nature and are suffering
the impact of climate change.

12) The Integral Financial Mechanism must be under the coverage of the
United Nations, not under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and
other intermediaries such as the World Bank and regional development
banks; its management must be collective, transparent and
non-bureaucratic. Its decisions must be made by all member countries,
especially by developing countries, and not by the donors or
bureaucratic administrators.

Technology Transfer to developing countries

13) Innovation and technology related to climate changes must be within
the public domain, not under any private monopolistic patent regime that
obstructs and makes technology transfer more expensive to developing

14) Products that are the fruit of public financing for technology
innovation and development of have to be placed within the public domain
and not under a private regime of patents[7], so that they can be freely
accessed by developing countries.

15) Encourage and improve the system of voluntary and compulsory
licenses so that all countries can access products already patented
quickly and free of cost. Developed countries cannot treat patents and
intellectual property rights as something ?sacred? that has to be
preserved at any cost. The regime of flexibilities available for the
intellectual property rights in the cases of serious problems for public
health has to be adapted and substantially enlarged to heal Mother Earth.

16) Recover and promote indigenous peoples practices in harmony with
nature which have proven to be sustainable through centuries.

Adaptation and mitigation with the participation of all the people

17) Promote mitigation actions, programs and plans with the
participation of local communities and indigenous people in the
framework of full respect for and implementation of the United Nations
Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The best mechanism to
confront the challenge of climate change are not market mechanisms, but
conscious, motivated, and well organized human beings endowed with an
identity of their own.

18) The reduction of the emissions from deforestation and forest
degradation must be based on a mechanism of direct compensation from
developed to developing countries, through a sovereign implementation
that ensures broad participation of local communities, and a mechanism
for monitoring, reporting and verifying that is transparent and public.

A UN for the Environment and Climate Change

19) We need a World Environment and Climate Change Organization to which
multilateral trade and financial organizations are subordinated, so as
to promote a different model of development that environmentally
friendly and resolves the profound problems of impoverishment. This
organization must have effective follow-up, verification and sanctioning
mechanisms to ensure that the present and future agreements are complied

20) It is fundamental to structurally transform the World Trade
Organization, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the
international economic system as a whole, in order to guarantee fair and
complementary trade, as well as financing without conditions for
sustainable development that avoids the waste of natural resources and
fossil fuels in the production processes, trade and product transport.

In this negotiation process towards Copenhagen, it is fundamental to
guarantee the participation of our people as active stakeholders at a
national, regional and worldwide level, especially taking into account
those sectors most affected, such as indigenous peoples who have always
promoted the defense of Mother Earth.

Humankind is capable of saving the earth if we recover the principles of
solidarity, complementarity, and harmony with nature in contraposition
to the reign of competition, profits and rampant consumption of natural

November 28, 2008

Evo Morales Ayma

President of Bolivia


Dennis Markatos-Soriano said...

Good stuff-
There are pretty intense changes in US energy (especially driving) habits. One exciting result is that we are consuming more than 5% less oil in ‘08 and thus carbon emissions are poised to fall 2.5% this year. See details at:

Even China emissions are falling this quarter as electricity consumption falls a record in November. See details at:

The real challenge will be how we continue emissions reduction once the economy picks up again.

Regarding Mexico, oil production declines could have a devastating impact on its federal budget. See details at:

If you find the SET daily blog on major energy and climate developments useful at , please consider adding it to your blogroll.

Onwards to sustainability,

P F Torrence said...

In view of this note from President Morales, I would be interested to understand his government's reasoning in sponsoring oil exploration and development in Bolivia's Madidi Park and Pilon Lajas Biosphere Reserve in one of the worlds "hotspots' of biological diversity. This Morales initiative also is opposed by the local indigenous of that area.