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Bill McKibben: Climate Protest Movement, Not COP21, Key to Preventing “Uninhabitable World”


Bill McKibben: Climate Protest Movement, Not COP21, Key to Preventing “Uninhabitable World”

Democracy Now!

Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, says the U.N. Climate Summit reveals the "scoreboard" for activists pushing governments to take action on global warming, and shows "how much more work we have to do." He argues whatever agreement comes out of the meeting "won’t be enough" to avoid putting the world on a path to higher temperatures and an "uninhabitable world." As France continues to ban protests at the summit, McKibben says he was moved to tears by the the outpouring of solidarity actions this weekend in 2,200 places around the world.


McKibben seems to ignore the fact that both Obama and Clinton considered Copenhagen to be somewhat of a success. To Obama and Clinton there was an agreement to reduce emissions, even though the conference did not formally approve the Obama's Copenhagen Accord which consisted of voluntary pledges from developed countries to reduce emissions. In short, McKibben and Obama have completely different narratives about what went on at Copenhagen, one says there was an agreement and the other says there wasn't. I think McKibben is trying to take too much credit with his statement. There might not have been a "climate movement" back in 2009 but there were several large environmental organizations focused on climate. Certainly the Sierra Club back in 2009 was capable of exerting political pressure on climate and groups like Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Audubon and so forth also could. And 350.org itself was able to do so. I think the biggest problem is that the climate movement has never spread beyond the political left. It still is very limited because of that.


We need to swiftly move past thinking of a "protest movement" (don't see a direct quote of that from McKibben but that's the headline), and think more of organized direct action intervention in the economy.