[WSMDiscuss] (Fwd) "The People’s Climate Commitment: The Glasgow Agreement": superb! (minor quibbles)

Patrick Bond pbond at mail.ngo.za
Wed Apr 14 18:27:42 CEST 2021

(This is really excellent material; it takes the place of prior CJ 
statements like Durban 2004, Bali 2007, Cochabamba 2010... although 
those were somewhat more ambitious insofar as the concrete demands for 
reparations or emissions cut targets or institutional mechanisms such as 
ecocide courts.

     It's the first time I've seen it, so to be comradely-critical - as 
I will be now on at least three fronts - doesn't mean we can't 
appreciate this as a profound and eloquent input to climate politics, 
one that various strains of progressives and radicals right through to 
eco-socialists could warm to.

     The emphasis on leaving fossil fuels underground - absolutely 
correct as a first priority - means many areas are left out, including 
militaries, ocean destruction, air and maritime transport, False 
Solutions, etc etc... but three general areas strike me as fairly 
serious gaps:

  * It doesn't address /rights of future generations and especially
    rising youth rage/, even though this is an absolutely critical new
    factor in climate politics.

     This is a big disappointment given Fridays4Future's potential and 
the clarity with which Greta Thunberg continues to express an 
exceptionally tough critique and delegitimisation of the establishment. 
The anger and urgency that leading youth activists can generate stunned 
the world since mid-2018 and we desperately need a post-Covid revival of 
that spirit.

  * On /tactics/, the framing is unsatisfyingly narrow.

     The Agreement doesn't acknowledge that there's a style of 
tokenistic civil disobedience - set-piece, pre-negotiated arrests that 
are mainly publicity enhancing, the kind of predictable CD that 
characterises leading currents within climate action politics and also 
some strains in climate justice - that needs rethinking since it is so 
readily assimilated and provides diminishing public-educational 
opportunity, much less disruptive capability. So on the one hand, the 
wording below certainly does recognise that many activists in vulnerable 
situations can't take steps toward CD for fear of extreme repression.

     But on the other, the Agreement isn't quite brave enough to address 
a different, more militant approach: /disruption and even sabotage of 
fossil fuel extraction, transport, refining and combustion, or other 
sources of greenhouse gas emissions./

     After all, there are amazing /tree-shakers/ - hard-core activists - 
out there ready to disrupt, and to be great /jam-makers /via 
insider-oriented advocacy - which many COP attendees and Glasgow 
Agreement signatories will try to do, with all their passion and 
strategic insight - ideally entails empowering the tree shakers by 
/legitimising their most radical actions. /That's the old-fashioned, 
good-cop bad-cop division of labour that gets worked out ahead of time 
all too rarely.

     For example, when we hosted the COP17 People's Space in Durban a 
decade ago, our comrades - and I as a university-based host 
<https://ccs.ukzn.ac.za/default.asp?4,80> - failed miserably along these 
lines, and although our South African and African CJ forces had great 
principles and analyses, the team was distracted when it came to 
establishing effective strategies, tactics and alliances. Our 
counter-summitry was a fail 
for sure; as were subsequent COP protest scenes, leading up to terribly 
confusing stances by civil and uncivil society 
<https://mronline.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/SFR23_08_Bond.pdf> at 

  * What the Glasgow Agreement could also firm up, is alerting readers
    to the current /balance of forces - /and how to change that array of

     After all, there is a dangerous new factor in 2021: U.S. 
corporate-neoliberal re-entry, led by friendly-sounding climate-policy 
imperialists Biden and Kerry 
The resulting renewed emphasis on market strategies and "net zero" 
accounting gimmickry is predictable. It should generate a question 
that's not posed below, out of perhaps excessive diplomatic tact: 
/should serious climate activists attempt to delegitimise the UNFCCC 
given the adverse power balance, /or instead "draw inside the lines", 
thus legitimising the COP?

     The old French working-class strategic phraseology from a 
half-century ago - as articulated by Andre Gorz - was whether activists 
identify an opportunity to win /non-reformist, transformative reforms - 
/or instead settle for reformist reforms that in turn strengthen the 
prestige and assimilationist power of the /status quo. /Most climate 
activists working at global scale have only achieved reformist reforms 
so far, but the "fix it or nix it" quandary - and opportunity for 
radical reform - can arise when you least expect it.

     That's why the final point below on immediate post-Glasgow 
follow-up - an inventory of the most dangerous climate-threatening 
projects in each country - could help focus the minds of activists who 
often operate in NIMBY-type localistic situations, for instance here in 
South Africa trying to close a coal mine but failing to mention the 
climate rationale. My nine favourites in a South African inventory are 
in the second section of this recent article, 
for instance.

     But that's really the work of the backroom researcher, closely 
attuned to local struggles. Only occasionally have I run into movement 
strategists who connect the dots between sites of localised 
environmental struggle, or between environment and race, class and 
gender injustices. When South African activists have won exceptional 
battles against state and capital - to get free anti-retroviral AIDS 
medicines twenty years ago, or to mainly win free tertiary education in 
2015-17 and again in battle last month - it has entailed national 
coordination of localised grievances. And that can make a huge 
difference if this inventory is really put to great use in popular 
education and strategic priorisation of climate struggles, always 
ensuring that there is sensitivity to local conditions.

     So while it's a great document I'll be sharing all year, thanks to 
the wonderfully-articulated/principles/ here, the vagueness when it 
comes to/analysis, strategies, tactics and alliances/, leaves more hard 
work for the next comrades who pick up the pen.)

  The People’s Climate Commitment: The Glasgow Agreement

Environment <https://socialistproject.ca/category/environment/>  •  
April 14, 2021  • Glasgow Agreement 

The purpose of the Glasgow Agreement is to reclaim the initiative from 
governments and international institutions and create an alternative 
tool for action and collaboration, for the climate justice movement. 
Until now the climate justice movement has had a very big focus on 
pressuring governments to take action on climate, or to push for 
stronger international agreements within the framework of the UN 
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), such as the Kyoto 
Protocol <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyoto_Protocol> in 1997 or the 
Paris Agreement <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_Agreement> in 2015. 
Meanwhile, emissions have continued to rise. Hence the Glasgow Agreement 
proposes that civil society initiate its own plan of action, no longer 
waiting for governments and international institutions to do so. We aim 
to use a vast array of strategies and tactics, including civil 
disobedience, to achieve the necessary emissions cuts to prevent a 1.5ºC 
temperature rise by 2100.

There are currently more than 150 organisations from around the world 
that have committed to the Glasgow Agreement! Here 
<https://glasgowagreement.net/en/organisations/> you can see a list of 
those participating publicly. The proposal for the Glasgow Agreement was 
presented for the first at the By2020WeRiseUp meeting in Iberia (Spain 
and Portugal), in February 2020, and at the By2020WeRiseUp meeting in 
Brussels, in early March. Other activists from organisations and 
grassroots movements around the world were consulted on the first draft. 
Our first assembly was at the end of March and since then Glasgow 
Agreement was built with dozens of organizations from around the world, 
with clear and open processes, where the only criteria for participation 
was willingness to participate. Our political discussion was frank and 
open, we converged where we could and diverged where we had to, to reach 
our final agreement. See glasgowagreement.net 

The institutional framework used by governments, international 
organisations and the whole economic system to address the climate 
crisis is failing in keeping global warming below 1.5 or 2°C by 2100. 
 From its onset, developed countries and polluting corporations like the 
fossil fuel industry have orchestrated the repeated failure of this 
institutional framework. Instead, an illusion of climate action was 
created while decisive steps were delayed and greenhouse gas emissions 
were allowed to continue rising. As a result of decades of interference 
by these actors, weak commitments have been continually dishonoured, and 
thus the main institutional arrangements on climate change, namely the 
Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, have not produced the reduction 
in global greenhouse gas emissions required to halt the worst impacts of 
climate change. The Paris Agreement is only a procedure, and will not be 
able to achieve its stated goal of preventing the worst consequences of 
climate change.

Hundreds of governments, municipalities and organisations have declared 
a climate emergency. Massive protest in streets all around the world 
have repeatedly called for decisive action for climate justice inside 
the deadline of 2030, with scientific consensus on the need for a 
minimum cut by 50% of global greenhouse gas emissions within this 
period. To achieve any measure of these objectives, no new fossil fuel 
(coal, oil and gas) projects or infrastructure can be developed. A 
powerful climate justice movement needs new and enhanced tools to 
address these fundamental contradictions and to reverse the global 
narrative from institutional impotence into social power that brings 
about lasting change.

As such, the undersigned organisations^1 
and social movements assume:

1. The political framework for the required cuts and climate action will 
be that of climate justice, which is defined as a social and political 
demand that advocates for the redistribution of power, knowledge and 
wellbeing. It proposes a new notion of prosperity within natural limits 
and just resource distribution, advocating for a true connection between 
traditional and westernised knowledge systems. It calls for a public and 
participatory science to address the needs of humanity and of the earth, 
principally to stop the climate crisis;

In this respect:

  * It recognises the interdependence between all species and affirms
    the need to reduce, with an aim to eliminate, the production of
    greenhouse gases and associated local pollutants;
  * It acknowledges and integrates the care economy into daily life,
    with the shared responsibility of persons, regardless of their
    gender identity, for care and maintenance activities, both inside
    homes and within society – climate justice puts life at the centre;
  * It supports the structural changes in society to redress centuries
    of systemic racism, colonialism and imperialism – climate justice is
    racial justice;
  * It perceives the economy to be under the rules of the environment,
    and not the other way around, defending democratic planning^2
    based on real needs, replacing oppression, imposition and
    appropriation for cooperation, solidarity and mutual aid;
  * It defends a just transition for workers currently employed in the
    sectors that need to be dismantled, reconfigured or downsized,
    providing support to these workers in different economies and
    societies, introducing energy sovereignty^3
    and energy sufficiency.^4
    This transition must be just and equitable, redressing past harms
    and securing the future livelihoods of workers and communities,
    approaching the necessary shift from an extractive economy into a
    climate-safe society, to build economic and political power for a
    regenerative economy;
  * It means to recover knowledge from indigenous communities, promoting
    the pragmatic human activity that has beneficial effects on life
    cycles and ecosystems;
  * It defends the introduction of reparation for communities and
    peoples at the frontlines of colonialism, globalisation and
    exploitation, acknowledging that there is a historical and
    ecological debt that must be paid to the Global South, and that the
    origins of said debts need to be stopped;
  * It recognises that the effects of climate breakdown are here and
    now. The poorest communities in the world are experiencing loss of
    their homes and livelihoods, damage to their lands and culture, and
    are in urgent need of funding. Global solidarity and pressure is
    needed, to shine a light on the corporations and governments
    responsible for loss and damage, and to uplift the voices of the
    people and places most affected;
  * It defends the full protection, freedom of movement, and civil,
    political, and economic rights of migrants;
  * It defends food sovereignty as the peoples’ right to define their
    agricultural and food policies, without any dumping vis-à-vis third
  * It opposes exponential and unbound economic growth – contemporarily
    reflected in the sovereignty of capital – understanding capitalism
    as incompatible with the principles of life systems;
  * It refuses green capitalism and its proposed “solutions” (be them
    “nature based,” geo-engineering, carbon trading, carbon markets or
    others), as well as extractivism.^5

2. Taking into their own hands the need to collectively cut greenhouse 
gas emissions and keep fossil fuels in the ground.

While participating in the Glasgow Agreement, organisations will 
maintain their main focus away from institutional struggle – namely from 
negotiations with governments and the United Nations;

3. The production of an inventory.

of the main sectors, infrastructures and future projects responsible for 
the emissions of greenhouse gases in each territory, that will be 
nationally and internationally publicised. There will be a technical 
working group to support and follow-up the creation of this inventory;

4. The production of a territorial climate agenda based on the inventory.

The climate agenda is an action plan, designed by communities, 
movements, and organisations working on the ground, that is informed by 
the inventory of the biggest greenhouse gas emissions sources (existing 
and planned) in its area of concern. It aims to set us on track for 
staying below 1.5ºC global warming by 2100 inside a clear framework of 
climate justice;

5. That political and economic noncooperation, as well as nonviolent 
intervention, in particular civil disobedience, are the main tools for 
the fulfilment of the Glasgow Agreement.

At the same time, we recognise that for oppressed groups and those 
living in more oppressive societies, it is much more difficult to 
partake directly in civil disobedience. The tactic of civil 
is only one of the tactics through which the Glasgow Agreement’s 
objectives can be fulfilled.

Additionally, we acknowledge that the strategy of civil disobedience has 
long been used, under various names, by many before us, particularly in 
marginalised communities and in the Global South, and we would not be 
able to join this struggle without these historical and contemporary 
sacrifices, and continuous action against climate change through 
struggles to keep fossil fuels underground and resistance to other 
industrial causes of global warming;

6. Support each other and coordinate to define their own local and 
national strategies and tactics on how to enact the climate agenda, and 
to call for the support of other member organisations of the Glasgow 
Agreement (nationally and internationally). The organisations from the 
Global North underline their commitment to support those in the Global 
South, through solidarity with existing struggles and by directly 
addressing projects led by governments, corporations, banks and 
financial institutions based in the Global North. •


The indication of the territorially required cuts will be based on 
methodologies such as the Paris Equity Check 
<http://paris-equity-check.org/> that propose equitable national 
contributions based on historical emissions and capacity.

Three months after the signing of the Glasgow Agreement all member 
organisations will have produced their first territorial inventory of 
main emitters and new projects. After that, the process of building the 
corresponding climate agenda will begin, with information such as 
priorities for shutdown and transformation. In each territory the 
members will produce these collectively. The information will be 
centralised and publicly accessible on the Glasgow Agreement 
<https://glasgowagreement.net/> website, and reported directly to all 

There will be working groups that will receive communication from all 
member organisations on any required assistance. Global, regional and 
territorial assemblies will be used as spaces for strategy and coordination.


 1. In this context, organisations are different types of groups such as
    social movements, collectives, grassroots groups, associations,
    communities, and non-governmental organisations, both formal and
    informal, either local, regional, national or international, of a
    non-profit nature, and excluding political parties and religious
 2. We define democratic planning as the full participation by workers
    and society in the productive life of the community. The direction
    and control of the economy must be accomplished by agreement,
    persuasion, participation, consultation and other free democratic
 3. Energy sovereignty is the right of conscious individuals,
    communities and peoples to make their own decisions regarding energy
    generation, distribution and consumption in a way that is
    appropriate within their ecological, social, economic and cultural
    circumstances, provided that these do not negatively affect others.
 4. Energy sufficiency is a state in which people’s basic needs for
    energy services are met in an equitable way whilst, at the same
    time, the impacts of the energy system do not exceed environmental
 5. Extractivism is understood as a form of production based on the
    ever-expanding extraction of materials and of surplus with disregard
    for all impacts on the environment and society.
 6. In this context, civil disobedience is defined as a nonviolent,
    purposeful and justified breach of laws made publicly, directed at
    governments, public and private companies and infrastructures, which
    we intend to use as a last resort, as past actions have shown that
    political and economic power has been unyielding and apathetic with
    regards to the global environmental crisis. We interpret it as a
    collective tactic used with sincerity and moral conviction, which
    advocates for justice among free and equal persons, and consists of
    carefully chosen actions using legitimate non-violent means. We will
    be open and accountable for our acts of civil disobedience, and will
    act in solidarity with others facing repression or legal
    consequences for their actions of civil disobedience. Given the
    worsening climate and ecological emergency, we are convinced that
    inaction is criminal, and we believe ourselves to be liable to be
    held accountable if we fail to break the laws that establish,
    protect or reproduce the collapse of our global environmental
    material condition.

We are more than 150 organisations from around the world that have 
committed to the Glasgow Agreement!

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://lists.openspaceforum.net/pipermail/wsm-discuss/attachments/20210414/475e5bb1/attachment.htm>

More information about the WSM-Discuss mailing list