There is a power that strong words possess.
Words backed by passion.
Words backed by reason.
Words backed by causes.
People who use powerful words to convey their passion, move everyone they encounter and force them to join in their endeavour. One such voice is that of Anna Hazare, a veteran activist and Padma Shri Awardee whose campaign for anti-corruption has brought the country together like never before.
The world is changing and everyone is challenging the status quo.
But most of all common people are getting involved
They are tweeting
They are Facebooking and
They are mobilising for actions to change the status quo for the better.
Along with fellow crusaders, Anna Hazare has drafted an anti-corruption bill — the Jan Lok Pal Bill — to create a law that banishes corrupt politicians and practices — from the top to way down — from public life. And as would be expected, the bill is full of teeth, distinct from the one drafted by the Government. So there is stiff Governmental opposition. Notes Arvind Kejriwal, one of the core activists for the Lok Pal bill, “This is definitely a bigger war than the one for the implementation of the RTI Act. This bill, however, can make them go to jail, will punish them for being corrupt. So obviously, there is a lot of resistance.”
Along with these traditional tools of staging a protest, the movement is also using social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to drum up public support. See www.indiafightscorruption.org to know in detail what the bill proposes and how toothless is the Government’s version. “Technology has surely helped us spread the word, particularly to the young lot,” he admits. Even Avaaz saw thousands sign the petition.
For centuries people have been bearing the brunt of corruption in India. After a point, acting against it was not an option for people, joining the dirty practice was. We, however, have failed to progress beyond thinking what we can do, what we should do, to make it true.
Anna has played his cards very intelligently. He had clearly expressed his point that, he won’t share the dais with any politician, so that, this whole movement doesn’t get politicized. And the kind of support he is getting today is only because of this stand of his.
He is advocating the Lok Pal Bill, that will form an autonomous authority making politicians (ministers), bureaucrats (IAS/IPS) accountable for their deeds. He is asking that the government comes forward to guarantee that this bill will be passed, a bill that has been delayed since 1972.Delaying justice to our nation for over 40years. He also demands that they make a joint committee to DRAFT the LOK PAL BILL. 50% government participation and 50% public participation.
If this bill is passed, a LokPal will be appointed at the centre. He will have an autonomous charge. In each and every state, the appointed Lokayukta will do its job to bring all alleged parties to trial in cases of corruption within 1 year. Within a maximum 2 year time frame, the guilty parties will be punished. Justice will truly be done!
I was struck by the similarities. The cause for better, clean governance; for a broader mandate; for effective action – is the same. The UN negotiations on climate change must deliver. Words have to be converted into actions. And the fight for a better cleaner, more comprehensive agenda was won at the Bangkok talks.
Moved by his words, I thought to myself, there has to be something I could do here at the UN climate talks which could be symbolic of the power of youth to make their voice heard. I wanted to do much more than just a blog.
The Chair of negotiations on the future of the Kyoto Protocal (the strongest legal agreement on climate we have), asked civil society for input on how to help Kyoto move forward. Fueled by the sense of Anna’s radicalism, I put on my thinking hat and brainstormed on possible solutions that could help. I jumped in, along with a group of young passionate youth and together drafted an intervention. While all my friends were at Jantar Matar showing support and signing the AVAAZ petition, I delivered the intervention at the stocktaking plenary on the closing day of the Bangkok Conference. This was my little contribution, in my own little Leela way.
Anna is getting support from all corners of the country. People from all walks of life, whether they are saints, retired judges, social activists, bloggers, actors, other intelligentsia, and regular public are shouting their support for the new age mahatma. One of my friends says he is Mahatma Gandhi 2.0. Indeed, his personality is clean like Mahatma Gandhi, his cause is a noble one, he is getting support from everyone, and he is using the same method of protest that Gandhi used during India’s freedom struggle against British Raj.
His words moved me. His cause moved me , but more than that it moved me that he never gave up on his fight. BUT……..
Its always important to INTROSPECT. In order to see whether you’re being effective in contributing you need to measure your impact at each level.
Tweeting, facebooking and blogging is no longer enough, if you are a part of a corrupt system and encourage it, then no Anna Hazare can help. You need to take it to another level. The last thing you need to do is to politicize it, which is unfortunately happening now.
Anna Hazare gave voice to the frustrations felt by civil society regarding rampant corruption being either shoved under the carpet or completely forgotten. People came together in street corners, at crowded train stations, and universities in support of Anna Hazare; standing by him and demanding action. This proved that we are capable of striving for a common goal. It shows that the youth can stand up when it counts and this means that we will stand up for other causes as well. This is our starting point, to think much beyond Anna Hazare, to not get phased and not lose the momentum. This is the time for us to show concern for issues of poverty, environment and governance, issues that are central to our Future. Issues that will empower us and continue to empower generations to follow.
Everyone can contribute, by just being proactive in things they do in normal life. Challenge the MCDs or your local government office, or just be a responsible consumer.
It takes a man to initiate a movement but, it takes a nation to make it a reality! As someone on twitter said ,“This is the second freedom struggle of india, this is OUR freedom struggle”
There is a power that strong words possess.
Words backed by passion.
Words backed by reason.
Words backed by causes.…
The intersessional in Bangkok 3-8 April 2011 was the first time governments convened after the Cancun climate talks for some pre-sessional workshops and negotiating under the tracks of the Kyoto ( govts agreed to kyoto ) and the Long Term Track ( to include the US ).
As far as the week goes, the workshops before the negotiations proved to be a success as they gave a general outlay of where we are at and how much we have done to combat climate change and actually became a ground for frank discussion. Although how they will feed into the negotiations is still not that clear. Hopefully it will be in the form of a written report. More frequent workshops like this were encouraged to be held.
Long Term Track (LCA)
Negotiations kicked off yesterday, with the usual fight over agenda. There are 2 opinions , one led by the developed world which would like to lock down the Cancun agreements as a proposed work plan on the road to Durban and the other led by developing countries who want basically the agenda to be more based on the Bali road map which is more comprehensive and balanced and adds more things ( in particular the contentious issue of the legal architecture of the outcome) to the Cancun agreements as an agenda to drill out a work plan for the road to Durban. The developing countries believe to first adopt agenda ( found here ) and bring in the hard unanswered questions on legal form and commitments back into the debate. They also are trying to ensure the lack of direct involvement of chair or presidency to give direction and dictate outcomes. This is working on tangible “work plan” and comprehensiveness.
The European Union and the US don’t want this type of agenda, they feel the “work plan” limits capacities of chairs and presidency and hence want to focus on specificity ie Cancun in agenda. The EU agenda can be found here
What the NGO’s say?
False dichomtomy between 2. One or the other, should do both. CAN agenda
The Long term track of negotiations reconvened at 5 30 pm today, with the chair’s new proposed agenda. To which both the developed and the developing countries had a quick reply with their own versions. They have currently broken out into a contact group for drafting a merged agenda. So its happening. After hours of bilaterals amongst countries and meetings with the chair.
The uncomfortable work is finally being done.
Its NOT hit a deadlock.
The agenda is the key to the direction of where we are led.
We ARE on the right direction.
We HAVE started asking the RIGHT questions. The Questions that make governments uncomfortable. ( will you commit to second Kyoto, or will you join Kyoto or when will you put your targets in ).
Remember, its a fight, but its WORTH fighting for.
This is part of the larger progress we are seeing.
As far as progress on the Kyoto protocol track is concerned, agenda has been adopted to talk in a contact group for clarity on the continuation of Kyoto and the commitments and strong political action by countries. Yesterday there were suggestions by Island Nations to have these actions enlisted and drafted as a part of a document. Strong interventions called for countries who wanted countries unable to commit to leave the room. Main impasse lies between whether governments should consider rules or commitments first.
The European Union said that preconditions for kp2 are rules and pledges transformed into local policies, so that it becomes locally binding. The Kp agenda also reflected looking at June Ministerial meeting to ensure political ambition..
Am adjoining the revised questions for Kyoto and Ideas by parties in the photos.
HIGHLIGHTS and ACTIONS
Today, Keep Cool – Stop Warming!” was the slogan on our t-shirts, to call on negotiators to get their act together and agree an agenda. Dan Reifsnyder from the US, the Chair of the LCA negotiations and therefore charged with facilitating a process towards finding that agenda, also got ice cream, and altogether we handed out a few hundred cones and engaged dozens of negotiators in short conversations. The action was driven by our friends from the Nepali youth delegation. A selection of photos can be found here: http://www.mediafire.com/?hlybs1boado7l
On the 4th of April Local A-FAB (Coalition on ASEAN for a Fair, Ambitious and Binding Global Climate Deal) activists wore winter jackets, rain gear and beach wear to portray the on-going climate chaos. Above their heads they held signs symbolizing climate extremes from “record heat” to “extreme rain”, swopping these quickly to show how the climate is changing rapidly and makes it hard to adapt. A young man in beach wear suddenly found himself facing “extreme cold”, while a woman with a coat and gloves was sweating due to a sudden “record heat”. The activists were met by UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christina Figueres, who received A-FAB’s demands for an ambitious global climate deal from world governments on behalf of the region’s most vulnerable and least prepared populations. Photos and video are here http://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/multimedia/photo/ASEAN-must-demonstrate-leadership-in-UN-climate-negotiations/ and more here http://188.8.131.52/newmedia_green/unfccc-afab/pic.zip
Youth made an intervention in the opening Kyoto Protocol plenary.
The bicycle protest unfolding outside the UNESCAP building on 3rd April a helped set the first day of the talks in motion. In the morning, the Thai Cycling Club rallied around a hundred cyclists of all ages in front of the negotiating venue. In the afternoon, the Thai Cycling for Health Association kept the show moving with a bicycle ride across the city, complete with rickshaws and cycles from Bangkok’s new bike share program. The ride culminated in another rally at the UN building to help kick off a new 350.org initiative called “Moving Planet” (official launch later this week). Complete set of photos is now at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/350org/
The intersessional in Bangkok 3-8 April 2011 was the first time governments convened after the Cancun climate talks for some…Read post →
DEC 21, 2012
People have pondered.
Philosophers have proposed.
Mayans have calculated.
Nostradamus has prophesied.
NASA found- solar flares are endorsed.
Atom crashers is preparing itself for a black hole.
Volcanic eruptions are building up.
Religious fanatics have preached.
Meteors have planned to attack.
Physicists have visioned a catastrophic event.
Magnetic poles have decided to reverse.
Aliens have plotted taking over the earth.
But will the will we all die ? MAYBE
why ? BECAUSE of Carbon DIE oxide levels.
DEC 31, 2012
Kyoto Protocol is the strongest political decision to reduce collective greenhouse gas emissions globally. Moreover, its the only protocol that allows for a differentiation between the nature of responsibility between developed countries and developing countries actions. It went as far as acknowledging historically who emitted more.
Kyoto had the power to protect people’s right to development and their future with one little catch – like every good insurance policy, it had to be renewed. And the renewal date for the second commitment period is set for 31 DEC 2012.
The Kyoto Protocol (KP) has been in trouble since US decided not to ratify it. Since then, negotiations to find global solutions to climate change have evolved into two tracks, with one working on an agreement the US might eventually participate in and one building on the work Kyoto could deliver now. The Ad hoc working group on the Kyoto Protocol was established to ensure a second Kyoto commitment period so the world could have a tool for global collaboration on climate change – while the US got it’s act together. Pledges were noted. Markets were established. And projects to reduce carbon DIE oxide levels were set up in countries all over the world.
Until, Copenhagen happened. Governments were so busy involving the biggest country in the world in a dream treaty that they forgot to ensure the future of the Kyoto Protocol and left it out for the talks in Cancun the next year. The fight has always been to defer progress in one track because of lack of progress in another. A bit like a jurisidiction problem faced at local levels back in India – where the MCD says that the work hasn’t been done because of the state gov’t. The state gov’t in turn says due to the lack of progress in the matter at the central gov’t level, they would have to delay decision on proposed action. A simple task of cleaning dustbins or a reviewing tax on property becomes stalled, even though all three levels have the capacity to fulfill and complete the task.
It only gets worse from here. Post-Copenhagen, a key govt, ironically the same govt that hosted the landmark historical conference which gave birth to the Kyoto Protocol, decided to give up its baby. The outlook grew dark as they decided not to carry forward the legacy they initiated by not wanting the 2nd commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.
In Cancun, countries made progress to talk about a so called link between existing kyoto protocol track and the track with the US on it. But there was pressure to make the KP irrelevant. Weaker. Big advanced developing countries like India and China cut a compromise by transcending both tracks and agreeing on verification and monitoring of how they reduce emissions.
But looks like someone’s developed cold feet, or maybe countries just went back and started learning what they did wrong. In Bangkok, talks are centered around what should be the agenda of the conversation. The chair had difficulty in coming up with an agenda for the meeting hence the morning plenary today focused around the key questions of clarity of the next commitment period,steps to raise the level of ambition and to resolve whether commitments should come first or the rules that govern them.
The list can be found here.
With high level of uncertainty of the KP continuing, the G77 group of countries with special emphasis on Tuvalu, Marshall Islands and Small Island States called for STRONG POLITICAL ACTION and a process to draft and come up with a document with country’s commitments listed for the second commitment period (or the KP2 as nerds like myself call it). While countries like Switzerland believed that “We have to understand what the numbers mean and we cannot agree to numbers without knowing what they are” as well as other developed countries.
Climate negotiators might beat all of these millions of people who believe that the world will end in 2012. Not only that, the climate talks will be standing proof of it.
Its still moving in circles. But just like when you learn that you’re dying – you start living fully. I hope negotiators decide for the best, and at least in the most cliche way possible to SAVE THE WORLD from catastrophic climate change and end and 2012.
Just like the Mayans ran out of paper to complete their calendar, scientific studies found to have the wrong assumptions, volcanoes long last dead, the old fashion-ness of Nostradamus and the advent of Twitter and Facebook.
Tomorrow, the mystery will be solved hopefully. And certainty will prevail.
And you, I and the rest of the youth will be able to see our cute babies live beautiful lives.
Last year at this time, I was attempting to finish 5 odd readings of Marx in a day for the final exams of my undergraduate degree.
My roommate asked me , “Leela , aren’t negotiations on? how are you not going to watch them ?”
“coz, I have to study”
Post dinner , the question was posed again, this time by a friend from the youth constituency who happened to be online , “leela, I can’t believe you aren’t watching the fate of the Copenhagen Accord , are you sure you wanna miss the drama?”
Again, i said, “yes, coz, I have to study ”
And then I couldn’t resist it. Its like you’re involved in it. Not because you like listening to countries fight it out , but because you understand what it means for you.
You understand that one comma and one sentence can save the lives for many.
You understand that sometimes one person or one country yields so much power to decide your future,
and you understand that even if you can convince those in your hostel, you have made a difference.
But most importantly, I was doing this for the the tiny little Marx in me.
After the curiosity had killed the cat, I was taken over by an insatiable urge to live stream the climate talks.
The fate of the Copenhagen “agreement” was being decided , with all countries who were facing direct impacts of climate change profusely condemning the agreement on not only the lack of relevant ambition and political promise but on the very process by which the agreement was made. Strong statements by countries an inch above sea level like Tuvalu to angered representatives of smaller nations who were left out in the decision making process.
A group of my hostel mates joined me, fascinated with the way countries were taking the floor. It was like watching a movie. But when it ended ,and all of us were reflecting on what we saw, only strong interventions and speeches were cherished. Thats when I realised words backed by true passion ,move me , like they move everyone else.
In June 2010, another key landmark for Indian position on climate change was made. The principles on which our climate position was based changed. From the rigid per capita equity approach , to a different take on it by the name of “equitable carbon space” came into force.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests organised a workshop cum conference with association with TISS- Tata Insitute of Social Sciences ( a place where most of my classmates applied for masters in development studies) on Global Carbon Budgets and Equity in Climate Change whose report you can find here
http://moef.nic.in/downloads/public-information/tiss-conference-cc-2010.pdf which talked about how we can share the burden of limiting cumulative CO2 emissions over 2000-50 to 1,000 Gt CO2 which would attempt to keep warming lower than 2 degrees Celsius.
It builds on the idea of a carbon space, meaning the volume of carbon dioxide (CO2), measured in billions of metric tonnes, that humans could safely emit within a given time period, in this case over the half century 2000-2050. It fixes that budgeted space to be distributed among nations and regions between 2000 and 2050 at 393 billion metric tonnes (Gt) of carbon (p 44), that is, 1,440 Gt of CO2. The figure is based on a study published in the journal Nature, which sought to model probabilities of what quantum of emissions between 2000 and 2050 would limit warming through this century to an average 2o C above pre-industrial temperatures, a level that is accepted, though not universally, by many climate scientists and others as a dangerous level of warming.
Nothing is perfect.
There is a quick and detailed critique on this approach. First, its assumptions are too generous, and hence, undermine its own stated objective of seeking to prevent reaching dangerous levels of warming. Second, it defines equity in exclusively nation state terms, hence rendering that key issue limited and incomplete.
Three, its frame inherently does not capture the core issue behind global warming, which is the logic of industrial capitalism.
This summer, again we are together, and have been given a space to resolve largely contentious issues by giving a perspective of where we’re at. In the presentations for the workshops India has displayed the same equity based carbon space approach as if officially drafted last summer. With regard to workshop on actions taken by India to reduce emissions, Girish Pant presented a slideshow. He was asked a few questions about agricultural emissions and their accounting in India’s target. The best summary I found was on Jake Schmidt’s Blog
India has made a commitment to reduce its emissions per unit of GDP 20-25% below 2005 levels by 2020 (excluding agriculture emissions). In the presentation, they highlighted several measures that they are taking to meet this goal. For example, India recently adopted a tax on coal to create a fund for renewable energy. They have a National Mission to improve energy efficiency, including through adopting appliance efficiency standards and efforts to increase the use of fluorescent lighting (two-thirds of lighting in India is already fluorescent light bulbs, as they outlined). They are developing a program to scale solar electricity generation to 22,000 MW by 2022 – 600 MW of which has been contracted in 2010 and more will be contracted this year. They also have efforts to increase renewable energy generation to 72,000 MW by 2022 – currently 9% of installed electricity capacity is from renewable sources and this will take it up to 20%. And they have a program to increase forest cover by 20 million hectares at an additional cost of $1 million per year. There are other measures that they didn’t list which NRDC noted in a recent fact sheet.
This time at Bangkok ,we have come together to carry forward the Cancun Agreements. The same people, and the same fiery voices of Tuvalu, Venezuela , Egypt and the Switzerland negotiators haunting me again and again.
And the same debate on the agenda.
But after the noise is lost and everything drains out, there is nothing left but a fight.
A fight that you need to get involved in.
Coz this is more about you, than the people who are negotiating on your behalf!
Last year at this time, I was attempting to finish 5 odd readings of Marx in a day for the…Read post →
Yesterday I joined with millions of Indians all over the world, bearing witness to history in the making. A team of 15 men hailing from all parts of India defended national pride and love for cricket by playing against fellow South Asian country, Sri Lanka, for the Cricket World Cup 2011.
The Sri Lankan Lions put up a great score of 275 in the opening innings and left Indians flummoxed and in an extremely challenging position. But as they say, if Cricket is a religion, there is only one GOD and that is SACHIN TENDULKAR.
The whole match hinged on the performance of our opening batting pair, Veeru (Sehwag) and Sachin. After their dismissal, Indians all over the world, including myself live streaming into the match, hoped against hope that the team would survive. And they did. The team went as men and emerged as gods. To be worshiped forever.
But with this great victory, came great insight, most of which can provide clarity on what happens at the Climate Change Conference and how governments could win against climate change together.
1. Its a team game
Everyone needs to be in this together. Whether you’re a poor country or a rich one, the vulnerable or the oil rich, the islands or the mountain alliance – you have to put up a fight against climate change together. Internal frictions exist amongst teams, but when on the field you’re one.
2. There is a common goal. Chase the target or get a big score on the board.
Everyone knows how much CO2 needs to be reduced and by what timeline, but at the moment countries are missing the big picture. Of the existing pledges and actions, there is a gap on the order gigatonnes of CO2 reductions missing (developed countries need to commit to more than 40% of emissions below those in 1990 by the year 2020). Moreover you need to establish a long term goal and stick by it (a peak emission year for economies that are expanding, and a long-term goal of reducing at least 80% emissions below 1990 levels by 2050).
After all, sometimes teams are able to put less runs on the board (less ambitious reduction targets for co2), you have to stand by the target (at least reduce that much) and go beyond to meet the larger goal (be more ambitious).
3. Everyone contributes according to their capacity
A Harbhajan is not expected to hit a century but to bowl well. A Sehwag lets his bat do the talking for him. A Raina is ace at fielding but needn’t bowl. Everyone performs according to their respective capabilities pretty much like countries at climate talks. They pledge or commit to reduce emissions according to their respective capabilities – the technical wonkys call it ‘common but differentiated responsibility’ and ‘respective capability’.
4. Need a strong opening pair
Sachin and Sehwag are among the best opening batsman in the world. Sehwag batted like an item girl who sizzles for a few minutes and disappears thereafter, breaking bowlers into pieces. Sachin was more of a class act – the “master blaster” who stabilized and hammered bowling orders to such an extent that he must have given world class bowlers like Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne nightmares.
For the climate talks to really deliver we need the two strongest and most powerful polluters in the world to show ambition and promise. The China – US partnership, once established, could help us win against run-away climate change.
5. Need public support
No team wins on its own. Usko jeetana parta hai (we have to make them win!), and for gathering support for climate change you first need to believe that its happening. Read, share and contribute your stories and your personal experiences.
Basically, domestic political conditions continue to determine how far and how fast UN negotiations move. For example, in India, many in parliament reacted negatively to some of the progressive positions that India took in Cancun. How can India win without Indian’s making their team win? So you need to step up and support!
6. Fighting the nerves and balls of steel
We could have collapsed to 220 all out, but two crucial lower-order partnerships involving Dhoni/ Yuvraj and Dhoni/Gambhir led Team to a win. India showed class and poise when the chips were down. Countries like the US and Europe should show poise when political situations might be challenging.
7. Being flexible
The flexibility and attitude of Indian players is reflected in their fielding. We should keeping our negotiating positions strong but agile so that we have a grey area where we can find compromise in the spirit of the larger goal.
8. Great coaching
Steering the process in the right directions and setting the tone is critical. No one is better than Christiana Figueres to do that in international climate talks – very much like our Garry Kirsten (coach of the Indian Team)
9. Perfect timing. Delivering when required.
With the world facing unprecedented natural disasters, freaky change in weather, and nuclear crisis, its the perfect time to shift to greener economies with special emphasis on the renewable sources of energy. And nothing like delivering that shift in the upcoming Durban climate talks.
10. Cricket Diplomacy
Cricket drives politics. Politics drive positions. Positions drive response to climate change.
Needless to say. You always need luck.
And more than luck. Hope.
And more than hope. Faith.
See this video and you will feel the faith, cheer and power of people
and dont miss the photos here
About the authorLeela Raina
Leela is a young climate activist with an undergraduate degree in Economics. She has pioneered youth involvement, awareness and movements across India through her work with the Indian Youth Climate Network. A policy enthusiast, Leela loves to research and get to the bottom of the problem to resolve it. She is currently the South Asian Focal Point for IYCN and believes in the capacity of the south asian youth to usher in and lead the way towards sustainable economic growth