Mausam 6
. . . talking climate in public space

by India Climate Justice Collective

first published 6 June 2016

The sixth issue of the new Mausam, the India Climate Justice Collective's magazine connecting climate debates to local struggles over land, livelihood and food rights, highlights the acidification of the oceans caused by high emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases; analyses the December 2015 Paris climate agreement; and reports on a WTO judgment against India’s solar power plans.

Although India is the third largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world, its average per capita emissions are less than half the world average – although that for richer people in India is near the global average and is about 12 times that of the poor in the country.

Of the December 2015 Paris climate Agreement, Mausam concludes that political leaders the world over are fiddling while the planet burns. The Agreement will come into force when 55 countries having cumulative emissions of 30 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent ratify it. But its focus on voluntary cuts and more carbon trading suggest that ratification is itself a recipe for disaster -- "a bad deal is worse than no deal". Greenhouse gas emissions are still on track to cause eventual global warming of three degrees Celsius, if not higher, temperatures of which human civilizations have no experience.

A WTO dispute settlement body has ruled that India’s domestic content requirement for some solar power projects in the country violates WTO prohibitions on discriminating against international trade partners.

Four people protesting against coal-fired plants in the Bangladeshi Sundarbans were shot dead by police and company employees in April 2016, clearly illustrating that "coercion, capitalism and climate change are part of a single continuum".

Extensive forest fires raged across large parts of the western Himalyas in April and May 2016, exacerbated by commercial tree plantations and global warming.

Larry Lohmann of The Corner House argues in an interview that for the worldwide climate justice movement to be meaningful and effective, the climate issue needs to be linked with a range of people’s struggles and find overlaps with the issues they raise, while people’s movements and Left politics in general need to incorporate wider ecological crises and concerns.