Democracy Now! - December 4, 2015

On Monday, President Obama praised fellow world leaders for submitting voluntary pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions. "Already, prior to Paris, more than 180 countries representing nearly 95 percent of global emissions have put forward their own climate targets," Obama said. "That is progress. But a handful of nations are refusing to make pledges." We speak to Nicaragua’s chief climate negotiator, Paul Oquist, about why his country refused to submit a pledge.

The first week of U.N. climate talks is wrapping up. On Monday, nearly 150 world leaders, including President Obama, gathered in Paris on the first day of the talks. Obama praised fellow world leaders for submitting voluntary pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions, but others criticize what they see as empty promises. "President Obama said that the developed world and the United States will assume its responsibility and will do something about it to combat climate change," says Meena Raman, climate change coordinator for the Third World Network. "However, that is quite rhetorical. If you look at the way the negotiations are going, the United States negotiators and their positions in the talks are far away from assuming any responsibility. What they’re doing is shifting the responsibility to the developing world… So what President Obama says is ringing hollow."

In Nicaragua, thousands of rural residents from across the country flocked to the capital Managua in October to protest the construction of a canal linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The $50 billion project will be larger than the Panama Canal and could displace up to 120,000 people. Many Nicaraguan residents traveled days to attend the protest in Managua. Police reportedly set up multiple roadblocks in a bid to prevent them from reaching the capital. Farmer Rafael Ángel Bermúdez was among those calling for the repeal of a 2013 law allowing a Chinese firm to expropriate land in order to build the canal. We speak to Nicaragua’s chief climate negotiator Paul Oquist.

In 1988, James Hansen first warned about the dangers of climate change when he testified before Congress. At the time he was NASA’s top climate scientist. He would go on to become the nation’s most influential climate scientist. This year he is making his first appearance at a U.N. climate change summit. He has come to Paris to warn world leaders that they are on the wrong track to prevent dangerous global warming.

Africa has been praised here in Paris for leading the way on renewable energy, with the African Development Bank announcing this week it would spend $12 billion on energy projects over the next five years. But as Africa forges ahead, will it leave behind women, who often bear the brunt of impacts from climate change? Across the continent, African women are creating their own solutions. We’re joined by climate justice activists from both sides of the African continent. Priscilla Achakpa is a delegate from Nigeria and is with the Women’s Caucus and the Women and Gender Constituency here at the U.N. Climate Summit. She is the Executive Director of the Women Environmental Programme in Nigeria. Edna Kaptoyo is with the Kenya-based Indigenous Information Network. She is a member of the Indigenous People’s Caucus and the Women and Gender Constituency here at the U.N. Climate Summit.

Despite restrictions on protests following the November 13 attacks that killed 130 people, activists attempted to stage a mass sit-in at the Grand Palais in Paris today to protest corporate sponsors pushing for so-called "solutions" to climate change that include genetically modified foods, privatized water and biofuels. We get an update from Pascoe Sabido of the Corporate Europe Observatory.

Full episodes of Democracy Now! can be viewed at the link:

Amy Goodman Climate Change Climate Talks Democracy Now! Global Warming Protests Renewable Energy

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