COCHABAMBA, Bolivia — A fundamental critique of capitalism as the source of climate change pervaded the People’s World Conference on Climate Change, from the opening speech of Bolivian President Evo Morales on Tuesday to the final declaration agreed upon Thursday.
On the first day, as 15,000 people from 125 countries gathered for the summit, Morales laid out his view bluntly: “Either capitalism lives or Mother Earth lives.”
“The main cause of climate change is capitalism,” he continued. “As people who inhabit Mother Earth, we have the right to say that the cause is capitalism, to protest limitless growth. … More than 800 million people live on less than $2 per day. Until we change the capitalist system, our measures to address climate change are limited.”
Bolivia’s lead climate negotiator, Angelica Navarro, echoed Morales’ points: “You cannot create a climate market to solve climate change. You have to address the structural causes. These causes are not only to be measured in terms of greenhouse gases. They are trade, finances, and economy.”
The conference ended on Thursday — Earth Day — in Cochabamba’s downtown stadium, with world leaders and delegates presenting a final declaration that broadly outlined a path forward for addressing both the impacts of climate change and the economic and political structures that have brought it about. That statement will now be taken to the U.N. ahead of the next big international climate conference, COP16, to be held in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of the year…
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