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WV Student Attends International Climate Conference in Mexico
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by Joe Gorman WVU SSC | 2011

West Virginia Sierra Student Coalition is present at the UN Climate Conference and protest the clearcutting of the Rainforests!

Dec 10, PUERTO MORELOS, MEXICO — Hola from Mexico. For the past two weeks, UN delegates have been meeting near Cancun for the 16th Conference of Parties (COP16) . With little chance of moving forward on climate, the only policy on the table was REDD+.

REDD+ stands for “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation.” On the surface, the measure would provide financial incentives for preserving forests. But REDD+ would block indigenous people’s access to the forests they’ve managed for millennia, displacing 60 million people according to the Indigenous Environmental Network.

Simultaneously, REDD+ sanctions clearcutting rainforests for palm oil plantations and other monocultures, and sets the stage for mass privatization of land, and huge corporate profits.

All of which is why, on Tuesday, December 7, a mass mobilization was organized to stop REDD+. In the morning, several protesters (including myself) got past police lines to hold “NO REDD” signs and banners directly outside closed-door meetings, where they were seen by dozens of buses full of negotiators. Thousands (including many from La Via Campesina, which represents four million traditional farmers worldwide) marched down the main road from Cancun, stopping traffic in both directions, before being halted by police barricades. Over 300 actions were held in solidarity worldwide.

Our voice was heard, and the UN talks disbanded without adopting REDD+. Now it’s time to begin organizing in support of a strong, binding and equitable climate agreement in 2011 — the COP17 summit will be held in Durban, South Africa.

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