Is the Paris climate conference designed to fail?

… by ISE director Brian Tokar. Addressing common myths about the upcoming Paris conference, how events since the 2009 Copenhagen conference have set the stage for what could be a fatally flawed agreement, and how activists in Europe and the US are responding:

Image via
Image via

For much of the past year, the main discussion among activists in Europe has not been about whether or not the Paris negotiations will succeed. Instead, the debate has largely focused on whether to give the negotiations any credence at all, or whether it’s time to view the entire UNFCCC process as thoroughly corrupted and hopelessly beholden to fossil fuel corporations and the interests of global capital. Climate justice activists have raised analogies to the notorious World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle in 1999 where blockades by thousands of people on the outside helped spur African delegates to hold their ground and prevent a harmful new trade agreement from being advanced on the inside. In this view, the best hopes for Paris lie with those seeking to build upon the massive demonstrations in Copenhagen, the Occupy-style disruption of the Durban COP in 2011, and the walk-out by global South delegates from the Warsaw meeting in 2013.

Full text is available at CommonDreams, Counterpunch, ZNet, New Compass, Toward Freedom, and a terrific new website, Paris Climate Justice, entirely focused on the upcoming events in Paris. If you’re anywhere in the US Northeast, please join us for a big regional climate justice mobilization on the Boston Common December 12th, the last scheduled day in Paris.

2 Replies to “Is the Paris climate conference designed to fail?”

  1. The Ecologist has run an important commentary in response to the horrific massacre in Paris on 13 November, reminding us that ISIS relies on proceeds from the oil trade, and thus has a stake in undermining any meaningful progress at the Paris COP:

    Also ATTAC-France has posted a pledge to go forward with their plans for later this month, stating in part: “Despite the emotion and sadness, we refuse to give in to terror, we reject the society of fear, stigmatization and scapegoating. We affirm our determination to continue to circulate, to work, to entertain us, to hold meetings and fight freely… From November 29 to December 12 in Paris on the occasion of the COP 21 and with our citizens’ mobilizations, we will show that another world is possible, necessary and urgent.” The full English translation of this statement is at and

  2. I’ve posted an update on the outcome of the Paris conference to many of the websites that posted my original article, plus a few others. My follow-up article, “The Paris Climate Agreement: Hope or Hype?” can be found at,,,,, and other places.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.