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www.commonwealth.sas.ac.uk ContentsNew Internationalist DECEMBER Issue 428
You may be wondering what Al Gore is doing on the front of this magazine. Hasn't he done an admirable job in raising awareness about the urgency of climate change? Isn't it a bit unfair of the NI to suggest that he views global warming as a means of generating a cascade of dollar bills?
Well, yes and no. Millions of people have been moved by An Inconvenient Truth, but far fewer know that Al Gore was the original climate capitalist. It was Al who, back in 1997, insisted that business-friendly loopholes should be written into the first international climate agreement, allowing the industrialized world to ‘offset’ rather than curb its own pollution. Al has been lobbying hard for the expansion of carbon markets ever since.
Now, I in no way wish to play into the hands of the US climate denialist nutjobs who point to Al's significant investments in carbon trading firms as evidence that climate change itself is a massive scam he dreamed up to boost his personal fortune. That's dangerous nonsense. The scam here is that the world's rich and powerful, including Mr Gore, are claiming they can fix the broken system that has brought us to the brink of climate catastrophe with the same tools that broke it.
This will come to a head at the UN Climate Summit this December in Copenhagen. Hopefully this magazine will help you make sense of what's going on. I'll be there, reporting for the NI, so check our website for news and views you won't find in the mainstream media.
Elsewhere in this issue, Jeremy Seabrook calls for socialism to be rescued, and we mark two 25th anniversaries: the birth of Brazil's Landless Movement, and the world's worst industrial accident in Bhopal, India.
Jess Worth for the
New Internationalist Co-operative
4 In our hands
Will the Copenhagen conference deliver effective action on climate change? Not a chance, argues Jess Worth. So what's the alternative?
Regular Features 2 Letters
Observation not revelation is the road to scientific truth; a bright side to our toxic planet. PLUS: Only Planet Solving the ‘human problem’ should be child’s play, reveal Gort & Klaatu in Marc Roberts’ cartoon. 3 Letter from Cairo
6 Gort and Klaatu's International
Climate Slam-Down Cartoonist Marc Roberts beams his inquisitive aliens down to commentate on ‘a night of bone-crushing, planet-trashing, wrestling mayhem’.
An overseas trip lets Maria Golia see her hometown in a new light. 25 Currents
Bhopal 25 years on; a bitter harvest for Palestinians; and Maasai being kicked off their land in Tanzania. 28 Big Bad World
14 Bond aid
Copenhagen is not the only game in town. There are other ideas for how to keep fossil fuels in the ground. The NI catches up with one of the boldest: Ecuador's Yasuní initiative.
16 Taking care of business
i b b y Z o b e l MA
19 Don't just sit there!
Corporations have taken over the climate agenda. Oscar Reyes reveals who, how and why.
The NI guide to how you can take action for climate justice, whether you’re in Copenhagen, in a major city or online.
i m a t e c h a o s G
i n g / s t o p c l
i n c a n n
j u s t
Polyp’s climate change-o-meter. PLUS: NI Prize Crossword. 29 Worldbeaters
Daniel Ortega, revolutionary hero turned renegade President. 30 Mixed Media
From sticky lambing to petcrucifixion-by-scissor in this month’s films; the indefatigable rapper Sister Fa; plus a family, a ram and Saddam in Rodaan Al Galidi’s compelling novel. 32 Southern Exposure
GMB Akash photographs children being children at a dump yard in Bangladesh. 33 View from Vancouver
Front cover: Stephen Munday www.threeinabox.com Magazine design: Alan Hughes. All monetary values are expressed in US dollars unless otherwise noted.SPECIAL Feature21 We are millions The MST (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra – Brazil’s landless people’s movement) – has been described as the world’s most dynamic social movement. Gibby Zobel joins in its 25th anniversary celebrations and explains why its existence is more important than ever.
A meeting of the Word Psychiatric Association provides food for thought for Joanna Cheek. 34 Essay: Rescuing Socialism
A red-green revival is possible, argues Jeremy Seabrook. 36 Country profile: Eritrea