Pablo Solón Addresses the Closing Session at 'Dirty Energy Week'

Friday, 25th November 2011 - Pablo Solón, the former Bolivian Ambassador to the United Nations, delivered the closing address at the Dirty Energy Week, a strategy conference which has been organised by the South African based environmental justice NGO groundWork, together with 14 national and international NGOs, and community organisations [1].  The week- long conference events sought to build generated solidarity amongst communities victimised by fossil fuels, and to expose and challenge false energy solutions and carbon trading within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties 17 (COP17), now known to climate justice activists as 'Conference of Polluters'.

Solón, was the sole voice of conscience at COP16 in Cancun, Mexico, and was the only delegation to vote against the outcomes of the Cancun negotiations which failed to make progress on the steep, binding emission cuts for developed countries that the planet needs for survival according to all reputable scientists.   Solón, said that Bolivia did not feel alone in Cancun for they had the support of peoples movements.  The Cancun agreement provided a platform to propping up the weak 'pledge and review' system imposed by the Copenhagen Accord and by subsequent US bribery and bullying (as revealed by WikiLeaks US State Department cables), which would lead to a devastating five degree Celsius warming. The SA government even terms the outcome of the Copenhagen Accord – which Jacob Zuma signed in December 2009 – as 'potentially catastrophic'.

Solón, a social movement activist, has undertaken various diplomatic postings with the Morales government.  As the UN Ambassador, Solón spearheaded successful resolutions on the Human Right to Water, International Mother Earth Day, Harmony with Nature and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. At a crucial time, he helped initiate the World People's Conference on Climate Change in Cochabamba in April 2010, which today is a rallying position for movements challenging the failure of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference.

Solón spoke to community activists and NGOs from around the world who have interrogated the UNFCCC, its many 'False Solutions', and local community resistance to dirty energy projects including fracking, tar sands, dams, shale oil, crude oil, coal to liquid, mining, oil refining and so-called Clean Development Mechanism projects. [2]   Last month's fire at Engen's oil refinery in South Durban that left 100 Settlers Primary School students hospitalised is only a small reflection of the devastation caused by our addiction to fossil fuels.

Today, the conference focuses on the grand purpose of building a post fossil fuel reality including on how local national and multi-lateral momentum for climate justice can be maintained.


[1] Alternative Information Development Centre; Centre for Civil Society, UKZN; Earthlife Africa Jhb; Federation for Sustainable Environment; Friends of the Earth International; Global Anti Incineration Alliance; Greenpeace, Africa; groundWork; Oilchange; Oilwatch; Sierra Club; South Durban Community Environmental Alliance; Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance; Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO)

[2] See Press Release Dirty Energy Week Day Two here.