Last September 17, IBON International and its allied organisations and networks trooped to New York City to join the “March to End Fossil Fuels.” This was in time for the Climate Ambition Summit, where government leaders presented updated ambitions on emissions reduction and renewable energy targets. Bannering the call, “Decolonize to Decarbonize,” IBON International launched a namesake campaign which aims to shed light on the neocolonial plunder in the global South under the guise of transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
Right before the march, the contingent held a short action co-organised by the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) Northeast. Speakers at the action called for a complete phaseout of fossil fuels, linking it with their calls against the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), a US-led economic agreement that would further increase resource plunder and bolster false ‘climate solutions’ in the Indo-Pacific region.
Nina Macapinlac of BAYAN USA slammed Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos Jr., for “brokering false ‘solutions’ to the climate and economic crises” through the country’s participation in the IPEF. She stressed that the IPEF is a way for “the culprits of the climate crisis, the corporations and imperialist nations, to keep countries like the Philippines purposefully underdeveloped in order to get resources and cheap labour.”
Labour leader and political figure from the Philippines, Elmer Labog of Kilusang Mayo Uno, was present in the action. In his speech, he underscored that, apart from driving climate change, the greed of multinational corporations and developed countries are creating conditions that increase the vulnerability of workers in the face of extreme weather events. “We are victims of these imperialist and neoliberal impositions, especially us workers. Our wages are kept very low while prices keep rising,” says Labog. He urged listeners to continue to fight for a planet free from destruction and ended his speech by saying, “We are certain that victory will be in the hands of the common peoples, especially the working class of the world.”
Lorraine Chavez of Call to Action Puerto Rico discussed the need to move away from the privatisation of energy systems in the transition from fossil fuels. This is in reference to the government of Puerto Rico entering into a contract with LUMA Energy, a Canadian-American private company, to privatise the archipelago’s energy system. Lorraine says “the privatisation of energy has subjected the Puerto Rican people to constant outages and raised the energy bills seven times,” adding that “we need to end US imperialism, end fossil fuels, and transition to public renewable energy.”
Jax Bongon, the Policy Officer of IBON International’s Climate Justice Programme, issued a compelling statement: “A ‘just’ transition means undoing the long history and the enduring forms of colonialism.” Bongon also decried the perversion of the energy transition agenda by global North countries and corporations, saying that shifting from fossil fuels “requires uncoupling the energy transition from systems of endless profit extraction and bringing the power to shape the future back to the most harmed peoples—the working class, farmers, Indigenous Peoples, people of colour, women, and youth.”
Following the action, the contingent merged with a broad assembly of climate justice advocates and made their way to the United Nations, where they listened to speeches from leading voices in the fight against fossil fuels.
Bigger and bolder actions are set to happen in the lead-up to the 28th Conference of Parties in early December, where governments will reconvene to come up with some of the most important policies for tackling climate change. Frontline communities, civil society, and peoples’ movements will actively engage in pressuring governments to commit to phasing out fossil fuels and demanding an end to corporate and colonial ‘solutions’ that harm communities, lives, and rights. #