Obama to face ITR protests at COP26

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ITR is centering the voices and leadership of frontline communities and workers on the global stage…reports Vishal Gulati

The It Takes Roots (ITR) delegation representing more than 60 frontline communities leaders and organisers will be taking action inside and outside the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) meetings in this Scottish city on Monday.

While former US President Barack Obama will hold a roundtable and meetings with key leaders, the ITR will be highlighting the ‘Monster of Militarism’ and the contradictions of his legacy of militarism, including greater military expansion into the Pacific, the expansion of drone warfare and the use of military interventions on water protectors fighting against the Dakota Action Pipeline.

Communities across the world have been devastated by war and occupation. The action during COP26 will point to the fact that the US military is the single largest consumer of fossil fuels in the world, and has served as the enforcer of occupation of indigenous and sovereign lands while upholding violent resource extraction across the world.

ITR believes that addressing climate change requires ending the military industrial complex.

Among the speakers during the action will be Alejandra M. Lyons of the SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP).

“I am attending COP26 to represent New Mexico and to tell our world leaders that we are not a sacrifice zone. Our land and water must be protected as well as the rights of future Nuevo Mexican generations.

“We need to hold the US military accountable in this climate conversation no matter how much power they hold in our state,” Lyons said.

Sheila Babauta of the Micronesia Climate Change Alliance will address the situation in the Pacific region.

“I am attending COP26 as an indigenous woman from the US territories in the Pacific. With the increasing militarization of the Pacific region and the climate crisis at our shorelines, we must join our allies to amplify our voices and unify on climate solutions.”

Ramon Mejia, the Anti-Militarism National Organiser of Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, is another speaker at the protest.

“Over 790 military bases across 81 countries, colonies, and territories. The world’s largest consumer of fossil fuels, and the worst emitter of greenhouse gases. We cannot meaningfully address the devastation caused by climate change without addressing the top contributors, including the US military.

“The US must come to terms with both the human and ecological costs of maintaining the current course,” he added.

ITR is centering the voices and leadership of frontline communities and workers on the global stage. Its frontline delegation demands that world leaders commit to real solutions to advance climate justice and environmental justice at COP26.

Allowing for neoliberal constructs such as net-zero emissions, which equate carbon emission offsets and technology investments with real emissions reductions at source, would exacerbate existing pollution burdens on frontline communities. ITR is calling for a just transition off of fossil fuels at the international climate negotiations.

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