By: George Kurzom
Exclusive to Environment and Development Horizons (Afaq magazine):
The recent climate summit in Glasgow “COP26”, as well as previous climate summits, has been marked by lots of deception in speeches by many politicians, while the processes of "development" that are only destructive to the environment and the climate continue, and while the main perpetrators of the climate crisis continue to sit in their bubbles of the polluting monopolies, whether it is the banks or the governments, they continue to deplete the essential natural resources and pollute the air, water, seas, surface and the interior of the earth as well as the atmosphere. Therefore, statements and agreements, without any immediate action, will not stop global climate deterioration.
The continuation of the current capitalist development model portends an exacerbation of the ecological crisis, an increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and an unprecedented rise in global temperature. The consequences will be an unprecedented climate reversal of which will be more heat waves, droughts, water scarcity, more floods and possible tsunami events.
It is clear that the climatic and ecological crisis, like all other crises, will not be paid for by the capitalists, and will not be solved by heads of governments, owners of monopolistic companies and experts of international study centers. Rather, the price will be paid primarily by those who are oppressed on this earth.
Climate justice and sustainable development, as well as social justice and the rule of democracy, will not be achieved by the polluting and destructive monopolies of the environment and the climate, nor will they be achieved by governments and institutions that protect the interests of capitalism, but rather by a battle waged by the affected peoples themselves. Changing the prevailing economic system that exalts the consumption lifestyle is the predictable introduction to a radical and qualitative response to the global climate crisis.
In conclusion, the people, the social movements and the democratic forces have no choice but to unite to end the dominance of the market economy, reduce the dictatorship of international economic and financial institutions. Development policies based on the continuous increase in growth rates that lead to deepening the exploitation of workers and farmers and attrition of the nature - should be replaced with a new and just economic system based on meeting the basic needs of people, respecting natural balances and ecosystems, and securing conditions for a decent and sustainable life.
The irony is that more than 80% of the hungry in the world live in areas that are most vulnerable to natural disasters and environmental degradation. This confirms the deep relationship between regions experiencing extreme climatic changes and poverty and hunger.
Therefore, profound changes in agricultural production patterns and food systems must also be brought about, with real support for hundreds of millions of smallholder farmers who produce about 80% of the world’s food, and their social protection to enable them to face climatic risks, and reducing their sensitivity to food price instability. And to increase the job opportunities of rural farmers who have been or will be displaced due to disruptions and climatic disasters that devastate agricultural lands, forests and seas to which the agricultural sectors and the peoples’ sovereignty over their food are linked.
Global poverty cannot be eradicated, unless ecologically sustainable methods of managing agricultural soils, water, fishing and afforestation are applied.
It goes without saying that the necessity of working to eliminate chemical and nitrogenous farming, which contribute greatly to the emission of greenhouse gases that eventually cause global warming. This requires the practice of large crop diversification and mixed cultivation, and the integration of agriculture into its natural environment through ecological cultivation that contributes greatly to the adaptation of small farmers to global warming.
It also requires the abolition of existing policies in some countries, represented in supporting agricultural patterns that destroy natural and climatic balances, such as subsidizing chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
It is interesting that if the governments wished then with $161 billion—a minimal amount of what the governments spend on subsidizing fossil fuel production—the governments could buy and shut down all the coal-fired power plants in the world. Had it done so, in the process of transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy, it would have produced additional workplaces. According to recent research by Oil Change International, Britain could create three jobs in clean energy companies, instead of every job lost in the oil and gas industry.
Currently, there are many groups and movements in the world that are trying to stress the need to change the situation. The campaign to draft an agreement to ban the spread of fossil fuels has been signed by thousands of scientists and more than a hundred Nobel Prize winners. “Europe Beyond Coal” includes -under its umbrella- movements from various parts of Europe, with the aim of stopping the opening of new mines and closing the existing ones. It is noteworthy that the governments of Denmark and Costa Rica established an alliance called “Beyond Oil and Gas”, and the doors of this alliance are open for more governments to join.
In fact, we already have the technology to replace fossil fuels while huge amounts of money are currently wasted on destroying life on Earth.
If governments wanted to, the transformation could take place in a matter of months. The only thing preventing this transformation is the power of the existing polluting industries and the people who benefit from those industries, who are building their financial fortunes at the expense of the existence and future of humanity.
This reality must change, and the diverting of attention with noisy words we heard about at the Glasgow conference, has one goal of 'thwarting the radical transformation process'.
Translated by: Rasha Abu Dayyeh