By: Habib Maalouf- Beirut
Dr. Habib Maalouf - Beirut
Exclusive to Environment and Development Horizons (Afaq magazine):
The global issue of climate change is among the biggest issues affected by the recent (Russian-Ukrainian) war, although, in terms of its consequences, it is more destructive than any conventional war.
It seems that this issue will not be of interest to the main countries directly or indirectly concerned with this war. Because the motives behind it, i.e. the race to acquire resources, are the same ones that caused the destruction of resources and the global climate.
One of the results of this war is that the European Union countries, which were historically considered leveraging for the issue of climate change, especially during the retreat of the United States and its withdrawal from the relevant agreements, are now going towards increasing spending on military instead of focusing on the financing of climate related issues.
One hundred billion dollars was required annually for the Climate Fund after 2020, according to the Paris climate agreement in 2015 and the outcomes of the 2009 Copenhagen summit, and now the European Investment Bank is looking to raise the same amount (one hundred billion dollars) for the reconstruction of Ukraine.
European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, recently announced the EU bloc's intention to increase the total military expenditure by $200 billion in the coming years, in light of the situation in Ukraine.
After the focus of the last pre-war era was on how to secure gas and its supply lines, the focus became how to overcome the (Russian) natural gas issue, which negatively affected the international energy policies in general.
This war restored the use of coal as well, after the Glasgow Climate Summit last year considered it for the first time as the globally unwanted fuel, and set specific and varying end dates to get rid of it.
In addition, some countries have reconsidered their energy policy to return to nuclear energy after they had set programs to end using it, especially after the Fukushima accident in 2011.
How will these dramatic changes at the global level be reflected on developing countries that suffer from crises that are no less severe? Or rather, how will those countries deal with these dangerous global conflicts and divisions?
How will the countries of the Arab region specifically deal with these issues, which will host the climate summits (this year in Sharm el-Sheikh and next year in the Emirates)? What do you expect and what do you suggest to contribute to the alleviation of these destructive international conflicts?
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia launched a green initiative to reduce carbon before the Glasgow Summit (COP26) last year, and today, ahead of the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit (COP27), it is called to increase its production of fossil fuels to contribute to stopping the increase in fuel prices globally and causing major crises in many countries including the United States of America.
At the time when 18 American states recently won lawsuits in the US Supreme Court for not reducing emissions from their coal plants, which would have led to their closure and cause greater economic crises.
I wonder how US President Joe Biden will fulfil his promises towards the climate with his upcoming visit to the countries of the Arab region, especially Saudi Arabia, to demand an increase in fossil fuel production.
On the other hand, the rest of the major countries did not and will not fail to increase their emissions under the pretext of competition in the markets and in almost everything.
There is no division in this world based on contradictions in the economic bases and choices, or different values or civilized models between capitalism, socialism and communism, or between East and West, or between peoples, ethnicities, religions and cultures. It is a one world and everyone is a partner in one way or another in the world-dominant market economy, and everyone competes in this open market, within its rules.
There are no ethical rules for this market. The only rule is the rule of competition, which is essentially without limits. It is a deadly struggle that leads to the depletion or destruction of resources and leads to consequences of the global climate change. It also leads to the manipulation of genes, the threat to biodiversity, the extinction of species and the threat to the human species itself.
Evidence that there are no limits to this conflict, and this competition for access to resources, is the fact that some are waiting for to take advantage of climate changes and the melting of ice to facilitate the process of exploration for oil, gas and other precious metals more and more, even if the continued melting of ice and a rise in the level of ocean and sea waters, a few centimeters every year, leads to the disappearance of inhabited islands and the destruction of the beaches of ancient cities, and the displacement of people in huge numbers more than those who had to migrate due to previous world wars.
Not only that, the development of the use of green technology on a large scale, and within the rules of the competitive market itself, started a new type of competition and conflict to access the needed elements from which this technology is made (used in the manufacture of solar panels, air fans and batteries...), which led to an insane increase in their prices.
In addition to the reviving of the competitive conditions for nuclear energy that were excluded from global attention after the Fukushima disaster in 2011, with scientific and global recognition, that this option has very high risks and costs at all levels.
Where is the world going, and what can the developing countries propose or do in the face of this crazy struggle between the powerful ones?
The quasi-states, or those that are still colonies or semi-colonies, will not be able to propose anything; knowing that they have facilitated the transformation of their land into colonies and their people into mere consumers.
Betting on thinkers from this region to propose new saving philosophies and ideas, based on these existential problems and challenges, in order to plan for new intellectual, values, political and trends. Those ideas cannot be neutral with all this destructive global conflict, but rather open up new horizons of thinking, and a new, third path characterized by humility in thinking, dreaming, working, investing, consuming, etc., with ideas and values that reconsider old values such as sufficiency, while reconsidering the laws of nature and not allowing the laws of the market economy and unlimited investment to bypass them in any way.
Values that combine the protection of nature and resources, and the preservation of human rights and future generations as well.
Translated by: Rasha Abu Dayyeh