From New York to Santiago de Chile: Navigating the road to climate justice: Page 2 of 3
from within broader social and economic struggles. The general consensus was that capitalism was largely to blame for bringing us to the brink of a climate-induced catastrophe that could destroy humanity. Capitalism is predicated on the devouring of increasing amounts of raw materials and energy. Its insatiable hunger for profits has led highly industrialized countries to colonize and plunder territories and countries in the global South. This process continues today under the guise of investment deregulation, trade liberalization, and the privatization of the commons. Most recently, the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land warned that land degradation, of which monopoly agro-TNCs are largely culpable, is increasing our vulnerability to climate change while compromising food security and biodiversity.
Today, the people of the global south face a slew of environmental threats that further amplify pre-existing poverty and inequalities.
Inaction at Climate Action
Many of the world’s biggest emitters were visibly missing at the summit. US President Donald Trump made an appearance but left as soon as he arrived. The US has threatened to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. It is not on track on its voluntary commitments to the accord in any case and has even rolled back a host of its national environmental regulations meant to curb GHG emissions.
Brazil, Japan, Australia, and Canada were also missing. None of these countries have yet signified intentions to enhance their nationally determined contributions by 2020. The European Union has not mentioned cutting emissions faster either.
The refusal of developed countries to take bolder climate action is driving the reluctance of countries such as China and India to issue stronger and swifter targets to transition towards low-carbon development pathways.
Without their participation, the global community cannot limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
During the summit, nine additional countries pledged to replenish the Green Climate Fund (GCF) but several major contributors have remained silent so far. The GCF is a critical part of the Paris Agreement and it needs to get back into shape sooner rather than later.
Against the backdrop of new data from climate science revealing the quickening pace of warming and the continued procrastination of world leaders, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres could not help but express exasperation in his opening remarks:
“I will not be there, but my granddaughters will, and your grandchildren, too… I refuse to be an accomplice in the destruction of their one and only home.”
Mr. Guterres’s message targeted those governments that used public coffers to subsidize fossil fuel projects that “boost hurricanes, spread tropical diseases and heighten conflict.”
The road to Santiago
The 25 th COP in Santiago de Chile is critical. We need to build on the lively discourses and actions initiated by youth climate activists to achieve an equitable deal. Such a deal has to be founded under the principle of common but differentiated responsibility or CBDR as defined in the Kyoto Protocol of 1997:
"…commitments under the convention will depend on the effective implementation by developed country parties of their commitments under the Convention relating to financial resources and transfer of technology and