By LENA SOUZA
The deepening of the climate crisis and setbacks in countries’ commitments set the tone for the COP27 to be held under the Egyptian dictatorship of El-Sisi.
Once again, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which will take place between Nov. 6 and 18, 2022, will present negative balances of the targets needed to keep the global rise in temperatures at 1.5 degrees Celsius from the Paris Agreement. Moreover, it will take place in Egypt, a country ruled by dictator Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who prohibits and criminalizes meetings and protests, blocks access to information and arrests and murders activists, disregarding any human right.
Climate failure and deepening crisis
The thirteenth report on countries’ updated pledges since COP26, held in Glasgow in 2021, shows a negligible change between the emission reductions that should be expected until 2030 and what should limit global warming below 2 °C, preferably 1.5 °C as envisaged in the Paris agreement. Based on NDCs, the so-called nationally determined contributions, policies currently in place around the world point to a temperature increase of 2.8 degrees by the end of the century, according to the report.
There is a big difference in what countries commit to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and what is needed to prevent the climate crisis from deepening further. And it must be considered that, according to studies on the subject, even if there were a decarbonization process, the greenhouse gases already present in the atmosphere and current emission trends would have climate impacts until 2040 .
According to the scientist and co-author of the report, Joana Portugal: “We have an emissions reduction of less than a gigaton, equivalent to a billion tons of CO2, which is a bit frustrating, because on the one hand, we are experiencing a climate emergency at the same time as a pandemic, and now a major energy crisis due to the conflicts in Europe. So, in fact, perhaps it would seem that in the face of other emergencies that have occurred in humanity, the climate issue is less important, when in fact there is a great correlation between all the crises and emergencies that we are currently experiencing” .
In fact, the crisis provoked by the pandemic and by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sidelined global warming, scuttling speeches such as that of Biden, who during his campaign promised to implement a policy to end dependence on fossil fuels. However, he actually encouraged the increase in production of oil and gas companies, using as a justification the increase in prices and the reduction in supply by Russia. Several EU countries are also reactivating coal plants and turning to African and other countries as new gas suppliers.
The argument used by Biden and European governments for investing in oil and gas and even coal plants is that there is no other way out. However, a new report published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) states that “planned investments in new oil and gas fields by 2030 could fully finance the increase in wind and solar power needed to reach the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°” .
The climate crisis continues to cause direct impacts on the lives and livelihoods of the world’s poor, causing loss and suffering, mainly in the marginalized sectors of the poorest countries.
Crop-decimating droughts, extreme heat, and unprecedented floods already threaten food security. According to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), between 2008 and 2022, more than 20 million people had to flee their homes due to floods and storms, and the same report forecasts that climate change will put between 32 million and 132 million people into extreme poverty over the next decade.
In the year 2022 alone, since June, 1695 people have died in Pakistan as a result of flooding caused by monsoon rains. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) report, the floods will increase food insecurity; 5.7 million people live in flood-affected areas. It is estimated that more than 2 million homes have been destroyed and hundreds of thousands of families are living in temporary camps, not to mention the spread of disease, which may lead to more deaths, particularly among children.
And while such catastrophes are occurring, causing real chaos for the lives of poor and vulnerable people, the implementation of a mechanism for loss and damage financing proposed by developing countries and COP26 has not yet left the table. Possible financial arrangements aren’t scheduled to be finished until 2024.
Another failed summit in dictator El-Sisi’s country
In addition to presenting results that prove once again the failure of the administrators of global capitalism to ensure the preservation of the planet, COP27 is taking place in Egypt, a country where the government does not even guarantee human rights. Demonstrations and meetings are banned in the country and, according to information compiled by the NGO Human Rights Watch, “Egypt’s foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, said his government plans to designate ‘a facility adjacent to the conference center’ in Sharm el-Sheikh, in the Sinai Peninsula, where the meeting will be held, for activists to organize protests and express their views.” In other words, there will be no freedom of demonstration.
The same NGO predicts that, given the human rights abuses practiced by the El-Sisi regime, it is very likely that there will be “physical and digital surveillance against COP27 participants,” with even greater risk for LGBTQ+ participants, as the government arrests and prosecutes LGBTQ+ people in Egypt. Furthermore, he predicts that the possibility of Egyptian environmental activists demonstrating during the COP is small, as past experiences show that there may be reprisals against them after the event.
Capitalism does not guarantee freedom—or a future
With the capitalist system increasingly in decline, what awaits us and future generations is the deepening of the barbarism we are already witnessing in all areas of our lives. We must face the increasing cost of living, violence, unemployment, precariousness of our rights and, in addition, a planet in complete imbalance caused by the policies implemented by a class that in order to guarantee its profits leads us to a path of destruction.
And to ensure the implementation of their plans, they deepen and intensify the use of force against freedom of expression and organization so that workers and youth do not seek a new path for the necessary destruction of this system.
That is why we always affirm that only by destroying the capitalist system and building a socialist society that guarantees freedom and equality can we change the future of our planet and guarantee a future with quality of life for future generations.
Photo: Yves Herman / WPA Pool / Getty Images