published on 29.10.2022
Less than ten days before the World Climate Conference (COP 27) to be held in Sharm-El-Sheikh (Egypt), last year’s assessment is more catastrophic. The year 2022 has been marked on the planet by a multitude of heat waves, fires, floods and hurricanes.
Since spring, the populations of India and Pakistan experienced extreme temperatures that exceeded 50°C and made life unbearable for human beings and animals. During the summer, much of the Northern Hemisphere was hit by a historic drought. France has experienced a series of heat waves that cause fires, an unprecedented drying of the soil, a sharp decline in water resources and a collapse of agricultural yields. China was suffering from extreme drought and heat, prompting the government to issue a national alert; in the United States, half of the land is affected by the droughts that lead to the parching of the American West.
In the Horn of Africa, unprecedented drought has gone unreported for months as it pushes more and more people into alarming levels of food insecurity. Famine now threatens Somalia.
After extreme temperatures, at the end of September Pakistan was hit by terrible floods. A third of the country is under water, 33 million people are affected; they have seen their homes, livestock and crops disappear. More than 1,700 people, including 528 children, have lost their lives and the death toll is likely to worsen in the face of a looming public health disaster with the threat of looming cholera, malaria and dengue epidemics. difficulties in taking food.
Like the first three quarters of 2022, autumn is characterized by phenomena due to climate change. Hurricane Ian hit Cuba hard and caused significant property damage. Thanks to the preventive policy implemented on the island, the number of victims was limited, which is not the case in Florida where Ian continued on his way, mowing down nearly a hundred people. The Philippines is currently experiencing floods, landslides and preparing for the arrival of a tropical storm. In France, we have been observing abnormally high temperatures for several days.
The enumeration of these extraordinary climatic phenomena is certainly far from exhaustive. They are increasingly frequent and intense, leaving no time for land and populations to recover. The warning calls of scientists and peoples to the governments are without effect. Their inaction is evident. The time is no longer for grandiose announcements, but for action! Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne launched on October 21 the National Council for Reestablishment (CNR) for climate and biodiversity dedicated to issues of ecological transition. But often there is nothing to expect from this high measure. Continuing to believe that there would be a “green capitalism” helps to deceive people in favor of the big riches.
It is imperative to change society. The absolute pursuit of profit, the exploitation of land and people is the foundation of capitalism, it cannot in any way respond to the climate emergency. Almost all of this disruption is due to human activities within the framework of the capitalist system in which they are embedded. The relationship that capitalism has created with the living and planetary balances that authorize the appropriation and exploitation of natural resources is now at the forefront of challenges. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, 80% of which come from G20 countries, must be immediate and sustainable over time. It is the most industrialized and richest countries that bear the heavy responsibility for climate change. Internationals and their corporations install the most polluting industries in the South, while increasingly exploiting workers and monopolizing the resources and wealth of poor countries.
Acting on the climate requires the courage and above all the will to rethink society, its modes of transport, production and consumption, food, agriculture, work… the fields of action are wide. Getting out of the logic of benefiting a few for the good of all is the only compass to follow to act against climate change. For this, it is necessary to redirect the money. Adding up to $100 billion a year to the Green Climate Fund created by the UN to help the most vulnerable countries has not yet been implemented by rich countries. Amounts which, however, are not excessive for the latter, when we see that Germany has chosen to allocate 107 billion euros for the modernization of its army.
In addition, actions to curb climate change must be complemented by risk adaptation policies. The acceleration of the revolution has incalculable consequences; it is the cause in particular of the phenomena of significant migrations. Faced with rising waters, soil depletion or extreme temperatures, populations are forced to leave their land to survive. To date, about 70 million people have already been forced to move, and studies show that by 2050 there will be nearly 200 million. We must now review the conditions for granting refugee status so that these people everywhere can benefit from a dignified reception.
In ten days, COP 27 will begin. One can wonder about the effectiveness of these international meetings which add to national policies and which turn out to be ineffective. Global governance, within UN agencies, of issues affecting the entire world appears more and more as an urgent necessity. In the meantime, a global agreement, legally binding and differentiated according to responsibilities, is the only decision to be made. As eyes and minds turn to Ukraine and the energy consequences of the war unleashed by Russian leader Putin, everything seems to indicate that nothing positive and as expected will come out of this conference. Communists will have to maintain the ideological debate at the same time to get rid of the naturalist concept that considers that man should become the lord and master of nature based on the unlimited exploitation of natural resources. They will also be present and actors in all mobilizations to fight against this climate change. They and they will have to uphold our proposals to preserve the planet and the future of humanity.
Meline Le Gourrierec
member of the international relations commission of the PCF