Analyzing the UN Climate Change Summit
The world we live in is full of contradictions. Nations with meager resources have control of the natural resources of nations with them in abundance. Unfortunately because of political repression and manipulated conflicts, our people fight amongst themselves which has left us even more vulnerable to outside attack; such as in the cases of Congo, Sudan, Liberia, where our natural resources of diamonds, coltan and oil have been extracted from their land with long lasting devastating effects. The use of heavy machinery, utilizing the hack – saw way of extracting resources, have contributed to soil erosion , water pollution, and atmosphere contamination. All of this has happened in Africa, a land that has continually been kept economically underdeveloped. The time has come to ask when will the cycle of oppression cease; not only in Africa but in many places around the world and by what end will it all come to a close. Our existence on this planet is being threatened and it’s not by the small subsistence farmer in Nairobi or the rice grower of the Ivory coast, but by the capitalist and neo-colonial governments of the world. It has now come down to whether we as human beings continue to exist on this planet.
Hollywood has made millions showing us how dramatic the end of the world could be. Giving you the impression that if you run fast enough and think hard enough you can escape the devastation. Maybe that’s what imperialist nations like the U.S. or Great Britain thought when they attended the U.N’s COP – 15 summit in Copenhagen. Maybe they thought that they are not susceptible to the environmental devastation that will occur if a solid environmental plan is not put into place and practiced.
The events at COP – 15 have left us all with more questions than answers. More than 200 Nations came to the historic conference to discuss the effects that climate change is having on the world’s people. Coastal areas of Africa are now experiencing desertification, Lake Chad is getting smaller and smaller, drought threatens food and livelihood in places like Kenya, floods are washing away the eastern coast of Africa, and hurricanes and ocean acidification threatens marine life in the small-islands and low-lying coastal developing states (SIDS). Centuries of exploitation and intentional underdevelopment has left Africa and other African nations around the world, susceptible to the elements that have resulted from the poisoning of our environment by imperialist. It is now that we are faced with impending environmental outcome that some of these neo-colonial states are trying to recuperate what they need from the same governments who have oppressed us for so long. It is estimated that the 90 million Africans on the continent live at or below poverty which leads to Africa’s future not being very bright.
How climate is affecting Africa was one of the major topics of discussion. How could we ask those developed nations how they will contribute back to the continent in which they have and continue to wreak havoc upon? Unfortunately Africa’s plight and the plight of nations who have been victims of the imperialism did not get the answer they had hoped for.
It was during the last two days of conference that a new document was introduced, written behind closed doors, which was led by the agenda of the United States. This draft was presented to the remaining nations in attendance to be agreed upon as a reflection of a democratically achieved accord. Point 2 seems to be the area of most contention, which states:
2. We agree that deep cuts in global emissions are required according to science, and as documented by the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report with a view to reduce global emissions so as to hold the increase in global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius, and take action to meet this objective consistent with science and on the basis of equity. We should cooperate in achieving the peaking of global and national emissions as soon as possible, recognizing that the time frame for peaking will be longer in developing countries and bearing in mind that social and economic development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of developing countries and that a low-emission development strategy is indispensable to sustainable development.
G-77 chief negotiator Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, went on record with calling this a “death pact”. Placing a 2 degree Celsius as a worldwide standard leaves Africa and other equatorial nations in a severe position. Citing that in some regions of Africa 1.5 degrees Celsius is the same as the 2 degree Celsius if we make this a standard then it would mean 3 degree Celsius or higher which will lead to complete and utter devastation for many regions of the continent.
But it wasn’t just Di-Aping who raised his eyebrow. Venezuela’s Hugo Chaves, Bolivia’s Evo Morales and even former Cuban President Fidel Castro raised struggle with this accord and left without uniting with it. It would have benefitted the imperialist nations to quickly deal with this issue however the struggling nations of the world are no longer passive. We have seen the effect of imperialism and neo-colonialism for far too long and have come to a point where we just aren’t going to be pushed around anymore.
It goes without saying that there are a million little things we could do to slow down the effects of climate change but the most significant would be for the largest producers of green house gases, to stop. Overall this is the major issue and what is putting this planet off balance. We have to begin to see value in our lives and not stand in fear of the people who maintain an interest in our demise with the result being total control of our resources. We have to begin to take our future into our own hands, through the work of organizations like the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP), where Africans from around the world work together to solve these contradictions in conjunction with addressing the political atmosphere that allows for it to happen. It all comes down to not expecting our historical oppressors to not oppress us anymore. It is as if we are expecting them to one day say , “ok, we’re done.” Such a stance is idealistic at best. If nothing else COP-15 showed us all the vulnerability of capitalism. The question is, what will we do with this gained knowledge?