Monday, November 07, 2016

COP22 - No Marrakesh Express

“Climate change is already affecting people – killing crops, flooding homes and destroying lives.“ - Tracy Carty, Oxfam.

 The debate on climate change has moved from Paris to Marrakesh in Morocco and COP22 from 7-18 November, for more contentious proposals. In Marrakesh, countries will focus on “loss and damage” protocols developed to help communities deal with the impact of climate change through a variety of financial measures. A 135 million people are at risk of displacement due to land degradation and  tens of millions risk being impoverished as their livelihoods are threatened, many nations seek attention on the under-resourced climate institution such as a newly established displacement task-force which anticipates an exacerbation displacement of the problem of “climate migrants” and their lack of legal protection under present international refugee law.

The promise of $100 billion per year developed nations committed themselves to find by 2020 has already severely criticised for “double counting” existing aid flows and exaggerating of the rate at which public money can leverage private funds. “Fuzzy maths” and dodgy accounting are being used by wealthiest nations to 'overstate the actual support provided to developing countries by a large margin', Oxfam says. The world’s wealthiest countries are paying far less money to the poorest nations to help them cope with the effects of climate change than they claim, according to a new report by Oxfam. According to official figures, the developed world gave or helped raise about $41bn (about £33bn) a year in 2013 and 2014 to pay for renewable energy schemes, flood defences, and other such projects. Instead of $41bn, the net assistance to developing countries was estimated at between $11bn and $21bn.  Most of the money is being spent on measures designed to reduce the rising global temperatures, rather than projects to help the poorest countries cope with its effects – like developing new ways of farming to produce enough food for people to eat. Oxfam estimated as little as $4bn may have been spent on ‘adaptation’. While wealthy Governments say they will provide $67bn of public money a year by 2020 – with the rest of the $100bn supposedly coming from private sources – Oxfam projected the real figure could be as low as $18bn.

Oxfam pointed to the current food crisis in Africa where tens of millions of people are struggling to get enough to eat amid a drought exacerbated by climate change and this year’s El Nino weather system, saying this was a sign of things to come if more was not done.
“The world’s poorest people who are the most vulnerable to climate change are the least responsible, yet only a fraction of the money available is going to help them adapt. Climate finance is a lifeline for vulnerable people that are on the frontline of coping with climate change. The greater the share of the $100bn that is miscounted or over-counted, the less they receive to deal with floods, droughts, and other extreme weather,” explained, Tracy Carty, Oxfam's climate policy lead who co-authored the report “The world’s poorest people who are the most vulnerable to climate change are the least responsible, yet only a fraction of the money available is going to help them adapt.” 

The United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) said that pledges put forward to cut emissions would see temperatures rise by 3C above pre-industrial levels, far above the the 2C of the Paris climate agreement, which comes into force on Friday.

Erik Solheim, chief of Unep, warned in particular that people would start being displaced from their homes by the effects of climate change. 

“Most of all, we will grieve over the avoidable human tragedy; the growing numbers of climate refugees hit by hunger, poverty, illness and conflict will be a constant reminder of our failure to deliver. None of this will be the result of bad weather. It will be the result of bad choices by governments, private sector and individual citizens.”

Asad Rehman, Friends of the Earth’s international climate campaigner, said: “This is a stark warning that cannot be ignored – tougher action on climate change is urgently needed to prevent the world speeding towards catastrophe. Governments are drinking in the ‘last chance saloon’ if the lofty goals of the Paris climate agreement are to be met.”

The main obstacle to reducing global warming is capitalism, where production is geared to profit, and production costs have to be kept to a minimum.  Attempts to tackle climate change in the context of a world market economy will, at best, achieve only limited results. In socialism, where production can be rationally organised according to human need, we'll have the best chance of successfully curtailing global warming. Capitalism simply does not provide a framework for the rational solution of the problem of threatened climate change. In Marrakech, there will be many fine words spoken but all will be qualified by ifs and buts and maybes. We’ll look back at its achievements and see another abject failure. COPs can’t cope with the reality of capitalism. 


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