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Climate justice and decoloniality

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In November this year, the Scottish port city of Glasgow was the host of an event that once again brought the urgent question of climate change to global focus: COP26.

The United Nations has invited signatories to its Framework Convention on Climate Change to a “Conference of the Parties (COP)” every year for almost 30 years. This year’s summit in Scotland was the 26th such gathering.

COP26 was well organised and received significant media attention. But like most climate summits that came before, it failed to achieve any meaningful results.

“One of the biggest fights at the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow,” as the New York Times newspaper stated in a November 12 article, was “whether – and how – the world’s wealthiest nations, which are disproportionately responsible for global warming to date, should compensate poorer nations for the damages caused by rising temperatures.”

This question is at the heart of the issue of climate justice for without addressing it the urgent task of mitigating climate change degenerates into richer nations continuing to pollute the earth and destroy the environment while gathering in useless conferences to feel better about themselves.

The roots of these rich nations being “disproportionately responsible for global warming” is much older than these 26 conferences. “Rich countries,” the same New York Times report points out, “including the United States, Canada, Japan and much of western Europe, account for just 12 percent of the global population today but are responsible for 50 percent of all the planet-warming greenhouse gases released from fossil fuels and industry over the past 170 years.”

One hundred and seventy years before now places us........

© Al Jazeera

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