How Decolonisation can shape future climate policy?

The recently released report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) regarding future climate policy, highlights that colonialism is not only a driver of the climate crisis but also a persistent problem that exacerbates the vulnerability of indigenous communities to climate change.

IPCC scientists share a grim reminder that economic policies in recent decades have made rich nations (i.e., the Global North) richer, while poorer nations and indigenous peoples paid a huge price for the extraction of resources without obtaining any of the benefits.

“The vulnerability of ecosystems and people to climate change differs substantially between and within regions, driven by patterns of socioeconomic development, unsustainable use of oceans and land, inequity, marginalization, historical and current situations of inequity such as colonialism and governability”.

“In Newtok, AK, a Yupik village displaced due to permafrost loss received minimal support from the federal government – despite being forced by the government to assimilate and live in a vulnerable location. It is situations like this that require bold solutions to address the continued violence and displacement caused by colonialism.

“Delayed climate action means deaths.” This is how the United Nations appreciated the publication in February of the results of the second working group. This establishes that extreme weather events have caused the irreversible loss of many ecosystems. Thus, exceeding the 1.5°C barrier “would lead to inevitable increases in multiple climatic hazards and would present multiple risks for ecosystems and human beings”. At least 3.6 billion people live in a situation of enormous climate risk”.

” A risk that in turn reproduces the huge global inequality. As the report points out: “The vulnerability of ecosystems and people to climate change differs significantly between regions and within regions, due to patterns of socio-economic development. economic, unsustainable use of oceans and land, inequalities, marginalization, historical and current situations of inequality such as colonialism and governance”.

According to the findings of this latest IPCC working group, deeper and faster reductions in greenhouse gases are needed. The report clearly outlines how global emissions must peak before 2025 and achieve climate neutrality within the third quarter of a century. The most industrialized countries are the ones that must make these reductions with more effort and speed to avoid exceeding 1.5 ºC. Emissions must be halved by 2030.

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Moreover, the most emitting states, such as Spain, should be practically decarbonized before the middle of the century. To this end, this report includes many measures to be developed and reaffirms the need for systemic change as the only way to achieve the rapid reductions required.

This path is only possible through a reduction in net energy consumption and the almost exclusive use of renewable energy sources, for which there are no shortcuts such as capture and storage techniques. carbon emissions, which are either unachievable or entail enormous risks, or they are grossly insufficient given the scale of the problem. The IPCC recalls that the investment efforts required for change are between three and six times less than what is necessary.

The report shows how the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism is a major obstacle to climate change mitigation action. The scientific community points in particular to the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), an exclusive agreement for the energy sector which, today,

These findings should force increased political pressure to act on the science and implement urgent climate action to stay below 1.5°C of global warming. However, Ecologistas en Acción recalls that countries and previous climate negotiations have refused to accept the IPCC reports and there is no indication that this will change, which, according to the organization, removes all credibility from the speeches of governments. at the COPs.

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