The 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27), the United Nations conference on climate change held last November in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, was an opportunity to bring a series of important issues to international attention – including the concept of “climate colonialism.” The term evokes a set of dynamics created in the colonial era, which still persist today and result in a seemingly interminable imbalance of power between Western countries and the global South which is most affected by “climate change.” Much was made of the European rush for natural gas. Many human rights and environmental activists representing non-governmental organizations heavily criticized the event claiming that it had been “reduced to a grand spectacle” and failed to push world leaders to commit to stronger action and be held accountable. The term "anthropogenic” was challenged on the basis that it assumed that the climate crisis was caused by universal human nature, without considering the actions/liabilities and historical emissions of a minority of colonialists, capitalists, and patriarchs.
The NGOs were left disappointed COP27: no significant action was taken to phase-out fossil fuels or to moderate hyper-consumerist lifestyles. One of the few achievements of the COP27, was the agreement to establish a so-called “loss and damage” fund for those most affected by environmental disasters. We’ll see whether the fund pans out. It would be a step in the right direction even though it may never offer enough to enable less-wealthy countries to protect themselves from climate change or even have the necessary means available to remedy the damage caused.
The window for limiting the increase in global temperature to 1.5 C degrees is closing fast. The need for a concrete and immediate commitment is ever more urgent. How can Servas members help? If you are involved with Peace and Justice initiatives in your community that you would like to share with the broader Servas community, please let me know! Yosi, US Servas Peace and Justice Secretary PeaceandJustice@USServas.org.