COP26 news today is Fridays for Future Scotland’s protest in Glasgow. Greta Thunberg has called COP26 a failure.
George Monbiot: Never mind aid, never mind loans: what poor nations are owed is reparations [ed: I recommend reading this article]
At Cop26 the wealthy countries cast themselves as saviours, yet their efforts are hopelessly inadequate and will prolong the injustice
The wealthy nations, always keen to position themselves as saviours, have promised to help their former colonies adjust to the chaos they have caused.
Never mind aid, never mind loans; what the rich nations owe the poor is reparations. Much of the harm inflicted by climate breakdown makes a mockery of the idea of adaptation: how can people adapt to temperatures higher than the human body can withstand; to repeated, devastating cyclones that trash homes as soon as they are rebuilt; to the drowning of entire archipelagos; to the desiccation of vast tracts of land, making farming impossible? But while the concept of irreparable “loss and damage” was recognised in the Paris agreement, the rich nations insisted that this “does not involve or provide a basis for any liability or compensation”.
By framing the pittance they offer as a gift, rather than as compensation, the states that have done most to cause this catastrophe can position themselves, in true colonial style, as the heroes who will swoop down and rescue the world: this was the thrust of Boris Johnson’s opening speech, invoking James Bond, at Glasgow: “We have the ideas. We have the technology. We have the bankers.”
But the victims of the rich world’s exploitation don’t need James Bond, nor other white saviours. They don’t need Johnson’s posturing. They don’t need his skinflint charity, or the deadly embrace of the bankers who fund his party. They need to be heard. And they need justice.