The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference was recently held in Paris, France.
Also known as COP21 alias CMP 11, it was attended by 196 state parties and led to the Paris Agreement aimed at reducing the rate of climate change (global temperatures). The agreement talks of reducing global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, self-review every five years and promises of financial transfers from rich to poor countries.
Despite self-congratulation by states and the UN, the agreement is not legally binding; the 13 days in Paris with per diem have now been added to the 23 years wasted since the UN started crying foul about the global climate crisis.
From the first such conference in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the root cause of the crisis – a socio-economic model that treats life not as harmonious relationships between humans and with all other creation but as unlimited private appropriation and aimless consumption – is deliberately dodged.
Lessening use of fossil fuels or emissions of greenhouse gases per se is not enough to rescue planet Earth and human beings from the impending catastrophe. It requires reduction of per capita energy exploitation and general destabilization of the various natural systems and cycles.
The fashionable concepts ‘climate change’ and ‘global warming’ are even a misnomer; the situation is outrageous natural destabilization. Humankind has destabilized the natural foundation that helped it build civilization – in quest for super profits and dominion – and any simplistic sentimentalism will solve nothing.
The solution would require a big change in our worldview and lifestyle, more so abandoning the ones promoted by the UN under grand projects like Millennium Development Goals and Sustainable Development Goals, and certain religious beliefs and practices that divide humankind rather than unite it.
Like with earlier agreements on climate, the states (read politicians) will renege on their promises and even forge statistics. No wonder many scientists and social activists feel betrayed already.
In the absence of a legitimate global authority that can whip each country or social grouping, trusting politicians who come to power through national elections after wild materialistic promises and protecting their domestic (economic and military) policies is a daydream.
Politicians and their economic advisers will never care about the common good for nature and other humans. The agreement doesn’t show any pathway to achieving even the shady goal, as if mere signing of aspiration leads to compliance.
The United Nations, as a club of states, cannot alone manage the problem of climate change. The minimum effort would involve participation of religious organisations, corporate institutions (directly rather than acting through politicians) and civil/social movements so as to bring to table all relevant issues.
There must be serious opposition to social monotonization (by promoting diversity in ideas, beliefs, ideals, and lifestyle), anthropocentrism, (the belief that only humankind is created in the image of God, that the world purposely exists to be dominated by and serve humankind) and the delusion of linearism (belief that we are ever on a continuity to higher progress), among others.
Otherwise, it is going to remain the same business as usual until three extra-human interventions take place: cumulative mass destruction as a form of natural self-purification and throwing off an unbearable burden; or a great sudden deluge, something like the biblical flood or collapse of the tower of Babel. Second will be the multiplication of new breeds of surprise leaders and individuals, the likes of Pope Francis, President John Mafuguli, former president Jose Mujica and whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Third, will be a spiritual revival around a global prophetic movement without a spatially-localized nucleus and not requiring paternalistic evangelization waves.
However, in the meantime, let the wise and concerned embark on social (activist/solidarity) movements working across all strata and nations to boost those already suffering the effects of nature destabilization, and expose and sabotage various criminals and ignoramuses responsible for the brewing catastrophe.
Reducing nature to a financial item and devising all sorts of tricks like ‘carbon trading’ and ‘green projects’ (as if everything in nature is green!) are bound to end at naught.
There must first be catastrophes, real battering, before we begin to learn a lesson. The catastrophe may be in form of a major world war, like the one brewing up in the Middle East, or a series of major natural catastrophes like floods, heat waves, earthquakes, famine, and plagues.
Only after such widespread shaking of the current dominant human beliefs and practices will arise a new global authority not constituted on the basis of war victors like the UN and its financial institutions like IMF are.
The author is a Ugandan journalist.