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Mainstream, VOL 60 No 47 November 12, 2022

Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, Nov 12, 2022

Saturday 12 November 2022

Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, Nov 12, 2022

António Guterres, the United Nations secretary-general in blunt speech at the COP27 summit in Egypt warned that the world is doomed unless there is a urgent action to counter climate change. We have seen successive world summits in the since the 1990s where world leaders make tall promises but the required action doesn’t follow. Powerful lobbyists representing the fossil fuel economy and multinational firms known for polluting & destroying the world’s forests are very well represented at the latest climate summit, where the NGO’s and civil society circles seems to have been side-lined [1]. Yes, we live in a unequal world and that colonisation & imperialism led to much plunder but we have to move beyond. Anti-Imperialism of the so-called South doesnt cut these days, since rich national elites call the shots in the South just like elsewhere. Leaders from the Global South at COP27 plead for financial compensation from the Global North and make it sound that it’s all about the lack of money and that they have terrific plans on the ground to offset the crisis. Where are these climate mitigation plans? Are they being discussed, nationally or internationally?, Is there scrutiny?. Unfortunately we know too well that all governments & politicians in North and South remain under sway and influence of the big corporate elites and the dominant fossil fuel economic model of globalised carbon capitalism; and that public money even nationally is often spent on lop-sided properties [2] and so naturally there is scepticism as to the accountability there will be on economic spending when the funds do come from the North. Are Governments, preparing our societies for the required social action, are they prepared to stand up and promote a deceleration of growth, promote environment friendly public transport and curb the polluting industrial and automobile economy and phase-out the dominant economic development model. Cosmetic changes and propaganda Yes, but there are No signs of a change of paradigm. We need to ask this most of all of our own government which is among top polluters of the environment next to China and other big countries. As one of the largest economies what are we doing actively nationally to fight the climate crisis. Growing mountains of waste can be seen in every big city in India, rising shortage of water [3] and unrestricted development in the fragile Himalayas are signs of a system that lacks check and balances. Every day you hear of new ways where by which the Govt is diluting environmental protections, and allow mining firms, road infrastructure companies and tourism development firms get a free pass — environmentalists tell us that around a million trees will be cut to make way for a major infrastructure and tourism project in Great Nicobar island [4]. There is no stopping the destructive development gravy train. The complete inability of our government authorities to curb the enormous toxic air-pollution that is choking our cities is a live demonstration of business as usual while passing the buck and pointing fingers at the bigger polluters elsewhere and the elites of the global North. In the recent years, we have seen the most devastating floods in India and its neighbourhood, all writings on the wall of an intensifying climate crisis. Climate knows no national borders, so what will it take for us to cooperate actively with all our neighbours in South Asia for joint planning to adapt for crisis conditions and help each other in wake of growing climate adversity and help the region’s climate refugees. Will our Government do this only on orders of the UN or when the big imperialist polluter agrees to pay us. Climate justice activists from South Asia shouldn’t double up as conference hopping technocrats but as active communicaters in simple language to convince political parties, trade unions and local social movements to address the climate question in very practical terms.

November 12, 2022 - HK

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