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  • Rick Bonetti

COP27, Capitalism and Climate Change

Updated: Nov 27, 2022

COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, scheduled to end Friday, November 18, 2022, lingered as nations clash. As NPR puts it, "The main sticking point in negotiations centers on the issue of loss and damage – the question of what developed countries, which contributed the most to climate change, owe to smaller, developing countries, which are suffering its effects now."

Before coming ill with COVID, U.S. climate envoy John Kerry noted on November 17th: "Seventeen of the 20 countries in the world most affected by climate change are in Africa. Collectively, they've contributed roughly 0.55% of all emissions warming the world." Vulnerable countries have very little power to affect what rich countries do, shy of walking out on negotiations.

Finally on November 20, 2022, the UNCC issued the Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan. which:

  • "Recognizes that limiting global warming to 1.5 °C requires rapid, deep and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions of 43 per cent by 2030 relative to the 2019 level. Also recognizes that this requires accelerated action in this critical decade, on the basis of equity and the best available scientific knowledge, reflecting common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities in the light of different national circumstances and in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty..."

  • "Reiterates Articles 2, 4, and 9 of the Paris Agreement and highlights that about USD 4 trillion per year needs to be invested in renewable energy up until 2030 to be able to reach net zero emissions by 2050, and that, furthermore, a global transformation to a low-carbon economy is expected to require an investment of at least USD 4–6 trillion per year..."

"Let’s be clear. Our planet is still in the emergency room. We need to drastically reduce emissions now – and this is an issue this COP did not address." ~ UN Secretary General

The Guardian reports: China and US renew commitment to tackling climate crisis but differences remain. Xie Zhenhua said he’d had ‘very constructive discussions’ with John Kerry at Cop27 but there’s no change on finance issues

"Overall progress to address global warming and pay for its effects is looking grim. Scientists say greenhouse gas emissions must be cut in half this decade to avoid runaway sea level rise, deadly heat waves, mass extinction of animals and plants and a variety of weather disasters. Right now, countries have collectively promised to cut greenhouse gas emissions by only about 3% by 2030. ~ NPR


Professor Jem Bendell's blog post of November 18, 2022- Capitalism Versus Climate Justice – thoughts on my first and last experience of climate COP said we have "a capitalism and consumer culture problem... we are beginning to see a global ‘disaster capitalism’ where businesses are seeking subsidies from the state for their various schemes... the failure of humanity to bend the emissions curve over the last 30 years is because of the dominant expansionist logic of global capitalism that it is so widely ignored."

Colombian President Gustavo Petro gave a speech at COP27 where he made it very clear we can’t tackle climate separately from "the exploitative and extractive global systems that serve the rich."

COP27 was the first time Professor Bendell mentionedDeep Adaptation (seeking to reduce harm and save more of the natural world while/despite anticipating the breakdown of most modern societies in the near term) as an ethos and framework at a UN event.

In November 2021 Bendell co-wrote with Rubert Reed about theDavosification’ of COP calling for system change - "the Davosified elite at COP26 have no intention of a significant course-correction."

"The climate agenda must be reclaimed from elites" ~ Professor Jem Bendell

Click here to listen on SoundCloud as Michael Dowd narrate Bendell's recent blog post.

On a positive note, a October 26, 2022 New York Times Magazine article by By David Wallace-Wells Beyond Catastrophe: A New Climate Reality Is Coming Into View says "scientists believe that warming this century will most likely fall between two or three degrees. (A United Nations report released this week ahead of the COP27 climate conference in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, confirmed that range.)"

"Thanks to astonishing declines in the price of renewables, a truly global political mobilization, a clearer picture of the energy future and serious policy focus from world leaders, we have cut expected warming almost in half in just five years." ~ NY Times Magazine

Image: IAEA Imagebank, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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