After WWII, a good many people wondered why nobody had put a stop to either Hitler or Stalin, the two greatest butchers of history prior to the modern era, before they could accomplish their wicked designs.
At Doha in 2023, the petrostates and corporations gathered with the clear intent of deploying their own ‘weapons of mass destruction’ – oil, gas and coal – against every child yet to be born in our world. Of the 97,000 delegates who attended, the majority represented either petrostates or fossil fuel companies and those who support them. The host country, the tiny oil-producing United Arab Emirates, had the largest contingent of 4,400 representatives. Men still outnumbered women two-to-one.
The chairman of the conference, UAE’s Dr Sultan al-Jaber, used his position to ridicule calls for an end to the use of fossil fuels, after he was detected by a BBC investigation plotting to use the conference as an opportunity to sell more oil and gas to 13 countries. This included UAE involvement in sales of natural gas from Australia, Canada and Mozambique. To which the UAE retorted that “private talks are private”.
In stark contrast, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for a phase-out in the use of fossil fuels and stronger commitment all round to hold the world below the +1.5 degrees danger mark. He urged young people to “Keep up the pressure. Keep pushing. Keep holding leaders accountable.”
It may be too late. On Nov 17 the world’s surface temperature hit +2 degrees above pre-industrial levels for the first time in history and +1.96 degrees on Nov 26. These are single-day temperature anomalies, but the trend is unmistakeable. With 2023 forecast to be the hottest year ever recorded, we are on track to take Earth above the +1.5 degree target in less than ten years.
These numbers throw the cynicism, disinformation and sabotage by the petrolobby at COP28 into stark relief. They are using world talks designed to promote climate action as a springboard for the release of fresh carbon emissions that may claim, not thousands, not millions, but tens of millions of human lives. They know it and we know it. They simply do not care.
The World Health Organisation warned recently that 3.6 billion people already live in regions afflicted by climate disasters, and deaths are conservatively estimated to increase by 250,000 a year to 2050.
And what do the governments of the world intend to do about it? Double world fossil fuel production, that’s what. At least, they intend to increase their oil production by 110% over the level essential to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees – and by 69% over the level needed to keep it below 2 degrees. “Governments are literally doubling down on fossil fuel production; that spells double trouble for people and planet,” commented Guterres.
According to a recent estimate, somebody will die for every 1000 tonnes of fossil fuel burned. By 2050 deaths from fossil fuels will be nearly 50% greater than the annual death toll in World War II. This makes it plain that war has been knowingly declared on all future humanity. Our children are its main victims. This is a moral dereliction without precedent in history, exposing what a vicious species we have become.
If climate were the world’s only problem, this would be bad enough. But there are nine other major risks to human civilisation. Together they add up to the greatest threat humans have ever faced in three million years of our existence. These threats cannot be separated, or dealt with singly. Some of them are even deadlier in impact than climate, though they receive much less publicity. And, in many cases, industry, wealth and governments now work hand-in-glove to make them worse.
One answer, for all those who do not wish to be destroyed by this evil confederation, is an Earth System Treaty, a global legal agreement signed and ratified by all the decent people and countries left on Earth to save a habitable planet for our children. An agreement with the power to rein in the wreckers, state or corporate. The reasons for such a treaty are many – but one thing is clear: without global agreement to overcome our existential crisis, nothing can prevent it. The petrolobby and its puppets will see to that.
Thanks to their continued sabotage of the last, best hope for humanity exemplified at COP27 and COP28 it is clear that the petrolobby is willing to sacrifice a habitable Earth and its young people to their ungoverned lust for short-term riches. Riches that will vanish as soon as the global economy collapses.
Now is the time for all good citizens of Earth to stand together, speak out and act to prevent the ruin of our world. The people who are causing it must be brought to justice for crimes against humanity.
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