World Climate colonialism and the EU’s Green Deal
G7 pledges climate action but disappoints activists
The plan renews a promise to raise $100bn a year but environmentalists say it lacks detail.After a summit in Britain, G7 leaders also promised to help developing countries move away from coal.
Since the beginning of the year, the Amazon Rainforest, our largest tropical forest full of ecosystems essential to global climate regulation networks, has had 430,000 acres (174,000 hectares) cleared and burned to supply the logging industry and clear land for livestock breeding. Between August 2019 and July 2020, another 2.7 million acres (1.1 million hectares) were destroyed. Much of the wood and meat produced in Brazil from this deforestation ends up in Global North markets.
In Southeast Asia, deforestation linked to the palm oil industry also continues. Between 2018 and 2020, almost 500,000 acres (202,000 hectares) of rainforest were cleared in just three countries: Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea, leading to Indigenous communities losing their land. The demand for palm oil from top food brands in the Global North remains high, despite their commitments to reduce use.
UK’s biggest investor to drop insurer AIG and others over climate
The British asset manager said the companies had made insufficient progress on addressing climate change risks.The others to be divested, according to Tuesday’s announcement, are Chinese lender Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, US utility holding company PPL Corporation and Chinese dairy products holding company China Mengniu Dairy.
Meanwhile, the push for greener sources of energy, particularly in the Global North, is driving the demand for metals like nickel, cobalt and lithium. Labourers in mining communities working to extract these metals face dangerous and degrading working conditions.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the use of child labour in cobalt mines is widespread, putting the lives of children at risk, damaging their health and depriving them of education. In Bolivia, Chile and Argentina, lithium mining uses large quantities of water, accelerating desertification and polluting underground waters and rivers, putting the health of local communities at risk.
According to data gathered by London-based NGO Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, there have been 304 complaints of human rights violations by 115 companies mining these minerals.
UK warned it is unprepared for climate chaos
Homes must be made more resilient and the government is in a worse position than five years ago, report says.A report by the independent Climate Change Committee predicts warming will hit the UK harder than first thought.
Although the end of colonialism was declared decades ago, its last effects in the form of these extractive industries are clear. The system of Indigenous land takeovers, resource extraction, labour exploitation and wealth transfer set up by European colonialists continues to operate and dispossess people in the Global South.
It is against the backdrop of this neo-colonial reality that the European Union announced its Green Deal at the end of 2019.
Underpinned by an apolitical narrative that humans have already changed the Earth’s climate and degraded the majority of its ecosystems, so action needs to be taken, the Green Deal completely ignores the fact that the Global North was the main driver of climate change and environmental degradation across the world.
European governments and corporations not only damaged and destroyed the environment on the continent and exploited local marginalised communities, but have been engaged in the same exact behaviour and worse, on all other continents.
Salamanders have a secret to surviving climate change
These slippery amphibians are teaching scientists about the power of adaptation and the limits of prediction. To be clear, salamanders aren’t guaranteed a bright future. These small scamperers often like to stay hidden, making it difficult to collect good data — and one study from 2009 found “dramatic declines” in salamanders in Central America and Mexico. Meanwhile, more than 40 percent of the 200-plus species in North America are threatened with extinction, by some estimates. That has researchers worried.
The natural world in Africa, Asia and Latin America has been destroyed through the capitalist economic systems deployed by the Global North which normalised, expanded and strengthened hyper-extraction through overproduction and over-consumption.
The European Green Deal does not outline how it will reconcile and repair the losses and damages EU countries have caused to ecosystems and communities outside of Europe. Nor does it acknowledge how these damages force people in the Global South to migrate to Europe’s shores, where they experience pushbacks, must less offer a solution.
The European Green Deal also ignores the environmental impact of Europe’s drive for renewable energy and electric mobility on other parts of the world, where resources for this economic shift will have to be extracted. It also does not pay attention to how climate change and environmental degradation have disproportionately affected its own marginalised communities and the poor and destitute in the Global South.
In other words, in the pursuit of making the EU the first climate-neutral region in the world by 2050, Brussels is falling back on its old ways and deploying what we call climate colonialism.
African nations declare days of mourning to honour Kenneth Kaunda
Countries pay respects to Zambia’s late founding father, revered for helping in the fight against colonialism.While in power, Kaunda hosted many of the movements fighting for independence or Black equality in other countries around the continent, standing up to white minority rule in countries such as Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.
The EU’s apolitical narrative on climate change – ignoring the impact of colonialism and capitalism and heavily influenced by the very corporations who profit from them – could result in climate action that is not only non-impactful but, worse, could be unsustainable and damaging for marginalised communities on the continent as well as the Global South.
It relies on tech solutions and silver-bullet ideas, promising to lead a “green, sustainable” economy with electric vehicles, solar panels, wind turbines and other exciting renewable innovations.
But the question is, who will this be sustainable for?
In order not to fall into climate colonialism, the European Green Deal needs a clear plan to eradicate harmful extractive models, recognise its historical responsibility in the climate crisis, and provide accountability for the damage EU companies cause in the Global South.
Working within the same system that causes injustice will only reproduce injustice. We at Equinox have put forward a number of important recommendations that could help steer the Green Deal away from its capitalistic, colonial foundation and towards new holistic, intersectional approaches that put social and racial justice at its core.
Among these recommendations are a clear commitment to racial justice, integrated policies linking the EU’s Anti-Racist Action Plan to the Green Deal, institutional reform, and a new relationship with civil society.
Only by acknowledging that it is perpetuating colonial capitalism, and committing to ending this approach, can the EU’s Green Deal be truly effective in addressing climate change. For far too long, European governments and companies have wreaked havoc across the world. It is time for justice, accountability and a complete overhaul of economic systems. Our collective survival depends on it.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.
Summer Is Normal. Heat Season Is Deadly. .
Scorching weather has far outstripped old norms, but many Americans still have trouble seeing high temperatures as a distinct hazard.Climate change is upending old rules and disrupting predictable weather patterns: Heat waves, wildfires, and tropical storms and hurricanes—the trifecta of extreme weather events—now arrive earlier than expected, occur with greater frequency and intensity, and stretch well past their historical timelines. But too few Americans think about heat waves, which claim more lives globally than any other weather-related hazard, as a problem for which systematic, long-term preparation is warranted.