elDiario.es joins an editorial article signed together with Guardian and more than 30 world headers on the occasion of the celebration these days of the COP27 in Egypt. The goal is to draw attention to the climate crisis. To this end, we believe that media organizations have a duty to offer truthful information about the environmental crisis and exercise their influence for the benefit of the public interest.
This journalistic initiative includes media from all over the world, including those on the front lines of the climate crisis. In the article, we call for fossil fuel companies to be taxed and for most of their profits to be redistributed to impoverished nations to help mitigate the damage caused by the climate crisis. These requests are in line with those made last month by the UN Secretary General, who said that “the polluters must pay.”
This is the text of the editorial article:
COP27: this is not the time for complacency or apathy
Climate change is a global problem that requires the cooperation of all nations. That is why more than 30 newspapers and media outlets in more than 20 countries are joining today in a shared vision of what needs to be done. Time is running out. Instead of abandoning fossil fuels and opting for clean energy, many rich countries continue to invest in gas and oil, do not reduce their emissions fast enough, and haggle over aid from poor countries. All this while the planet is hurtling towards a point of no return in which climatic chaos will be irreversible.
Since the UN Climate Change Conference was held in Glasgow 12 months ago, nations have only committed to comply with one fiftieth of what would be necessary so that the increase in temperatures does not exceed 1.5 ° C relative to the pre-industrial era.
This year, no continent has been spared from extreme weather events: from floods in Pakistan to heat waves in Europe, through forest fires in Australia and hurricanes in the United States. These disasters occurred with a rise in temperatures of about 1.1°C – the world can prepare for much worse.
With a large number of countries trying to reduce their dependence on Russia, the world is experiencing a “gold rush” of new projects to exploit fossil fuels. They are presented as short-term supply measures but there is a risk of compromising the planet with irreparable damage. All this highlights the need for humanity to end the addiction to fossil fuels. There would be no climate emergency if renewable energy were the norm.
The world’s poorest people will bear the brunt of the destruction caused by droughts, thaws and crop failures. Money is going to be needed to protect these groups from the loss of their lives and livelihoods. According to an authoritative report, to reduce their emission of greenhouse gases and face the climate crisis, developing countries need two billion dollars a year.
Rich countries, where one in eight inhabitants of the planet lives, are responsible for half of the greenhouse gases. They have a clear moral responsibility to help. Developing nations should be given the money they need to deal with dangerous conditions they have not helped create, especially as a global recession looms.
At a minimum, tax the windfall profits of the largest oil and gas companies. In the first three months of 2022 alone, these benefits have been estimated at $100 billion.
To demonstrate their seriousness, the rich nations should comply with the remittance of funds to which they had already committed, such as the 100,000 million dollars a year from 2020. At a minimum, a tax must be imposed on profits fallen from the sky registered in the largest oil and gas companies. In the first three months of 2022 alone, these benefits have been estimated at $100 billion. The United Nations is right when it demands that this money be used to assist the most vulnerable.
But that lien should only be the beginning. Poor countries also carry debts that prevent them from protecting themselves from the next weather disasters and recovering from those already suffered. Creditor countries should be generous when it comes to forgiving loans to nations on the front lines of the climate emergency.
These are measures that do not have to wait for coordinated international action. Each country can apply them at the regional or national level. The responsibility of a country to act is in the sum of all its emissions. Private financing can help, but it is on the historical large issuers that the main responsibility for providing the money falls.
Solving the climate crisis is the trip to the moon of our time. Reaching the Earth’s natural satellite could be achieved in just a decade thanks to the enormous amount of resources that went into the project. The commitment required now is similar.
The key to maintaining consensus in Egypt is not allowing fights over trade and the war in Ukraine to block international climate diplomacy.
In rich countries the economic crisis has reduced the will to incur expenses and a counterattack from big business is putting the planet at risk of being trapped in dependence on fossil fuels. But the pandemic has already shown that central banks around the world can grease public spending by buying bonds from their own governments.
The trillions of dollars needed to tackle the ecological emergency demand an equally radical rethink. This is no time for apathy or complacency: the urgency of the situation is already upon us. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change it has to focus on the power of reasons and not the reasons of power.
The key to maintaining consensus in Egypt is not allowing fights over trade and the war in Ukraine to block international climate diplomacy. The UN process may not be perfect, but it is what has allowed nations to introduce the shared goal of saving the planet, a goal that must be fought for at COP27 to avoid an existential risk to humanity.