Opinion: United Nations allows fossil fuel immoralists to desecrate our climate

By Elizabeth Rymut, Staff Reporter

Kayla Macedo

Humanity across the globe now or will at some point endure the horrors of climate change, including but not limited to the following effects: unbearable heat waves, devastating flooding, raging wildfires, insufferable drought, food insecurity and water scarcity, environmental racism and resource depletion.

Meanwhile, world leaders continued to contribute to climate destruction and greenhouse gas emissions by flying in on private planes and jets to gather for this year’s Conference of the Parties in a paradise of a city, Sharm El-Sheikh, in Egypt, a country that heavily relies on oil, coal and natural gas.

For the 27th annual meeting of COP, or United Nations Climate Change Conference, President Joe Biden, European leaders, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia Mohamed bin Salman, and Egypt’s foreign minister Sameh Shoukry met from Nov. 6 to Nov. 18 to casually debate and discuss whether they should take concerted action against the climate crisis.

Leaders from China, Russia and India, countries within the top five of carbon dioxide emissions, were not in attendance. The United States is second on the list of countries with the most CO2 emissions.

Rather than coming to any sort of impactful solutions, these so-called world leaders have left this inescapable issue on the gas back-burner, literally.

In 2015, world leaders promised to prevent the global temperature from exceeding 1.5 Celsius. As the year 2023 approaches, climate change has become a climate crisis, and countries are still grappling with whether this goal is achievable.

Since 1992, countries that are a part of the Paris Agreement have congregated annually in alleged commitment to:

Take steps to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions; recognize that countries vary in their contributions to climate change and capacities to address it, so their obligations will likewise vary; have developed countries assist developing countries in reducing emissions and coping with climate impacts.

By choosing greed and power over delivering for people and the planet, our leaders have instead committed to:

Continue to allow fossil fuel companies to dominate the world; ignore the billions of people on this planet who perish and let them suffer from this immorality; watch from the comfort of their lavish lifestyles and encourage people to “do their part,” which really has no significant impact on the environment.

As reported by BBC, more than 600 people at the conference are linked to fossil fuels, a 25% increase from last year’s meeting.

This year, in response to COP27, The Guardian and more than 30 international media outlets in more than 20 countries released a joint editorial that calls for “radical thinking” on how to fund climate action, specifically calling for a climate tax on fossil fuel giants.

According to the editorial, countries have “only promised to do one-fiftieth of what is needed to stay on track to keep temperatures within 1.5 Celsius of pre-industrial levels.”

“With COP27 taking place in Egypt, we wanted to publish an ambitious editorial that highlights how strongly many different news organizations, and our readers, feel about the climate crisis,” said Katherine Viner, the editor-in-chief of the Guardian News and Media.

The conference was open to the public, yet, climate activists were arrested there for using their voices to call on leaders to divest from fossil fuels and urging leaders to keep their promises.

Climate activist and leader Greta Thunberg chose not to attend this conference, shaming it for “greenwashing,” a term used to describe organizations that misinform consumers in an attempt to present themselves as environmentally responsible.

Thunberg took to Twitter to also urge Egyptian authorities at COP27 to release 60,000 people that have been imprisoned by the Egyptian regime due to political activism. 

“One of these prisoners is Alaa Abd El-Fattah, who is now on a water strike since the beginning of COP27,” Thunberg tweeted. “A system that doesn’t address the needs for climate justice and securing human rights is a system that has failed everyone – we need to keep both in mind.”

Alaa Abd El-Fattah is an Egyptian, democratic activist who had been on a hunger strike since April for the climate, and then a water strike starting at the beginning of November to bring attention to Egypt’s leaders in time for the COP27 climate conference. 

Environmental journalists like Naomi Klein attended and reported on the arrests of other protesters from her Twitter page.

“Human Rights Watch estimates that *700 Egyptians* have been arrested in government attempts to prevent protests from breaking out during #COP27,” Klein tweeted. “All delegates and especially governments should have something to say about this. A high price is being paid for this green show.”

According to Klein, three Egyptian journalists were also arrested by Egyptian police during the conference.

In the wake of destruction cast upon the climate and humanity, billions suffer from disease and hunger, war continues to break out as countries are turned against each other in a battle for resources, citizens across the world are being punished for standing up for what is right while trying to spread the truth and people in power are blinded by dollar signs, losing sight of empathy.

Instead of sipping refreshing piña coladas at a resort while the people of their countries ingest toxic, lead-infused water and live in squalor, our leaders must undergo radical moral transformation.

In turn, it is imperative that they also evolve from depending on a fossil fuel economy, retire this industry completely and implement radical reformative action toward sustainable solutions.