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Global warming is life-threatening for a billion children. If every
human life has the same value and Black Lives Matter, cutting global
carbon emissions could be the most important issue, ever.
In ethics, everyone agrees that human lives are more important than
money. In law, it is a serious crime to recklessly cause human
deaths. But 27 climate COPs have indirectly promoted billion-dollar
profits at the expense of millions or billions of human lives.
We humans tend to have more empathy for a suffering individual than for
suffering millions -- let alone billions (psychic numbing; collapse of
compassion). Our survival now depends on our ability to be both
rational and emotional, focusing on the biggest problems first.
The failure of COP
The annual UN climate conference (Conference of the Parties COP to the
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change UNFCCC) aims to
“stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a
level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate
system.” But global emissions have risen steadily since the
series began in 1995, and they are still rising for coal, oil, and gas.
Irreversible global social collapse is a possible outcome. At the start
of COP27 (Egypt 2022), UN Secretary General António Guterres
warned “We’re on a highway to climate hell with our foot
still on the accelerator.” He was ignored: the final document
included the 1.5°C goal but no plan to achieve it. The
implementation COP failed to implement. The new climate compensation
(loss and damage) fund cannot undo the death and destruction that we
will experience at 1.5°C (now expected about 2027) and beyond
— even without considering irreversible tipping points.
The world is currently headed for 3°C of warming. Unprecedented
fires, floods, famines, droughts, heatwaves, storms, and landslides,
combined with rising seas, migration and resultant conflict — all
ultimately caused by human carbon emissions — will decimate human
populations. Parts of Asia and Africa (China, India, Middle
East…) will become uninhabitable, creating billions of refugees.
The staggering ethical and legal implications are not being addressed.
Our demands for COP28 (UAE 2023):
The time for greenwashing and naive optimism is over. To achieve
climate justice for a billion children, we need realism and that means
clarifying honestly and repeatedly what must be urgently done:
Protect life. Children’s
rights are paramount, because children have the most to lose. We must
recognize and defend the right to life of two billion children —
especially those in the more vulnerable Global South. At the same time
and in the same way, we must protect biodiversity: a million species
are currently threatened with extinction.
Phase out all fossil fuels. The
primary goal is mitigation: preventing additional warming by leaving
fossil fuels in the ground. After that comes adaptation, including
compensation for loss and damage. If the bathtub is overflowing, first
turn off the tap, then mop the floor. In a first step, all new
fossil-fuel projects and all expansion of existing projects must be
stopped. Currently, 96% of the oil and gas industry is still expanding.
Reform agriculture. Some 20%
of global greenhouse-gas emissions are from agriculture (mainly meat
& dairy). Given the additional consequences for biodiversity, COP
should be promoting counterstrategies (e.g., alternative foods,
rewilding, meat taxes).
Regulate plastic. Plastic is
another contributor to both global warming and biodiversity loss.
Plastic production must be limited by international agreement.
Regulate other greenhouse gases:
methane, nitrous oxide, fluorinated gases.
Decarbonize capitalism. Our
governments are still spending hundreds of billions of dollars yearly
on fossil fuel subsidies. They should be doing the opposite: taxing
carbon (both domestically and internationally, with carbon border
adjustment mechanisms) and taxing windfall profits. All fossil carbon
must be taxed including aviation kerosene. Regulatory changes can make
climate action profitable and promote sustainable circular economies
despite global economic stagnation.
Address inequality. Climate
change is primarily caused by rich countries, corporations, and
individuals. The increasing number of billionaires is undermining
democracy. Climate justice means globally harmonizing wealth taxes (or
at least a global minimum corporate tax). Together with carbon taxes,
wealth taxes can finance renewable energy, climate compensation, and
poverty alleviation, to reduce the high future costs of climate
adaptation and prevent working and middle classes from paying for
damage caused by the rich.
Promote debt cancelation. Global
South countries are forced to export fossil fuels to service their
debts. Yet the global North owes a massive ecological debt to the
South, having caused the climate crisis. Richer countries must now pay
poorer countries to leave fossil fuels in the ground. Reparations are
due for centuries of colonization, exploitation, and slavery.
Promote legal reform. Discuss
the investigation and punishment of ecocide, which is currently
recognized as a crime by only ten countries. The biggest fossil fuel
producers must be forced to reduce their turnover by any reasonable
means including trial for crimes against humanity. To protect the
innocent, the guilty must be punished. The guilty include two-faced COP
presidents who preach global emissions reduction while supporting local
plans to expand fossil fuel industries.
Promote democracy. To enable
globally binding climate agreements, promote the development of global
democratic structures such as the UN Parliamentary Assembly. At the
same time promote climate citizen’s assemblies in participating
countries, inviting them to present and compare results at COP. Every
COP should be preceded and guided by a newly constituted global
To achieve these goals, the conference
Show leadership. UAE cannot
lead COP28 while at the same time massively increasing its own oil and
gas production. Investing $50 bn in sustainable energy means little if
at the same time $150 bn is invested in fossil fuels; globally,
investment in sustainables is overtaking investment in fossil fuels.
UAE must roughly halve both consumption and export of fossil fuels by
2030 and encourage other countries to do likewise.
Exclude lobbyists. Anyone whose
financial interests contradict the goals of COP must be excluded.
Hundreds of fossil fuel lobbyists were granted access to COP27,
encouraging greenwashing, lying and cheating. The conference president
must be independent and unbiased. The current president, Sultan Ahmed
Al Jaber, has a conflict of interest and must be replaced.
Fly public. Many private jets
flew to COP27, burning much more fuel per passenger than a commercial
flight. COP participants can and should fly public. In general, private
jets should be heavily taxed or banned.
Innovate. The conference must
creatively explore new legal, political, and economic pathways to
massive and immediate global reductions in fossil fuel extraction.
Clarify procedures. Establish
clear criteria for consensus at COP28, to enable and facilitate
constructively to these and similar demands. Tell the whole truth and
avoid misleading arguments.
Please sign AND SHARE this petition to defend the right to life of a
billion children. Think of this: saving a billion lives with a
probability of only 0.1% is comparable with actually saving a million
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