Tell the UN climate conference: Defend the right to life of two billion children

Richard Parncutt

 2022-2023

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Please sign and share the petition here

After 27 years of failure, it’s time to face the music. If every human life has the same value, cutting global emissions could be the most important issue, ever.

Since 1995, the annual UN climate conference (Conference of the Parties COP to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change UNFCCC) has aimed to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.” Despite this effort, global emissions have risen steadily, slowed only by the 2008 financial crisis and covid-19.

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 new climate compensation (loss and damage) fund cannot undo the death and destruction that we expect beyond 1.5°C.

Everyone agrees that human lives are more important than money. But COP27 participants weighed up billion-dollar profits against the right to life of billions of people. Those people could die in unprecedented fires, floods, famines, droughts, heatwaves, and storms, or due to rising seas, combined with migration and resultant conflict. Large areas of Asia and Africa (China, India, Middle East…) risk becoming uninhabitable. The staggering ethical and legal implications are not being addressed.

Our demands for COP28 (UAE 2023)

Protect. Recognize and defend the right to life of two billion children — especially those in the more vulnerable Global South. At the same time, protect biodiversity: a million species are currently threatened with extinction.

Innovate. Creatively explore new legal, political, and economic pathways to massive and immediate global reductions in fossil fuel extraction.

Prioritize. Acknowledge that the first priority is mitigation: to prevent additional warming by leaving fossil fuels in the ground. The second is adaptation, which includes compensation for loss and damage. If the bathtub is overflowing, first turn off the tap, then mop the floor.

End fossil fuels. Promote the phasing out of all fossil fuels, with no exceptions. All new projects and all expansion of existing projects must be stopped. Currently, 96% of the oil and gas industry is still expanding.

Replace subsidies by taxes. 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 windfall profits. All fossil carbon must be taxed including aviation kerosene. The proceeds can finance renewable energy, climate compensation, and poverty alleviation.

Exclude lobbyists. Fossil fuel lobbyists at COP have a clear conflict of interest. Anyone whose financial interests contradict the goals of COP must be excluded. Hundreds of fossil fuel lobbyists were granted access to COP27.

Clarify procedures. Establish clear criteria for consensus at COP28, to enable and facilitate far-reaching decisions.

Push for legal reform. Promote 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. Current progress is too slow.

Advocate global democracy. To enable globally binding climate agreements,  promote the development of global democratic structures such as the UN Parliamentary Assembly. Current progress is too slow.

Show leadership. To plausibly lead COP28, UAE must phase out domestic oil and gas production at a rate consistent with the 1.5°C goal and encourage other countries to do likewise. UAE is currently planning to increase production from 3 to 5 million barrels of oil per day.

Cooperate. To avoid a possible boycott, COP28 organizers must respond honestly and constructively to these demands.

Please sign and share the petition here to defend the right to life of two billion children.


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